The Courage of Farmers
Last night, I endeavored to do chores with my husband Matt. We filled buckets of feed, fed chickens, collected eggs, etc. We had a good time catching up and problem solving. As we were leaving I realized I hadn’t spent time with my first pup, Daisy. She isn’t a pup any longer, she’s nine or so years old. But she was my first and still is my favorite. So as we were leaving I asked Matt where Daisy was. He replied with the broilers. Oh, that made sense. We didn’t go out to that part of the field because he would be catching them in just a few hours for processing.
I believe that was the problem, I had been out to the field, she heard me out there, heard the truck leaving and realized I didn’t spend time with her. