Milk is For Cows — Chapter 2

20130813-155655.jpg
I would get up in the morning and help the wife make breakfast. She was a teacher in town, so she would leave right after breakfast and I would go out with the men to milk the cows and do the chores. At break time, the men would come in and I was supposed to get the coffee and food out and then clean it up. When I was done doing this, we would go out and do more work on the farm.

This pattern occurred at each break and mealtime. The men would plop themselves down, often complaining about how tired or overworked they were and I would be expected to get them food and clear things up and go back to work when they did. Interesting.

When I asked to have an evening or a weekend off, I was told that they couldn’t spare me. This was not consistent with what I was told by the fella from the Farm Labour Pool. I called the fella that had interviewed me and brought this to his attention and he was evasive and said that there wasn’t anything that he could do. He represented the farmers, not the people that he hired.

A few weeks into the summer a guy that I had been dating before I went to university decided to come up and visit me at the farm. I explained that I couldn’t get away so he took it as an opportunity for a road trip. The family that I was working for acted as though they had struck gold. Here was a strong, healthy, young man that had just showed up on their doorstep. When he asked if he could stay for a night or two I was worried that I would be back in the closet. The “spare room” that I had stayed in when I first arrived and they had company staying with them in my room.

They welcomed him with open arms, originally. Then came the dreaded day of the misunderstanding. In case it is not clear at this point, I did not grow up on a farm. Some of the things that would be considered common sense are actually learned and so common that most people already know them. It is only common sense, once it has occurred to you.

I was asked to plow a field. I don’t remember exactly what type of equipment I was using or what purpose there was to plowing this field. My fella came with me and it seemed like a lovely day to be out on the land, even though the roar coming from the motor of the tractor was deafening.

I was supposed to go back and forth on the field and drag this piece of equipment in rows. Not actually having any experience with this, I decided it was best to be thorough and to overlap each row a bit. This was wrong. The most efficient way is even to leave a small patch between the rows. So, instead of needing to go back and forth lets say 10 times, I needed to do it about 15 times because I was overlapping. The proper way to do this was never explained to me.

When I got back to the house the farmer was furious. I had taken a considerably longer amount of time than I should have. When I tried to explain that I was not doing anything wrong and I thought that there must be a misunderstanding he started to yell and scream.

I have been treated poorly before. I thought nothing of driving my mother to the States to go drinking and driving men home for her. I know what it is like to work hard. I worked full time while going to high school, so none of that seemed to be too crazy, but I draw the line at being accused of lying, being yelled at and most importantly being called names because he figured that we were plowing, just not the field. I packed up my stuff and left the farm shortly afterwards.

I did not leave the farm without more drama. The farmer’s wife was emotionally distraught. They had finally found someone that was willing and capable of taking care of the cows so that they could get away for a while together. I’m not sure what she felt this respite from the farm would have done for her quality of life, but she desperately wanted a break from the day to day labour of taking care of animals.

She pleaded me to not go. These situations are difficult for me and I know many people that would have made a different choice, but I had learned already with my mother that just because it might “kill her” did not mean that I was less important than she was.

Yes, I felt sorry for this woman that worked all day as a teacher, lived in a house that was desperately in need of some organization and cleaning; that lived with a man that was so oblivious to the world around him that he simply could not understand how she felt, but that was not my fault. I had been mistreated for a few weeks at this point and being accused of lying, being yelled at and being insulted were enough for me to leave. I will never know if she ever got away from the farm for any length of time, but I would never wish to trade places with her.

I drove back to my hometown and knew that my first priority was to get a job. So, I went straight to the restaurant that I had worked at before I started universityl. I was surprised to see that they had gutted the place. It was no longer a burger joint with a diverse menu. It was now a prime rib restaurant with a bar and softer lighting. It had the same owners.

As if the universe was congratulating me for standing up for myself, I walked up to the restaurant to find it closed. From the door I could tell that they were having a staff meeting inside. The owner could see me through the windows on the side of the restaurant and came to the door to let me in. I told her why I was there and she told me to take a seat. I would be paid starting now. I had arrived at the first meeting to let the staff know the ins and outs of the new restaurant and I could have my job back. When I pitch in a little to take care of myself, the universe pitches in a lot.

