Car Trouble

After we saw the milking and left the farm, we stopped in the little town of Harmony, ten minutes away from the little town of Canton where the Haugen farm is situated. We wanted to get something cold to drink.

Getting back in the car, Gina was in the driver’s seat. She turned the key and there was just that sickening noise of a battery that did not have enough juice to turn the engine. So she pulled the key out of the ignition – read my lips: SHE PULLED THE KEY OUT OF THE IGNITION. And the car promptly tried to start itself! (The warning lights came on as when you turn the key and there was the same noise from the engine as it tried to turn.) Then it stopped; AND REPEATED TWICE MORE!!!

Gina kept swinging the key in the air as if to say “HELLO!!!! I have taken the key OUT!!!”

And then there was nothing ……

We called back to the farm and Inga said she would bring jumper cables and help us get on the road again.  So we just waited for her.

We had the hood popped (American for “we had the bonnet open”) and within a few minutes a tall young man stopped in a huge truck and offered to help – Kern said he was an army mechanic with time on his hands.   By now it was about ten at night and starting to turn dark.

He meticulously cleaned the corroded terminals before jump starting the car and at that point Inga arrived from the farm.  Kern even gave us his jumper cables to take with in case we got stuck again.  Inga  recognized Kern as someone she knew and had not seen for a long time so we left them chatting away while we thought we were heading home…

It was not very long when the “low on gas” light came on even though the tank was half full.  Then the seatbelt sign for no reason and then the tachometer and speedometer both died.  It looked like the headlights were also fading.

And here is where the hand of God blessed us:  We reached another small town, Preston, and just managed to turn into a side street, when the power steering and brakes failed.  Gina was able to roll the car back into a parking spot in front of a bowling alley.  And then the car was DEAD!

We called friends who knew mechanics and got confirmation that it must be the alternator that was bust.  And you realize how unprepared you are for such an eventuality:  our cell phones were both low on battery power and we only had a car charger with us (and no car to charge them from).  Troy was willing to come and get us, but then we would just have to return the next day to come get the car in any case.

Across the road was a car mechanic and just a block away was a hotel.  So we decide to just stay the night and see if they could fix the car the next day.  We booked into the hotel for the night (no change of clothes, no tooth brushes, no nothing).  The meat Inga had given us we packed into the hotel room’s little fridge and hoped it would stay frozen.

We slept well and was at the workshop the next morning when they opened.  What a nice experience it was to have to deal with a broken car in a rural town!   Don Besse, the owner, helped us himself and carefully explained everything they were doing as the cleaned the battery terminals some more, tested and replaced the battery and then tested and found the alternator to be faulty and fried.  We would have to wait until two that afternoon for the part to arrive from Owatonna.  So Don gave us one of the cars he had there and showed us on a map a few places where we could sight see.

We booked out of the hotel and peeked in at the small visitor’s bureau, where we chatted with the very inquiring lady who ran it.  We asked at the bowling alley and they put our cooler bag with the meat in their freezer until the afternoon.

So we spent most of the day walking around the little town of Lanesboro, where most things only function from Thursday to Saturday, and of course we were there on a Monday!

At the Lanesboro Visitor's Center

The Root River runs through Lanesboro.

The Root River - and one of three bridges in the town you can walk over.

We had lunch at the Pedal Pushers’ Cafe.

Lunch at the Pedal Pusher's Cafe.

In the booth to eat lunch.

We browsed the local, very extensive museum (open only from noon to five).

Back over another bridge.

The Root River again.

Our car was fixed and we could leave Preston about four that afternoon, tired but very grateful that everything had gone so well and that the repair bill for the car was not as huge as we think it would have been in the Cities.

We both agreed that God meant for us just to be quiet and to relax for one unplanned day!



Here are a few pictures and a video of the milking process.

Packing them in

The cows stand either side of the milkers with their tail end to the milkers (they get fed on the other side while they are milked!)

Jacques in the pit - without a bull

It was into this pit between the two rows of cows that the bull fell on Jacques’ first day of milking.  (I still am not quite sure what a bull was doing in the milking parlour !?!?!)

The last row of cows being milked.

Zooming in.

