by Diane Mills-Frank
tools I carry every day on our farm are a cellular
phone and a pocketknife.
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.
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
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.
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.”
tools are the cellular phone and a pocketknife.