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book.

Keep Reading: Admission

www.wendypowell.ca

Second Class Citizen — Chapter 2

IMG_0103After first year there was no thought given to returning to my home town. I had some friends there, but no place to stay. I needed to get a job that would help me get into veterinary medicine. Let me introduce the Farm Labour Pool.

The Farm Labour Pool was a loosely arranged group that was based on the mutual need of the farmers to have summer help and the university students to get practical on-farm experience. Veterinary students were not the only ones that needed this experience. There was also an Agricultural Program on campus, affectionately called the “Aggies” or the veterinary wanabees and a Diploma in Agriculture which, was a two year course to give farmers a broader perspective after highschool, before they returned to the family farm. These fellas, and yes they were all fellas as far as I know, were called the Dippers.

All three groups needed on-farm experience and the Farm Labour Pool was the link between the students and the farms. I went to my interview, which as I remember it was for any of the farm jobs and I was told that the farmers that wanted help actually wanted someone that was already in the veterinary program.

Perspective has a way of changing the understanding of a situation. In hindsight, I now know, that this may have been on the farmer’s wish list, but in reality, you could make more money waiting tables. Why you would choose to work on a farm and do 10-14 hour days, six days a week, instead of living in the city and making more money and having a social life? It did make me feel like they were ‘doing me a favour’ by getting me a job on a dairy farm though.

The reality of this job was another matter. I had never experienced what it meant to be a second class citizen before. The first day that I arrived at this job I was told that they had company staying with them and that I could not move into my room yet.

The room that they offered me was a closet. No window, but it did have a light suspended from the ceiling by a long electrical cord. It was equipped with a chain that you could pull to turn the light off and on. It also had a cot that just fit along the one side of the room with the foot against one wall and the head of it against the other wall. To be fair, I was not in this room for very long.

If I had already been accepted into veterinary medicine I would have been quicker to say, “Wow! Sorry! I didn’t mean to arrive before you were ready for me. When will my room be open?” As it was, I was once again traveling with my car full of all of my belongings and I had no where else to go, so I stayed.

I have learned over the years that when you are confronted with the same problem over and over again you should recognize that you must have gotten it wrong the last time. We are given multiple opportunities to make the right decision, take the right action and see the truth that is right in front of us. When we don’t make this connection, we get another opportunity to make a different choice, again and again. It is humbling to write this now, but this summer was not the last time that this happened to me.

I would again be treated poorly and instead of taking immediate action to stop it, I would become introspective, re-evaluate my expectations, justifying inaction and generally let it go on way too long.

I had to move off of my lounge chair and over to the patio table with the umbrella. It is so hot out here that I was sweating profusely and not only was it uncomfortable, but I was starting to worry about getting water into my computer. So, I am now in the shade. The app on my cell phone tells me that it “feels like” 95 F, with the humidex and all.

The humidex is the same concept as the wind chill factor. In the winter it feels colder if there is more wind so it may be 40 F out, but it feels much colder because of the wind. The humidex recognizes that when it is really humid it feels hotter than it is. It is not even noon yet.

I mentioned that I was treated like a second class citizen. The closet is not how this ended. In a traditional farmhouse, the men did the outside work and the women did the inside work. Now, all women also worked outside but only after the inside work was done.

I was hired to help with the milking of the cows. The cows liked me. I heard that the amount of milk that they were producing actually went up when I started to milk them. The farmer’s wife mentioned this during one of our meals and her husband was quick to down play it and say that any change will cause them to produce more milk. I have no way of knowing if that is true or not. I didn’t stay long enough to see if the novelty of having someone else milk them would wear off.