Farm Transport

While we were being shown where the cows graze, Jacques and Inga quickly moved around a few paddocks.  The cows are being kept in these “paddocks” by a single electrified wire strand being kept about hip high.  Once they have grazed the field down to a certain level, the wires are restrung and they get a fresh field to graze on!

Check out this little video:

Travelling to the Farm

Sunday was a beautiful day with the clouds doing dramatic formations for us to look at as we drove the two hours down from the Twin Cities to the little town of Canton in Minnesota to visit Jacques on the farm.

Gina was driving and I played with the new phone’s camara ….

The farm where Jacques works is seen lying on the opposite hill.

Zoomed in:

Jacques’ Farm Adventure

Jacques was invited by a friend of his from Renaissance Faire to work on her farm for the summer.  Jacques grasped the opportunity and on June 13 we took him to the farm on the other side of Canton, MN, right near the Iowa border.

I will post snippets of what we get from him here so that you can all share in his adventure.  I really does sound as if he is having a marvelous time!

One of the first things he had to do was to buy a pair of boots that would help for farm work.

When we got there Sunday, it had rained a lot and we could not go walk-about too much because of all the mud.  So here we are getting to know Jacques’ new boss for the summer, Inga.

I will put some excerpts from Jacques and Inga’s facebook pages here between the photos.

Jacques – 9.00am – 6/14/10: About to eat breakfast. A bull fell into the milking pit today, fun. Then we had to get two bulls into the milking bay. The only problem was that they weigh 1500 pounds and don’t want to go in there… Yay more funness. I love it here.

Inga – 11.00am – 6/14/10: Sent the Intern out to milk cows with the Amish. Second time milking and he had a bull fall into the pit with him. He’s fine, the bulls fine, so it’s the best second milking EVER. 🙂

Jacques – 5.20pm – 6/14/10: Just dropped off alot of meat in Rochester, while there I was gifted a leatherman KICK, it’s a awesome multi tool. Resting for a little while before we go and prepare for milking cows.

Jacques – 9.40am – 6/16/10: Got kicked by a cow today… Fun right. Me thinks my boss wishes it was her instaid of the cow. Happy here. Peacefull, very bussy days. Yesterday I spotted a limping bull. Inga says too much sex. I agree. They weigh a lot and falling from a cow can hurt. I’m sleepy.

Inga – 9.30am – 6/16/10: Intern got kicked this morning by a cow. At least it wasn’t me kicking him, right? (he’s fine.)

Jacques’ hand got bruised – Gina advised telephonically about what to do and to find out if any damage was done – but his hand is fine!

Inga maintains a blog about her farm work and what happens there.  You van have a look at :

Inga’s Blog

Here is an extract from there for 6/17/10  (She calls Jacques the ‘intern’ or ‘Ginger’:

Sitting here watching, well, listening to Baby Bro and Ginger play Halo 3.  It’s been a full day on the farm.  My feet are sore, my legs are sore, and I remember why I like my ATV.  There are a few paddocks that are just too dangerous to drive thru when setting up paddock, so ya have ta hoof it.  I was showing Ginger how I wanted him to do things, so I walked it with him. Quick study, I’ll give him that!  I felt comfortable showing him where to start, but then letting him set up the next polywire by himself.  I was only a paddock over, setting up a third paddock, but still, it was really nice I didn’t have to walk all of them.  It was nice that it didn’t rain today.  I don’t mind the rain, but I would like a chance to dry out now and again, especially since I just discovered my roof leaks.  GRUMP.  But I got to put out clothes on the line today to dry, and open my windows to air out my house a bit, so that’s nice.  It’s just disconcerting to not have my towel, properly hung up after my shower, not be dry by the next time I want to shower, 24 hours later.  I’m beginning to feel a little mossy.

However, on the intern front, total victory!  Even tho he got kicked this morning by a cow (not a cos as reported on his facebook feed.)  He went out with pickaxe and shovel and fixed some water bars we have in the lanes to divert the water into the grass and out of the lane, to preserve the lane and not have erosion.  Which was AWESOME.  Especially since it got done very well, and I didn’t have to swing the bally axe!

We also got calves sorted, and moved to a new paddock. The yard got scraped, so I got to play with the skid steer.  I did break a post, tho, so I have to get the bonehead of the day award.  The sky is blue and purple and pink, laced with clouds, and the frogs are chirping.  I got to see tadpoles today.  It’s a day.  🙂