Back to Work………..
I hope you all had wonderful holidays with families and friends. Don’t get me wrong, I love it all, but I especially relished the one quiet day I had alone at home. The last few years, UVM has announced during staff recognition week that they’re giving us the time between Christmas and New Years as additional time off. This year they announced that this extra time off is permanent. Ah, this is great! My husband’s traditional French Canadian family always comes to the farm for New Years; it’s wonderful having the extra time to get ready for the onslaught! A wonderful time was had by all; we had 34 this year.
The holidays are over, it’s time to get back to work.
I know I’ve mentioned before that I really enjoy designing modifications. It feels great seeing them in place and hearing back from the client that the modifications are working. Thursday morning, I received a phone call from a former client, wishing me a happy new year and telling me what a difference the hand-control clutches and additional steps for his tractors have made in his life. He made a similar call a year ago. This was only one of the high points in my day.
I trekked through the snow to the Northeast Kingdom to deliver two sets of steps to a client for his narrow, small pit parlor. This gentleman is recovering from knee surgery; as a result of my farm assessment, 2 of the recommendations were for the parlor. The two sets of “steps” that he had in his parlor were concrete blocks. The steps closest to the milking parlor were especially dangerous; he hung onto an upright pole and swung around it and down into the pit, landing ‘just so’ on the top concrete block, a 17″ drop from the top of the pit. The porous concrete never dried out and was often slippery. An accident waiting to happen. The farmer didn’t have a local fabricator, so I worked with the fabricator in my area to get them made.
I think these steps are as practical and functional as can be. Each set of steps needs just 2 holes drilled in the concrete. Place the anchors, attach the nuts, and voila, they’re in. I designed them with adjustable feet to accommodate any irregularities in the floor. In not much more than an hours’ time, the safe replacement steps were in place. This pit is only 4′ 9″wide, so the treads could not be as deep as I’d like, but their open design allows plenty of foot room. The main steps were able to be 24″ wide; the steps at the other end of the pit could only be 18″ wide to allow movement around them.
This farmer will also be putting parlor mats down to cover the whole parlor floor (my second recommendation for the parlor). They have been delivered; he was waiting to get the steps in, and was planning on placing the mats today. These 1’x1″ flexible tiles each have 289 shock-absorbing, flexible legs underneath. These provide significant cushioning, making it more comfortable to stand for hours while milking, much easier on his joints. They also insulate him from the cold floor. The legs also allow any solids to be rinsed away easily. Their non-slip surface is another positive attribute.
These affordable modifications will make a huge difference in this farmers’ work life; safer and more comfortable working conditions. I really enjoyed this day!