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

Keep Reading: Milk is for Cows

www.wendypowell.ca

Milk is For Cows — Chapter 2

20130813-155655.jpg
I would get up in the morning and help the wife make breakfast. She was a teacher in town, so she would leave right after breakfast and I would go out with the men to milk the cows and do the chores. At break time, the men would come in and I was supposed to get the coffee and food out and then clean it up. When I was done doing this, we would go out and do more work on the farm.

This pattern occurred at each break and mealtime. The men would plop themselves down, often complaining about how tired or overworked they were and I would be expected to get them food and clear things up and go back to work when they did. Interesting.

When I asked to have an evening or a weekend off, I was told that they couldn’t spare me. This was not consistent with what I was told by the fella from the Farm Labour Pool. I called the fella that had interviewed me and brought this to his attention and he was evasive and said that there wasn’t anything that he could do. He represented the farmers, not the people that he hired.

A few weeks into the summer a guy that I had been dating before I went to university decided to come up and visit me at the farm. I explained that I couldn’t get away so he took it as an opportunity for a road trip. The family that I was working for acted as though they had struck gold. Here was a strong, healthy, young man that had just showed up on their doorstep. When he asked if he could stay for a night or two I was worried that I would be back in the closet. The “spare room” that I had stayed in when I first arrived and they had company staying with them in my room.

They welcomed him with open arms, originally. Then came the dreaded day of the misunderstanding. In case it is not clear at this point, I did not grow up on a farm. Some of the things that would be considered common sense are actually learned and so common that most people already know them. It is only common sense, once it has occurred to you.

I was asked to plow a field. I don’t remember exactly what type of equipment I was using or what purpose there was to plowing this field. My fella came with me and it seemed like a lovely day to be out on the land, even though the roar coming from the motor of the tractor was deafening.

I was supposed to go back and forth on the field and drag this piece of equipment in rows. Not actually having any experience with this, I decided it was best to be thorough and to overlap each row a bit. This was wrong. The most efficient way is even to leave a small patch between the rows. So, instead of needing to go back and forth lets say 10 times, I needed to do it about 15 times because I was overlapping. The proper way to do this was never explained to me.

When I got back to the house the farmer was furious. I had taken a considerably longer amount of time than I should have. When I tried to explain that I was not doing anything wrong and I thought that there must be a misunderstanding he started to yell and scream.

I have been treated poorly before. I thought nothing of driving my mother to the States to go drinking and driving men home for her. I know what it is like to work hard. I worked full time while going to high school, so none of that seemed to be too crazy, but I draw the line at being accused of lying, being yelled at and most importantly being called names because he figured that we were plowing, just not the field. I packed up my stuff and left the farm shortly afterwards.

I did not leave the farm without more drama. The farmer’s wife was emotionally distraught. They had finally found someone that was willing and capable of taking care of the cows so that they could get away for a while together. I’m not sure what she felt this respite from the farm would have done for her quality of life, but she desperately wanted a break from the day to day labour of taking care of animals.

She pleaded me to not go. These situations are difficult for me and I know many people that would have made a different choice, but I had learned already with my mother that just because it might “kill her” did not mean that I was less important than she was.

Yes, I felt sorry for this woman that worked all day as a teacher, lived in a house that was desperately in need of some organization and cleaning; that lived with a man that was so oblivious to the world around him that he simply could not understand how she felt, but that was not my fault. I had been mistreated for a few weeks at this point and being accused of lying, being yelled at and being insulted were enough for me to leave. I will never know if she ever got away from the farm for any length of time, but I would never wish to trade places with her.

I drove back to my hometown and knew that my first priority was to get a job. So, I went straight to the restaurant that I had worked at before I started universityl. I was surprised to see that they had gutted the place. It was no longer a burger joint with a diverse menu. It was now a prime rib restaurant with a bar and softer lighting. It had the same owners.

As if the universe was congratulating me for standing up for myself, I walked up to the restaurant to find it closed. From the door I could tell that they were having a staff meeting inside. The owner could see me through the windows on the side of the restaurant and came to the door to let me in. I told her why I was there and she told me to take a seat. I would be paid starting now. I had arrived at the first meeting to let the staff know the ins and outs of the new restaurant and I could have my job back. When I pitch in a little to take care of myself, the universe pitches in a lot.

