You think it’s easy to be a farmer? It’s not. Our kids are the 3rd generation to grow up on the family farm and have seen it all. Well, a lot anyway.
They took their hand raised chickens to slaughter. They saw how sneaky a fox can be to get in and eat the remaining chickens. They’ve seen a foal birthing and hours later a donkey attacking it and breaking its neck, killing it in front of them. One day, merrily along they went to the barn and found one of the goats dead as a door nail. Suspect it got into the horse feed.
One of the big Boar goats managed to get stuck in a tree. Poor Annabelle broke her leg. Told the girls aliens and a ufo were bringing her back. lol. Vet said put her down. Not on my kids watch, and though she limps they nursed her back. They gave Annabelle’s boyfriend away as it was not only mating with her, but would jump on them with his erect penis! Ewwwwe. Yup, they know where babies come from.
Early one morning we shot a wild turkey to eat. They watched as it was cleaned and took the leg to school for show and tell. They were of course made fun of. City folk! They didn’t care, we fried up the turkey and probably had turkey sandwiches for lunch the next day!
The kids could tell you about each of the 27 kittens born on the farm over the years. They could also tell you how some get eaten, some don’t make it, some wondered away and some are still around. Some get fixed and then some stranger drops off another one. All have access to shelter and food. Lots of meowing in learning life lessons.
They are thoughtful enough to pick an apple from the orchard for animal treats and give carrots to the pet rabbit. They’ve rescued baby frogs and turtles that get stranded. One rescue attempt, led to a bite and a rabies scare. It was a baby beaver stuck in some undergrowth, before we knew it she picked it up to put it back in the water with it’s mom swimming on the other side. Mama beaver showed no signs of illness and neither did our kid. Whew.
We’ve watched the combine till the soil, plant corn or soybeans and watch the field come to life. Deer are around- tho not many bucks this year. Everyone always alert for coyote and skunks. We’ve become good at trapping varmints and getting better at our aim as well. And, yes they shoot. Only targets so far, they let the adults pull the trigger on the edibles. Imagine that will change as deer, rabbit & turkey season approaches.
The children participate in all sorts of extra curricular stuff that much to my dismay, begins almost as school lets out. They are also 4-H members and raise goats to show. Many friends raise animals for slaughter and the money goes toward college or they are awarded scholarships.
Bill Marler notes that today is a “Big Day for Challenge to U.S. Country-of-Origin Labeling Rule”
“Led by the powerful American Meat Institute, most of North America’s meat industry today will be asking a federal court in Washington, D.C., for a preliminary injunction to stop USDA from enforcing its new County-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law.”
That’s just bullshit. It’s important to know where your food comes from, period. You need to know that your meat and for that matter all animals that we eat are reasonably inspected, killed humanely, treated humanely. And, if at all possible raised in the USA. The rules for raising commercial and show animals are cumbersome but tough crap. You think Japan isn’t selling Kobe beef raised near Fukushima?
We double dog dare you to find a veterinarian who will come to your farm! It isn’t cheap. Easy to take our dog, but you can’t exactly walk a horse or a goat into the vet office.
This week is the big livestock & agricultural fair that the kids have been awaiting all year long. Yea for rides, games, fried foods. It also means that all the veterinary inspections must be complete. Tagged, tattoos, shots, deworming etc. Money well spent. Our animals are healthy and we would expect no less from the others. A state and county approved vet come by every single day to check on every single animal. Last year the pigs were under a police tape because of the swine flu scare. More importantly there are hand sanitizing stations everywhere!
One kid is showing a Nigerian Dwarf Goat Whether. That means she had to watch as a rubber band shrunk his balls till they fell off. Yuck on the farm.
One kid is showing a cute little Pygmy goat. Both goats have been fed, washed, shaved and groomed so we are ready to go and compete for ribbons, not goat dinners.
Then there are the shoes and boots. Yes shoes- Muddy ones, snow ones, water boots, shit covered ones. And the nerve of those kids to grow! Oh and don’t forget about the clothes for all seasons and the mandatory outfits to show with your animal. Got news for you, it’s cold in winter taking care of animals that jump, play, and give unconditional love.
Lastly there is school. The children will be marked absent while learning more outside of the classroom than inside it. Common core suck btw, and so do Michelle Obama’s lunch of less than 1000 calories of Cisco processed food.
We are proud to be farmers and teach our children and the distant neighbors who aren’t farmers that live on a postage stamp where food comes from and the effort it takes. It’s heartwarming and often heartbreaking. We are not Duck Dynasty, but like them, thank God for our blessings.
No, it’s not easy being a farmer. It’s a great privilege to teach our children how to become a farmer- that is, if they choose not to be astronauts.
August 27, 2013
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