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Shawn followed Bryan’s F-150 north of of the city. The suburbs soon faded into the rear view mirror and before long, he found himself thinking that they were really heading for Minnesota. A little ways before the next exit, a blinking turn signal shot down that idea.
The road was paved, barely, but after a couple of miles and a turn, was down to gravel. Bryan kept up his normal speed as though nothing had changed but Shawn wasn’t feeling all that confident. Thankfully for Shawn’s anxiety, Bryan began to slow down and turned into a driveway leading up to a large farm house with several large outbuildings.
Shawn looked at the farm house and thought to himself, there must be at
least seven bedrooms!
Bryan rolled his truck to a stop and parked it. Shawn parked up next to him unsure where to park since it looked like any other part of the yard. Bryan smiled and him and pointed him to where he was parked. Shawn got out of the car and sank into the few inches of snow that were on the ground.
Bryan smiled and him and headed for the house. He called over his shoulder, “You comin’ in Shawn?”
Shawn got his duffle bag out of the car and started towards the house, but couldn’t stop thinking that he was in over his head.
Shawn stepped into mud room and started to take his shoes off.
“Good idea.” came the muffled call from Bryan somewhere in the house, “They won’t do you much good in the barn.”
Bryan came back out dressed in a roughed up pair of Wranglers, a t-shirt with a flannel shirt over it, and a pair of boots that looked caked in mud.
Shawn looked at his quizzically.
“We have chores to do before we have dinner.” Bryan said with a wry smile. He reached over for a pair of hip waders and handed them to Shawn. “You’re going to need these.”
Shawn nodded and slid them on, thinking they were to help keep him warm.
“Let’s get you a raincoat too. You’re still dressed pretty nicely.” Bryan
chuckled as he handed Shawn a rain poncho.
Shawn put it on and was still blissfully ignorant of what was coming.
Bryan headed out the door and started walking across the yard towards the
biggest barn. Shawn trotted up behind him and followed him.
“What do we need to do?” Shawn asked.
“We’re going to clean and drain the dairy barn. The day crew didn’t get a chance to do it today, so we need to get it done.”
“Oh. What does that involve?”
“We’ll be shoveling the litter out of all the holding pens, then hosing down the pens, then cleaning and draining the trough.”
“Oh, that doesn’t sound that bad.” Shawn said with a smile.
Bryan just smiled but inside, he was dying of laughter knowing that Shawn
had no idea of what he was in for tonight.
They walked into the barn and all Shawn could see were enclosures and cows. There was lots of straw and feed in the pens but this didn’t see like it would be that bad of a job. Bryan turned to look at Shawn and to give him instructions.
“Shawn, you’ll find a few large shovels in the closet over there. Grab one of them and start here by the door. You’ll want to push all solid waste out to the trough towards the outside wall. The cows are used to this and when you clean one side of their pen, they’ll move to that side so you can clean where they were. They aren’t the smartest animals, but even they know the joys of a clean house. Once we have all the pens clean, we’ll go through and break down hay bales for them to have clean bedding and it’ll help to keep them warmer. You ready?”
“Yeah. You know, life on the farm doesn’t seem that bad.” Shawn said as Bryan cracked up laughing.
Bryan pulled himself together enough to tell Shawn to get busy on his chores as he set off to check the manure trap and the digester. He hadn’t made it half way across the barn when he heard a loud shriek and the sound of someone retching.
“Well, that didn’t take long.” Bryan thought to himself as the trotted across the barn. He got up to the first stall as Shawn stood up.
“There. Is. Liquid. Beef. Shit. In. Here.” Shawn gasped, then glared at Bryan, “Laugh at me and you die.” he said as seriously as he could.
Bryan could see that Shawn actually really upset with him.
“Okay, Shawn. That’s enough. I didn’t think that you’d really want to do this stuff. The rest of the team left this barn for us since you wanted to see farm life. This was the easiest one actually.”
“How…how do you work in all this…shit?” Shawn asked.
“Honestly, I really don’t even notice it unless there’s something about it that would make me think that one or more of the cows were sick. After growing up with this, it doesn’t bother me at all.”
Shawn shuddered, “Can I take this stuff off now?” he asked pitifully.
“Yes, yes you can Shawn. Go hang it up in the closet where you found the shovel. I’ll check and see where dinner is. I didn’t expect you to….I expected us to take longer.” Bryan said side-stepping making fun of Shawn.
Bryan had walked over to the closet and said to Shawn once it had finished,
“Dinner will be ready in about an hour. C’mon, we have time to clean up and be presentable for dinner.”
With that, Bryan stripped naked except for his socks and boots. Shawn stood there looking at him but followed along. Once Shawn was naked, Bryan smiled at him, “Last one to the house is the bottom!” as he took off running.
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