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book.

Keep Reading: Admission

www.wendypowell.ca

Second Class Citizen — Chapter 2

IMG_0103After first year there was no thought given to returning to my home town. I had some friends there, but no place to stay. I needed to get a job that would help me get into veterinary medicine. Let me introduce the Farm Labour Pool.

The Farm Labour Pool was a loosely arranged group that was based on the mutual need of the farmers to have summer help and the university students to get practical on-farm experience. Veterinary students were not the only ones that needed this experience. There was also an Agricultural Program on campus, affectionately called the “Aggies” or the veterinary wanabees and a Diploma in Agriculture which, was a two year course to give farmers a broader perspective after highschool, before they returned to the family farm. These fellas, and yes they were all fellas as far as I know, were called the Dippers.

All three groups needed on-farm experience and the Farm Labour Pool was the link between the students and the farms. I went to my interview, which as I remember it was for any of the farm jobs and I was told that the farmers that wanted help actually wanted someone that was already in the veterinary program.

Perspective has a way of changing the understanding of a situation. In hindsight, I now know, that this may have been on the farmer’s wish list, but in reality, you could make more money waiting tables. Why you would choose to work on a farm and do 10-14 hour days, six days a week, instead of living in the city and making more money and having a social life? It did make me feel like they were ‘doing me a favour’ by getting me a job on a dairy farm though.

The reality of this job was another matter. I had never experienced what it meant to be a second class citizen before. The first day that I arrived at this job I was told that they had company staying with them and that I could not move into my room yet.

The room that they offered me was a closet. No window, but it did have a light suspended from the ceiling by a long electrical cord. It was equipped with a chain that you could pull to turn the light off and on. It also had a cot that just fit along the one side of the room with the foot against one wall and the head of it against the other wall. To be fair, I was not in this room for very long.

If I had already been accepted into veterinary medicine I would have been quicker to say, “Wow! Sorry! I didn’t mean to arrive before you were ready for me. When will my room be open?” As it was, I was once again traveling with my car full of all of my belongings and I had no where else to go, so I stayed.

I have learned over the years that when you are confronted with the same problem over and over again you should recognize that you must have gotten it wrong the last time. We are given multiple opportunities to make the right decision, take the right action and see the truth that is right in front of us. When we don’t make this connection, we get another opportunity to make a different choice, again and again. It is humbling to write this now, but this summer was not the last time that this happened to me.

I would again be treated poorly and instead of taking immediate action to stop it, I would become introspective, re-evaluate my expectations, justifying inaction and generally let it go on way too long.

I had to move off of my lounge chair and over to the patio table with the umbrella. It is so hot out here that I was sweating profusely and not only was it uncomfortable, but I was starting to worry about getting water into my computer. So, I am now in the shade. The app on my cell phone tells me that it “feels like” 95 F, with the humidex and all.

The humidex is the same concept as the wind chill factor. In the winter it feels colder if there is more wind so it may be 40 F out, but it feels much colder because of the wind. The humidex recognizes that when it is really humid it feels hotter than it is. It is not even noon yet.

I mentioned that I was treated like a second class citizen. The closet is not how this ended. In a traditional farmhouse, the men did the outside work and the women did the inside work. Now, all women also worked outside but only after the inside work was done.

I was hired to help with the milking of the cows. The cows liked me. I heard that the amount of milk that they were producing actually went up when I started to milk them. The farmer’s wife mentioned this during one of our meals and her husband was quick to down play it and say that any change will cause them to produce more milk. I have no way of knowing if that is true or not. I didn’t stay long enough to see if the novelty of having someone else milk them would wear off.

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

Keep Reading: Milk is for Cows

www.wendypowell.ca

Milk is For Cows — Chapter 2

20130813-155655.jpg
I would get up in the morning and help the wife make breakfast. She was a teacher in town, so she would leave right after breakfast and I would go out with the men to milk the cows and do the chores. At break time, the men would come in and I was supposed to get the coffee and food out and then clean it up. When I was done doing this, we would go out and do more work on the farm.

