Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Bad Kind of Family

I have been getting a lot of flack from my non-farming friends about missing out on things, not making it to places on time, always smelling, being on the phone etc etc.  I have gotten used to it but lately I have noticed how my family is the bad kind.  We are all the things my non-farming friends and family label us as.  The bad kind of family:

  •  Rarely shows up on time

  I also have a bad habit of during finals helping a lot on the farm so I am usually late to at least one final because I can't leave in the middle of working.  We as a family are late because cows are unpredictable, oh so very unpredictable.  Graduation? they just wanna be fed. church? they just want fresh clean water. final? they hay needs to be baled. 
  • Work clothes double as church clothes --or church clothes double as work clothes

There is nothing a little stain remover and Momma's special concoction can't get rid of.  On the other hand cows don't care if you are on your way out the driveway to a special function dressed all nice!

  • Are closer to God on a tractor than in the pew

I am guilty of sitting in church thinking of all the things I could be doing if I wasn't in church.
  • Work on Sundays 

Just like this Easter we barely made it to church because we lost a cow.  There aren't enough hours in the day to get a days work done so many time we use our Sundays.  But, I don't think God cares because "God made a Farmer" and His animals need to be tended to everyday of the week 24/7

  • Schedule reflects the amount of chores for the day

Many farming families go till 1 am during harvest or hay season or get up multiple times a night during calving season.  We have missed a lot of family functions because 5 pm is a prime time on our family farm.  We schedule (if we can even go) our vacations around the farm and most times someone can't go. 
  • Believe in hard work (child labor!!)

I learned to get up at 5 am at an early age because the cows don't know I stayed up too late they just know they are hungry.  I was a really strong kid because picking (or whatever it took to get them moved) up feed sacks was an everyday thing.  

I would not change my bad family for anything.  We get bad looks when we haven't been to church in month,

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

From Death Comes Life

   I was in the middle of my normal feeding schedule when I noticed something was not as it was supposed to be.  I had actually walked right past it to begin with but something felt off so I turned around and saw a calf sprawled out on its side.  I dropped the full feed bucket, which hindsight was not a good idea, and went over to the preemie calf.  It was breathing and had a strong heartbeat which was a good thing but it was weak.  It was now a 3 day old calf and our black lab was bigger than him.           
    I am the last person to ever give up on a living animal, I ran back and forth from the barn to where it was laying to get a hay bale, a bucket, halters, and its mom, Jana.  I was very much alone but my dad was on speaker phone sitting in the feed bucket!  I was leary the cows would eat my phone and then I would definitely be up a creek but it was all I had in a pinch.  I got the calf onto the hay bale but because it was so small dad said it may be putting pressure on its lungs so I sat on the hay bale and held it.  I sat there all alone praying and hoping Jana would understand to get her udder close to us so he could nurse and regain strength.  I eventually called my mom and grandmother to come help.  Like I said, I am the last one to give up on an animal so when my mom got there and saw it her words devastated me but didn't discourage me.  I sat there holding this tiny calf trying to tell my mom and grandmother what I needed but also seeking advice from the mothers of Volunteer Simmentals. 

 My mom kept telling me there was nothing I could do and my grandmother kept quiet knowing I couldn't handle two people saying it.  We tried and tried and prayed and prayed for an everyday miracle for this preemie calf.  I made my mom feel its heartbeat trying to convince her it was very much alive but when she went down to feel for it...the heartbeat was gone.  I was holding a dead calf.  I didn't put it down until I was positive there was no life left in it.  I eventually put it down.  And like any farmer started thinking of the other animals.  I still had to feed the group I was originally headed to, I had to run the cows out of the hay field, fix fence, and now bury a calf.  

But on a farm, life always comes from death.  I had an idea!!!  We lost a cow Easter morning but she left a calf behind.  A calf come to be known as Henry to us who was being mothered by my grandmother.  I carried the dead calf away so his mom could worry about our new situation.  Operation get Henry onto his new momma!! You read that right.  From death comes life.  We may have lost a cow and a calf but God has a plan and he planned for these two to be a pair, mom and baby.  He did not however give me the talent to dig graves so the calf is buried in a big hole which took my an hour to dig.

Fast-forward a little bit late:  Henry is nursing Jana and all is well!