As I write this, I am looking at heading out to the Taste FLXpo this afternoon at Corning Community College. There is a good deal of preparation for an outside event like that. Besides simply selling products, it's a chance to promote the business to new people.
Last Saturday we had an ice cream event here at the store.
"We need to make sure we have a lot of ice cream packaged up at the end of the day," I told my mom. I wanted to give out ice cream samples at the Xpo, hopefully resulting in a lot of ice cream sales. In preparation, Mum made more ice cream than she thought we would sell on Saturday.
There was also our need for new business cards. The old cards didn't list dairy products among our offerings. They also list Hannah's phone number instead of mine. I ordered updated cards on Friday and hoped they would arrive in time. I was pleased when they came Thursday.
I also wanted to make a new display board for the table. I wanted one that reflected our new focus on dairy, and the lesser role that produce will have in our product line this year. I ordered prints of photos and bought a trifold display board.
Thursday morning I worked on my display board project. The best place I could find to work on it and to lay out all my supplies was the living room floor.
Our house is heated by a woodstove. Heat rises, and so the floor is typically cold, especially the living room floor.
"How did we play down here as children?" I asked my mom, as I spread a glue stick on the back of a photo with numb fingers.
"It built character," she replied. "You all have good characters now." Then she went out to the store to bake cinnamon rolls and gingersnaps.
I continued work on the board, trying to get the lettering right, and thinking that my calligraphy is not as good as Hannah's. The dog came and tried to make himself a nuisance by putting his face in my face. Then he gave up and flopped himself down on my feet. At least they were staying warm.
My phone rang. It was my dad, so I answered it.
"Are you doing something important right now?" he asked. I looked at the letters I had outlined so far: S T E W. What I was doing was important, but not so much so that I couldn't take a break.
"Why, what's up?" I asked.
"Well, I was moving heifers and-" his phone cut out. I shook the dog off my feet and stood up to look out the window and see what might be happening. I saw Dad driving the tractor around the end of the barn. Then he shut it off, climbed down, and pulled his phone out of his pocket. A moment later my phone rang again.
"As I was saying, I was moving heifers and the door came open on the trailer and I lost a few. I might need-" his phone cut off again.
I set my poster up on the couch so the dog wouldn't walk on it. Then I opened the door to the cellar and pulled out my coat and coveralls from where they hung on a nail on the wall.
Dad called back, "So I might need help getting them rounded up."
"I'm on my way out," I said. I bundled up, thinking that my fingers were warmer when I was outside wearing mittens than when I was inside holding a marker.
Dad had parked the tractor and trailer at the end of the heifer barn, forming a barrier out from the concrete holding wall where the manure gets scraped to before being loaded into the manure spreader. It's also a handy area for loading heifers on the trailer.
Lainy and Razia were milling around in the feed manger, eating the little heifers' haybale. Using the barn as an edge, I herded them down into the holding area. Dad got on the tractor and pulled forward so he could back in between the barn and the concrete wall. At that moment, Lainy decided that she would really like to get back to that haybale and darted out past me. We went ahead and loaded Razia, then had to round Lainy up again and repeat the process of backing the trailer in.
I watched Dad twist together the plastic coated wire holding the trailer door closed.
"I think we should get something sturdier to hold that door closed before we go transporting any dry cows or heifers to their pasture this summer," I suggested. Our trailer is okay for moving animals around the farm, but it's not road worthy. That's why we need to hire a trucker to take animals to auction or to the butcher.
I followed along behind as Dad towed the trailer up to the dairy barn. If the door did happen to come open again, I would hopefully be able to prevent an escape. All went well, and I returned to the house.
I finished the poster and went to work on some things in the store. The convection oven in the commercial kitchen had warmed the room nicely. In fact, it was almost too warm.
"I should have worked on my poster out here!" I declared.
I set out all the items I would need for the Xpo in the store. I wanted to be sure I could easily load them up tomorrow. With just the one farm-style interruption, I had gotten everything prepared.