Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The "Other" Hardware Disease

A year and a half ago, I did a post about hardware disease in cattle and how to help prevent it.  Today I'm posting about the "other" hardware disease.

First, the background.  I wanted to hang a reminder on the chicken coop door to "Close Nest Boxes."  (If we don't hang doormats over the nest boxes in the evening, the chickens roost in them and our eggs end up covered in poop.  Blech!)  So I grabbed a couple of short sturdy nails and a hammer to tack up my sign on the door.

Bang! Bang! Bing!  Suddenly the nail flew right out of the wood, bounced off my chest and disappeared into thin air.  That was NOT good!  Yes, our cattle have rumen magnets, but magnets won't help them if they step on a nail, and besides, I don't really want them eating nails!  So I needed to find that nail, but a thorough scan of the grass in front of the coop ended in failure.

I headed to the hay barn to find one of our big magnets--either the flexible magnet or the big rolling one.  I came up empty-handed--and this is where the "other" hardware disease comes in.  This hardware disease affects humans!

"What is this dreaded disease?" you may well ask.

The above scene illustrates the human version of hardware disease--a chronic failure to put things in their proper place when you're done with them.  The result of this disease is that when you really need something--like a magnet to recover a nail before it injures a cow--you will experience the symptoms of this debilitating disease:  irritation, anxiety, high blood pressure, and excessive sweating as you tromp from place to place looking for the required piece of equipment.

Here is what my crisis looked like--pretty much like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  Without a magnet to find my nail, I resorted to desperate measures.  I plunked myself down on the ground, chicken poop and all, and combed my fingers through the grass, trying to find the nail.  When that failed, I raked a manure fork through the grass, hoping to see the sun glint off it as it bounced into the air.  Failure again.

So I headed to the house to ask Herb if he knew where the magnets might be.  He didn't, but he did help me search the hay barn shelves.  I've been a bit leery of those shelves ever since I found a baby copperhead on one of them, but with Herb to back me up I overcame my trepidation enough to actually move things around.

And there it was, the flexible magnet, masquerading as a bit of jumper cable.

I double-checked that the magnet would, indeed, pick up my missing nail, then I hurried to the barnyard to get it before Siobhan or Remy could eat it or step on it.  I raked the magnet repeatedly through the grass and repeatedly came up empty.  Maybe the 45 wasted minutes had been just enough time for Siobhan to step on the nail, I worried.  So I picked up her feet (good training at a young age!) to make sure she was okay.  Well, I picked up her front feet and one of her rear feet, at which point she'd had enough and wandered off.

That nail had simply disappeared into thin air. I thought back over the moment it flew out of the wood and bounced off my chest.  It was so frustrating!  It was almost as if it had fallen down inside my shirt--but I knew it hadn't because I'd already checked.  Even though I knew from checking that it hadn't gone down inside my T-shirt, the thought made me clap my hand to my chest.

Something poked my hand.  Something in the bottom of my T-shirt pocket.

This is my painting and varnishing shirt, so it's stained.  It also has a little point at the bottom of the pocket, and that's where the nail went.  Don't ask me how that nail managed to fall through the slit of the pocket opening; if I had been required to make it fly in there to save my life, I would be dead!

Instead, I laughed my way all the way back to the hay barn where I put the magnet exactly where it's supposed to go.

And I kept on laughing all the way back to the house where I informed Herb that there's one more item on our To Do list for the fall--get that hay barn whipped into shape.  I refuse to fall victim to hardware disease again!

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