American Dexter Cattle Association

Farm Tools
by Diane Mills-Frank

The tools I carry every day on our farm are a cellular phone and a pocketknife.

The handy pocketknife I have been carrying ever since I was 12 years old — that old official Boy Scout pocketknife my father gave me with instructions and many demonstrations. I have passed on this tradition to many people over the years. I try to tie things in a half-bow. That makes it easier to undo in an emergency. Or, use the knife. Animal gets a foot, head or body caught — use the knife. It does take practice to open and lock the blade without hurting yourself. You can cut a switch, make a new or enlarge a hole in a halter or strap, trim a fingernail, scrape out a sliver. Just this last weekend, I used the whole body of the knife to knock the ice off the barn door clasp so I could get into the barn. The pocketknife: a handy helper.

One of the other tools I find a necessity for me is a cellular phone. A cheap phone with service from phone cards has served me well for many years.

I am here on the farm alone 75 percent of the time. I believe many of you are also caring for your stock alone. The phone gives me a nice peace of mind that in an emergency I could call and get help and be found before I froze to death. We have Dexter bulls, and I try not to take risks. Okay, while I am lying under six running, bucking young stock of six months to two years after falling backward over frozen ground, using a phone isn’t a first priority.

But, after I get up I think, “I could call for help if I couldn’t get up.” About 10 years ago, a large sliding haymow door came off the track and was swinging to twist itself off the barn wall. I thought I would get under it and lay the door down so it would not break up or squash a cat or dog. WRONG! as I got under the door, I found I could not hold it up, BUT I couldn’t let it down, either, without the door squashing me and now several pesky cats. Back then, all I could do was holler for help until a neighbor came to tell me to “stop yelling at the poor animals.”

My tools are the cellular phone and a pocketknife.


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American Dexter Cattle Association

1325 W Sunshine #519
Springfield, MO 65807



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