Monday, September 22, 2014

Harvest Hubbub

You know that feeling when you are watching a jack in the box.
You know it's going to pop up.
Your waiting.
Your ready for it.
Ahhh! You still jump out of your skin when it does.

Harvest season tends to have that same effect on me.
Don't get me wrong. It is a wonderful, productive and very rewarding part of farming.

Those little seeds have become a beautiful crop that will feed your animals provide them with the nutrients they need all though the year.

But no matter how much you prepare, no matter how much coffee you drink, no matter how ready you think you are for all the work that this season includes, at some point you wind up feeling like this.

Thanks to Bandit for his accurate illustration of my mood a time or two this week.
 You will plan out the meals and buy the groceries.
Then,in desperation, you will drive to town and order 7 combos at the drive through.
"How many? Seven?" They ask.
"Yes." You will respond.
No further questions.

Some will take advantage of your vulnerable state, particularly if you don't latch the door very well.

And since you haven't seen much of your husband since the corn chopping began, you take your dog along to the feed store for some company. 
He then proceeds to eat the entire pack of nabs you packed for breakfast while you were in the store.
He was sorry...I think.

 But on the bright side, I always know where I can find a handsome guy in a tractor.

And I even get to drive one myself sometimes.

A friend is always nearby.

And I've witnessed more beauty than I deserve.

Here's to another week full of surprises! 
Wishing you all a great Monday!

To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring. ~George Santayana

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Long Road Home

Well friends, I wish I had had the time to write of all the 
happenings going on around here lately.

I rehearse how I will write down the stories I want to tell you as I am holding bottles and fetching cows and driving to get another lunch that I though I would have time to make. 

The great news though is that the cows have adjusted extremely well to their new barn, it's just us farmers who are still getting the hang of things.

The last few weeks have been a flurry of ups and downs as we adjust to new routines and the weight of caring for our animals in a new way.
I go to sleep with numbers still running through my head. 

If I haven't been able to share any other story with you from the last few weeks, I want to tell you this one:

I had been trying hard not to dwell on the fact that I was in a line of work where "Labor Day" did not mean a 3 day weekend with cookouts and sleeping in. Never the less, as I stepped high through the lush grass that is a rarity this time of year I hummed a little song.

 My mind was wandering, trying to gain some clarity after the whirlwind of the new barn start up. 

I smiled to myself as I remembered the moments of happiness.

Yes I took three pictures like this, or maybe 19.
I was teaching Bunny to cheer for the Hokies!
Evenings on the porch
Girls day!!

Ahh, so good to be back in Lane Stadium

Of course we got in a few predicaments as well.
You know it's dirty when it requires the water hose first
"It seemed like a good idea"

Umm, oops...

We have had a chance to catch up on a little sleep.

Pull some weeds from the garden.

And chop some haylage.

And if we run out of things to do, somebody is always hungry!

Just as I was wishing Starbucks wasn't 30 minutes away, I arrived at my destination, the dry cow field. We had come to bring some cows back to the main dairy because they were due to have calves in the next few weeks. They have been on "vacation" so to speak. 

As we arrived at the gate my heart sunk to see 1822 standing at the gate. 
Her big white fuzzy head looked right in my direction and I had to look her square in the eyes. 
It was in this moment that I remembered all at once the moments I didn't want to remember from the last few weeks.

The storms.

The days I hung my head.

Being scared of the thunder that comes in the night.

The fog of uncertainty.

Saying goodbye.

As we sorted the cows we needed, I felt the sting of knowing I could never pet my dear 1823 again. 
The one named "Bugsy", twin sister to "Junie", 1822.

The one I had told about the grand new barn on the hill, 
where her and her sis could spend their days together. 
The one I had raised from moment one.
 The one who had died peacefully on the hillside just a few days ago. 

The photo above was taken the last time I saw her, I had a gnawing feeling it would be.  
She had been struggling with an illness and we had let her out to pasture to be more comfortable.

The rainbow I think was not a coincidence.

Just as a tear was about to spill out of my eyes for the piece of the past I had to let go, I was stunned to look up at what was before my eyes.

It had been a long road, but we were headed home.

 “Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know. 
Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land.” 
- Walt Whitman