This pattern occurred at each break and mealtime. The men would plop themselves down, often complaining about how tired or overworked they were and I would be expected to get them food and clear things up and go back to work when they did. Interesting.

When I asked to have an evening or a weekend off, I was told that they couldn’t spare me. This was not consistent with what I was told by the fella from the Farm Labour Pool. I called the fella that had interviewed me and brought this to his attention and he was evasive and said that there wasn’t anything that he could do. He represented the farmers, not the people that he hired.

A few weeks into the summer a guy that I had been dating before I went to university decided to come up and visit me at the farm. I explained that I couldn’t get away so he took it as an opportunity for a road trip. The family that I was working for acted as though they had struck gold. Here was a strong, healthy, young man that had just showed up on their doorstep. When he asked if he could stay for a night or two I was worried that I would be back in the closet. The “spare room” that I had stayed in when I first arrived and they had company staying with them in my room.

They welcomed him with open arms, originally. Then came the dreaded day of the misunderstanding. In case it is not clear at this point, I did not grow up on a farm. Some of the things that would be considered common sense are actually learned and so common that most people already know them. It is only common sense, once it has occurred to you.

I was asked to plow a field. I don’t remember exactly what type of equipment I was using or what purpose there was to plowing this field. My fella came with me and it seemed like a lovely day to be out on the land, even though the roar coming from the motor of the tractor was deafening.

I was supposed to go back and forth on the field and drag this piece of equipment in rows. Not actually having any experience with this, I decided it was best to be thorough and to overlap each row a bit. This was wrong. The most efficient way is even to leave a small patch between the rows. So, instead of needing to go back and forth lets say 10 times, I needed to do it about 15 times because I was overlapping. The proper way to do this was never explained to me.

When I got back to the house the farmer was furious. I had taken a considerably longer amount of time than I should have. When I tried to explain that I was not doing anything wrong and I thought that there must be a misunderstanding he started to yell and scream.

I have been treated poorly before. I thought nothing of driving my mother to the States to go drinking and driving men home for her. I know what it is like to work hard. I worked full time while going to high school, so none of that seemed to be too crazy, but I draw the line at being accused of lying, being yelled at and most importantly being called names because he figured that we were plowing, just not the field. I packed up my stuff and left the farm shortly afterwards.

I did not leave the farm without more drama. The farmer’s wife was emotionally distraught. They had finally found someone that was willing and capable of taking care of the cows so that they could get away for a while together. I’m not sure what she felt this respite from the farm would have done for her quality of life, but she desperately wanted a break from the day to day labour of taking care of animals.

She pleaded me to not go. These situations are difficult for me and I know many people that would have made a different choice, but I had learned already with my mother that just because it might “kill her” did not mean that I was less important than she was.

Yes, I felt sorry for this woman that worked all day as a teacher, lived in a house that was desperately in need of some organization and cleaning; that lived with a man that was so oblivious to the world around him that he simply could not understand how she felt, but that was not my fault. I had been mistreated for a few weeks at this point and being accused of lying, being yelled at and being insulted were enough for me to leave. I will never know if she ever got away from the farm for any length of time, but I would never wish to trade places with her.

I drove back to my hometown and knew that my first priority was to get a job. So, I went straight to the restaurant that I had worked at before I started universityl. I was surprised to see that they had gutted the place. It was no longer a burger joint with a diverse menu. It was now a prime rib restaurant with a bar and softer lighting. It had the same owners.

As if the universe was congratulating me for standing up for myself, I walked up to the restaurant to find it closed. From the door I could tell that they were having a staff meeting inside. The owner could see me through the windows on the side of the restaurant and came to the door to let me in. I told her why I was there and she told me to take a seat. I would be paid starting now. I had arrived at the first meeting to let the staff know the ins and outs of the new restaurant and I could have my job back. When I pitch in a little to take care of myself, the universe pitches in a lot.

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book.

Keep Reading: Admission

www.wendypowell.ca