Morning Surprises

It will be a very short update, spring is coming and the work start to pick up here at the farm so I have always something new to do and that comes with tiredness and little time to properly blog attached to it. However, when you get up and first thing in the morning you get to the barn and find out that there is a stray cow parked in the middle of it, you know that you are in for an interesting day from the start. It was nice that AK was around to save the morning, I really didn’t know from where to start otherwise!

The morning I found the greatest surprise

A couple of days ago we moved one of the cows to a special box as she was expecting to give birth quite soon. This morning, like every other time before, I arrived at the box with trepidation to find again nothing but the soon mummy-to-be laying down. We went for breakfast and after roughly 20 minutes I was back in the barn to clean the milk bucket…when low and behold AK with nonchalance is telling me “oh, by the way the calf is here”. I darted across the barn…my first ever new-born calf, never thought I would have seen something like this for real. It was incredible to see this little wet creature looking up and around and trying to stand up…luckily enough I had the camera with me and despite I felt nearly obliged to give them privacy and just observe in awe, I clicked so here some photos of the less then 20 minutes old calf…isn’t she super cute?

Chapter 1- My day as a Finnish farmer boy

After having left my job in the end of December, being back from Cape Town and having shoot as freelancer photographer for a couple of months; I took the final leap. I left the flat I was renting, packed nearly everything in boxes that I have stored away and moved to the countryside.

How did it happen? Well, I visited a couple of friends in their farm last autumn and I felt in love with the place. I already knew they are great people with a heart of gold and great personality, so when I asked them if I could have started my interactive travelling adventures from their farm I got a warm and immediate yes as an answer.

The farm where I am working is a family business split in two, AK my current boss and host is the CEO of the cows’ barn side, SK his sister has a horses training stable. I arrived with trepidation and high energy, looking forward to more practical work and dealing with the animals. I still feel like that, despite by now I have numb and painful fingertips, and my half poetic view of the country life has been halved. The sweet little calf looks cute and helpless, but just try to move it from a box to another one 10 cm distant and you will find out that it is an evil machine with the pulling power of the incredible Hulk…just furrier and not green. Luckily enough I found out this at day 2 of my experience, adapting goes faster when you start early.

I have been here for a while now, my day start around 7am with taking care of the barn while AK is milking. The milking system he uses requires squatting in between cows and we both agreed I am a bit too tall for such a task. So I clean the floor from the left-over hay, I feed the cows with oat, then I drop new hay and spread it between the “customers”.

After the barn, I go to take care of the horses, some belongs to AK but some are just kept here because SK’s stable is always so busy that she hasn’t got the place for them all. I have around 14 of them, all with a slightly different personality. The 3 young and far too curious stallions, are my daily nightmare. For someone who does not have experience in dealing with horses, dealing with unmannerly youngsters is quite a challenge.

After having fed and brought out all of them it’s time to go and clean the boxes for the night…all considered I just realized I am working in a bed and breakfast.

During the day there is always something to do; despite in the winter the field work is not a problem, Finland+winter=snowy fields, you know. And yes it’s still winter here despite the locals refer to it as spring (see for yourself)

At around 6pm is cow’s dinner time and then I am bringing back in the horses. Job done, hands hurting, and well a major thing I didn’t mention yet, smelling like a cave-man it’s time to relax.