Tuesday, May 24, 2011

So much about cattle, the land, fences and salt blocks

So much about small farms, hay, fencing and sheds. Calves being born, how we feed our stock, care for the pastures. First, let me please be clear on one thing, and perhaps some of you may have already picked up on this, but my husband absolutely hates the cattle being here. Yup, that is correct, and so does my oldest daughter. They make it quite clear on a regular basis (almost daily) how much they dislike the small "farm" I am making them "endure" here. As if their lives were a living hell because I have cattle on 22 acres.

After trying to figure out (for years now) what exactly bothers them so much about it (as I do 99% of all the work, keep my time with the animals minimal when everyone is home, and see that the animals can support themselves), I finally figured it out (I think).

They cannot understand what I (or others) "get" out of a close association with the land, livestock; the seasons, birth and death, the whole "circle of life". They simply do not see it. Therefore, they don't understand it, and if they don't get it, well, why should anyone possibly "want" it? (or "have it" for that matter....)

On more than several occasions I have been pushed so hard on this (the cattle) that I have seriously considered selling them all (then I will really be miserable), or moving them off the property (why....? I just built everything from nothing over the years, myself ).

I am a homebody. I have no problem with travel, like it alot, but arrangements must be made when one has livestock. Some people do not want to understand that, and see it as another reason to "get rid of the cows". I actually prefer to hire someone to come care for the animals when I do leave to visit family out of state, and just this past April learned my lesson on that (again...) as my husband "insisted" he would be happy to look after the animals while we were gone for 4 days. After the first evenings feeding, all hell broke loose, the weather turned windy rainy and raw, and hubby was out of his mind miserable (and let me know it) looking after the animals....of course, I could not wait to get home to survey the "damage" or "rants" as one could imagine. "Get rid of the cows" sounds like the family anthem at times here....its quite exhausting.

But, now I realize, after much thought, and even more research and reading about personality disorders (yes....) humans needing to bond to the land and physical labor; the satisfaction and mental benefits from farming; (fascinating study of depression in our tech age vs. depression in our society 100 years ago) the selfish needs of those who do not share your passions nor care if you get to fulfill yours...

I have come to the conclusion that farming is what I am. I derive great pleasure on a very deep level mentally from raising and caring for my little herd of miniature Herefords; designing and building things that serve a purpose or fill a need; digging in the dirt to set a post, or plant a tree that will provide shade or windbreak. Its not a tremendous amount of work, it doesn't cost alot, (well, they support themselves, and pay the taxes, usually, too). I would rather be out in the barn, or checking the fences, or building a feeder, or moving cattle, or walking through the pastures staring at the ground to see if the frost seeded clover has begun to sprout, than be stuck in the house. And my husband and oldest daughter know this. I think it drives them nuts.....But they don't understand; and I don't think they ever will, and quite honestly, at this point, I don't care.

I look out the front window as I wipe down the kitchen counters, I see the animals sleeping in the grass. They are healthy, content. Because they are, so also, am I.

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