Archive for May 10th, 2011

Sammy's beefling

There are things you learn on a farm.  For one, you learn to love as hard as you can–as much as you can each creature under your care.  Because death is so intricately woven into the movement of farming you learn the need to go on in the face of death.  My best friend phoned last night to let us know she lost her best Jersey cow giving birth 😦  My heart went out to her.  It was her first loss on their farm, and as hard and difficult as this can be, the work of the farm must go on.

Animals still need to be fed.  Barns need to be cleaned.  The goats still need to be milked, even when that fresh memory is getting you down.  The very act of keeping the living alive disallows loss from stopping the work of loving those that remain to be cared for.

Living on a farm teaches that lesson–grief is for night time before sleep, which comes easily to most body-worn farmers.  Sadness may slip in between sleep and awakening, but only for a moment before the farmer must get up to go tend the fields and animals again.

Cheesecake & Cinnamon

The rain does not come because the farmer grieves, nor the sun because he celebrates.  He learns to accommodate more than plowing or mowing hay to nature.  Morning gladness is as much contingent on sunrise as on a newly born lamb, and joy surprises a heavy mood with as little as a chickadee who, fascinated with some winter berry, doesn’t mind the farmer near or the cow’s warm rough tongue against his shoulder as he leans to milk her swollen udders.

Francesca's eyes

Sickness is treated sometimes gently, sometimes with force that came from who knows where?  What needs to be done is done.

The farmer, oftentimes alone, learns to improvise– to take a rusty nail from where it’s half out of a wall, to mend the stall board the sheep run through–to used Coke bottles, duct tape and hay string as surgical tools — drenching throats, wrapping hooves and binding wounds that inevitably occur on any given day on a farm.  The farmer uses his  medicines for critters and bag balm and rubbing liniment for his own sore dry and aching bones.

Little things

As hard as it can be, the rewards of farming are tenfold in my mind.  I wish everyone could learn life lessons on a farm; to love hard– to make do — to see joy in small things, and to let it go and to go on.  It’s all those small things that will warm your hearts.


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