Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Work Calls from the Farm

The world of virtual learning and meetings have exploded in the time our children have grown from infants to early school aged children. I cannot count the threats made, bribery conducted, or clinched jaw instruction given during that time. It’s been a joy. Our children don’t remember a world where Mom couldn’t visit face-to-face with someone in California at the click of a button.

The children were recently home on spring break and I was spending my days in a delicate balance between providing them with a fun spring break and keeping up with work deadlines.

“OK kiddos! Day Two of Spring Break at Sankey Angus! Yesterday you got all the stalls cleaned out. What would you like to do today?”

“Go to grandma’s.” 

Having them home meant I took a lot of video calls uncertain of what might bust through the door at any moment. That is an unnerving feeling. I appreciate it when they agree to be quiet little soldiers for me, but then worry what they’re getting into that has them so fascinated. Play dough in the carpet? Glue sticks on the new white walls? Teaching the dog to drink out of the toilet - with demonstrations?

Recently I was on a Teams video call with folks from our corporate office in Indianapolis. I had my door shut but could hear excited conversation on the other side of the house. Then I heard the door to the mudroom open, then screaming, then running across the house in my direction, then the footsteps getting closer.

Like the professional I am, I instantly shut off my camera and muted my microphone. Whatever was about to bust through the door did not need to be seen or heard by anyone but Mommy.


“Cyrus! Quiet, buddy! I’m on a call.”

“PUPPIES, MOMMY!” he continued oblivious to my instruction.

“Cyrus, Sadie is not having puppies. She IS a puppy. She’s not even bred,” I tried to explain to him. Sadie, our Australian Shepherd puppy, had just turned one days prior.

“YES! She’s having puppies and I need to pull them out with a show stick!” and with that, he turned around and rushed out of the room.

“Would that work for you, Lindsay?” a coworker on the computer asked me. I had no idea what she was referencing, I could only think about Cyrus, unsupervised, using a show stick (long, metal stick with a hook on the end to place cattle’s feet in a show ring) to extract Lord knows what out of our dog.

“Repeat the question, please. I got off track,” I requested. They kindly did.

We made a few quick decisions and set a date and time to visit again about the upcoming event. I was in the mudroom with the kids in a matter of seconds once the call concluded.

Caroline appeared mortified, while Cyrus couldn’t contain his enthusiasm for the mess on the concreate floor.

Sadie was not having puppies. She had, however, gotten into a pile of afterbirth from the pasture and was now sick.

I explained the situation and began clean up, we all gagged, Caroline patiently put the dog outside while Cyrus took photos on my phone to show Dad, smacking his knee at the fun.

On this family farm, we all have a job. Some just do theirs better than others.