Life on a farm is very rewarding. I love living on a farm and can’t imagine not living on one. There are so many ways that farm living affects you. It is a wonderful place to raise a child. They learn so much from just watching and caring for the animals. They see where their food comes from and they get a very healthy lesson on sex education. I can remember as a child seeing a cow mounting another cow in a pasture. We snickered and giggled like it was something dirty. When our son would see that, his comment would be… “Someone’s in heat”. We watch for signs of heat to know when to get an animal bred. There are also very sad times on a farm. When an animal dies in an accident or of old age like our sweet Buttercup. She was at least 20 years old and had not given us babies or milk for the last few years. She earned the right to be a pasture ornament.
There are also times of joy. The birth of a new animal, or the first egg from new chickens, or getting to feed a calf a bottle. Sometimes what happens is funny and character building. So, I thought I would share some stories with you. We call them “Tails” From The Farm.
Loading pigs to go to the butchers is always a character building exercise. On our last farm, we made the mistake of making the pig pen up behind another pasture. There were lots of trees in between the fences, so you couldn’t drive a truck up there. It was good for the pigs since it was shaded and comfortable for them during the hot summer, but bad for us since we had to move the pigs from their pen to the trailer which was WAY too far away. So, we got smarter when we moved to this farm. We decided to put the pigs in a place where we could back the trailer right up to it. Their shelter was the drive through on our big barn. It is about 3 feet lower than the bottom level of the barn. We thought we were all set. As the pigs got closer to the size to be processed, we realized that we were going to have to be creative on getting the pigs from the drive through level to the next level of the barn, which the trailer would be backed up to. The guys built a ramp and they slowly coaxed the pigs to walk up it. This was after many attempts and moving a feed bowl in font of them. They were successful with the first two with this method. It appeared that the rest were coming right behind the other two. They got all the way up to the trailer, then changed their mind and turned around. They jumped to the lower level of the drive through and we were back at square one. We set the feed bowls down and began to talk about the next step. They were somewhat disappointed that they had been so close only to have them turn around at the last moment. The pigs started showing an interest in the feed again. They were not interested in going up the ramp though. The guys had the feed up on the upper level, but those pigs just steered clear of that ramp. All of a sudden and with very little effort, they easily jumped the three foot barrier, with a grace and a flair usually reserved for a horse in a steeplechase competition. They did not even touch the ramp as they flew gracefully through the air. It was quite a site to see and brought lots of laughter. We learn new things each year. Who knew that pigs could fly? One day we may get it right.
“Ram On The Loose”
I used to keep a small spinners flock of Shetland Sheep. We would breed them each year and raise some for meat. Each year, I would have to find a ram to use. This particular year, a friend (John) was bringing us a ram to put in with our sheep. He was also going to be picking up our turkeys to take them to be processed. Our sheep barn was behind our house and garden. The pasture we used for the sheep included our side yard on both sides. We would switch them from side to side to allow the grass to grow and for the sunshine to take care of parasites, etc. There are large trees back by the sheep barn and the sheep like to hang out underneath them. John backed up to the pasture fence and picked up the ram and put him in the sheep pasture. The sheep were all around back and out of sight. I am sure he wondered what had just happened. He had been caught, loaded in a vehicle, transported and put into a pasture all by himself. Sheep are herd animals and like buddies. As we started to turn around to go and get the turkeys, the ram simply hopped over the fence and took off across our pasture and across the neighbor’s yard and into the woods. We started out after him both on foot and in the truck. Once he hit the woods, we never saw him again. We looked for a long time, but we had to go and get started on the turkeys so we would be done on time. I called neighbors up and down the road, so that they would know he was loose and to watch out for him. Thank goodness he was a very gentle and mild ram. One of our friends went out looking for him and found him. He was in the yard of some new people we had met that lived on a busy road behind us. Two dogs had him cornered and one of them had wounded one of his legs a bit.
In the mean time we were butchering the turkeys and I was praying that the ram would be found and that he wouldn’t hurt anyone when he was cornered.
Before we started for home, we got a call that he had been found and was on the way back to the farm. This friend had chased off the dogs and had the ram sort of cornered in a gully. She called her husband and told him where she was. He called another of our friends who was closer and told him. She sat there and talked to the ram until our friend showed up to catch him. They put him in the back of truck and brought him home and put him in by the sheep. We were thanking God for friends and neighbors willing to help out.
This one is told by my husband Michael right after it happened.
You shoulda seen this one……………
Saturday was a busy day. Very physical, nice warm humid day. Got
it?……. I was doing animal stuff, making sure everything was as it should be. I
walked over to the cow trough to check the water level. It was really low,
so I figured I’d take the opportunity to rinse it out before I filled it.
It’s a 100 gallon galvanized tank, so you need to wait ’til it’s low to
clean it. I tipped it over with no problem, and the 10 gallons or so that
was left washed over the area. I picked up the hose, put my hand on the
trough & leaned over to start rinsing. Well, the next thing I know I’m
letting out this big ole yell……………. loud…….. sudden…….. did I say loud?
It seems as I bent over, my slim & trim (ha-ha) rear-end came in contact
with the electric fence. WOW!! I had concerns prior to that about the effectiveness of the charger………………..not anymore. The yell was involuntary. That thing bit me so hard that it just came out. The spot of the shock still smarts a little. I can just imagine the play-by-play from the cows perspective. When I turned to look at them, they were holding their composure quite well, but I could swear I heard unrestrained laughter after
I was around the corner & out of sight.
Farm living is the life for me………….