Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Decisions to be made
Ever since I was 18 I have been smitten with cows. I was never raised on a farm, and didn't grow up in farm country; quite the contrary, I grew up in the northern suburbs of New Jersey, not 50 miles from the Big Apple.
So what happened?
Back to the land is what happened, and I happened to have some friends who went right there, there being a small farm in north central Pennsylvania. Which didn't have cows, but was right next door to a farm that did. The rest, they say, is history.
I have always loved the outdoors, the changing seasons, the planting and the harvest, the ebb and flow of nature. The satisfaction of looking back after a days work and seeing the results, a new fence, a garden, a field freshly plowed or hay stacked high in the barn before a rain; witnessing a newborn calf struggle to its feet for the very first time.
That was quite a few years ago, but the feelings and connection and satisfaction has not changed over the years.
I owned a small herd of registered Holsteins, and ran my own small dairy. It was a simple set up, but profitable. I drank the milk fresh from the bulk tank, made butter and real buttermilk pancakes. The cows went out every day, every season. They had fresh quality feed, and clean dry bedding. They were well looked after, and in return gave me milk to sell and calves to add to the herd or sell as registered stock.
After 4 years my partner in the business decided he had had enough of milking and cows in general, and we auctioned our little herd off to the highest bidder. The money from the sale of the stock allowed me to pursue my painting, drawing and writing for several years.
Fast forward to 2005. A small run in barn is built, locusts posts pounded in, wire fence in place. A gooseneck trailer with Oklahoma tags pulls in after dark carrying 4 miniature Herefords from west Texas.
It seems that 4 years may well be the lifespan of my cattle endeavors, and history seems poised to repeat itself once again. I walk among my growing flock of registered miniature Herefords daily, thrilled with the quality of the first calves born and excited that next spring they would be calving, carefully tending them 365 days of the year, hauling hay and hauling water, fixing fence and building more..once again realizing this is my dream, and mine alone.