Farmtastic Tips

Extra, Extra

Like a lot of the country, we’ve been riding the weather roller coaster here at the farm.  We had yet another bout of ice, frozen gates, and frozen water troughs this week.  One lesson Cowboy and I have learned on the farm is, like the Boy Scouts, you always have to be prepared.

Now one of the beautiful things about farm life is that it is peaceful and quiet, but that also means the farm and ranch supply store is not around the corner.  Since moving to the farm, we’ve become the masters of list making.  We’ve got grocery lists, Tractor Supply lists, and giant super store lists going all the time.  Cowboy refers to it as “going to town lists.”

Which brings me to the handy dandy list of the extras that Cowboy and I have found that we need to keep at the farm, because let’s face it, the time when you need it the stores will be closed, the roads will be bad, or it will be the middle of the night.

  • Hoses and hose couplings – Horses need water, dogs needs washed off, and plants need watered.  And let’s face it, hoses bust.  But don’t throw out those old hoses. We keep them around for smaller jobs, hence the couplings to create new connections.
  • Plumbing supplies – Sort of like hoses, but a bit more complicated.  When you’ve got water lines running here and there across the farm, you just never know what you’ll need.  Especially if you have one nosey horse like Ranger who found a way to bust the spigot to one trough twice in one week.  (Lucky for Ranger he is my baby, because he was certainly not Cowboy’s that week.)
  • Water trough fills – We’ve always got a minimum of four water troughs running here at the farm.  And unless you want to run around constantly checking to make sure they are full or heaven forbid overflowing, fills are a must.
  • Water trough heaters – Let me say I’ve learned to bust through the ice, but on days when 32 is just a mirage, you want something that is going to have some staying power.
  • Pet food – With the herd of critters at the farm, we’ve got horse food (regular and senior), horse hay (round and square bales), dog food, and cat food.  Oh, we might as well throw in the never ending supply that’s need for kitty litter as well. Cowboy says we can’t get any more kinds of animals because he doesn’t want to have to keep track of one more bin of food.
  • Stocked pantry – Let’s face it, most of the time I’m worried about making sure the critters are happy, but the two-leggeds have to eat too.  We’ve mastered the art of one to use and one in reserve, we call it the extra shelf in the pantry.  No one wants to be in the middle of making dinner and run out of that one key ingredient and make the one-hour round-trip effort to go to the store. By then, you might as well grab something in town.

I learned this extra business from my grandpa.  He was a city boy and could practically walk to the grocery store, but he lived through the Great Depression and was the king of the extras.  I remember when we moved him and my grandma, and it was my job to unpack their bathroom stuff. Never in my life have I seen so many rolls of toilet paper!  I used to think he was crazy, now I realize he was a genius.  (I can hear him laughing up in heaven seeing me put those words in print!)

Farm life has simply reinforced something I learned when I was young.  Trust me, no one wants to go hunting for that farm life must have at midnight and praying the 24-hour wally world has you covered (just ask Cowboy)!