Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Off the Campaign Trail

It's been a busy week. Come to think of it, it's been a very busy year. I'm thankful that the season of Jim's campaigning is over.

Jim, Peter and Jonathan spent the day Monday traveling all over District 6, picking up campaign signs. We were thankful the ground wasn't frozen, so the stakes weren't embedded in the ground. There also was a banquet to attend toward the western part of the District in the evening, and after that was over they still had more signs to take down. North Dakota has a law that states all campaign signs must be removed before midnight the day before election day. Peter told me they had to fill the truck's gas tank three times before they arrived home at 1 a.m.; that gives you an idea of how large of an area our District covers.

Meanwhile, back at the farm we were still processing carrots for canning. Peter called and left a message on our voice mail about 7:30 to ask us to milk the goats since they would not be home on time. I should have thought about that earlier, since they are usually milked about 5:30 every evening. Needless to say, we milked by flashlight. I had only attempted to milk twice before this, and was a bit apprehensive. Andrew had not done much milking in the past, and it was only David that had watched Peter as he did his chores. The boys recently built a new barn for the goats, horse and cow and had yet to install doors, so we milked also by starlight. The Big Dipper sure was bright, as it was a fairly crisp night.

I was amazed at what I witnessed. When we walked down to the barn in the valley, the goats were lined up at the fence, complaining that we were late. Andrew opened a gate, and out ran Leah, who promptly jumped up on the milking stand and waited for her grain to eat while milking. I tried my hand at milking her, and was very surprised and pleased that I finally had gotten the knack of milking. She is our best goat, and very friendly and patient. I've struggled with carpal tunnel syndrome off and on for the past 20 years and canning didn't help matters. Just milking one goat was all it took for my right hand to cramp, so I had to quit after doing Leah. I am hoping some day to be a two handed milker, but at this point I was thrilled that I did what I did.

When Leah was done, we sent her back into the fence -- and then Ebony ran out as Leah was going in. It's amazing to me that goats are such creatures of habit that once a routine is established they don't want to change. Ebony is harder to milk as her teats are very small. She also has bad front knees, so we had to help her up onto the milking stand. One of us would hold the flashlight, and another milked. Ebony wasn't as patient as Leah, and as soon as she ran out of grain she stepped into the milking dish and the milk was all over the stand. Oh well, our dog Samson was right there to lick it up! We finished with Ebony, and as she was going back into the fence another goat came running out and jumped onto the stand. I guess we didn't have to know Peter's routine for milking -- the goats all knew what to do and when to do it. We milked six goats, and three of them knocked over the milking dish. I had already decided all this milk was going to Samson and the cats, so it was okay.

Tuesday was election day. We went to town in the afternoon to do our voting, and then came home and made homemade pizza and breadsticks for supper, with ice cream for dessert. That meal is our celebration menu for just about any occasion. We were all thankful we made it through all the challenges of campaigning. Jim was not elected to the state Senate, but he gave it his all and we knew we had done what the Lord had called our family to do.


Herrick Kimball said...


My condolences on the senate race loss. I really admire what Jim and your whole family have done this year in the political area (not to mention the homestead).

Losing an election like this, after investing so much of yourselves, is always a disappointment. But the Lord does not call us to win in such endeavors. What He wants is for us to be obedient to His calling. That is the most important thing.

And because you were obedient to His calling in this matter, The entire Bartlett family are winners in my estimation!

Best wishes,

Herrick Kimball

Marci said...

I too am sorry that Jim did not get elected, but I believe that God has plans that are always higher than ours. I am also glad that life might actually slow down a bit for you. You are a miracle my friend. From where you came from and what you and your family are doing. You the lone woman out on that homestead. You are an inspiration. Don't be discouraged. You are doing a wonderful job!!!!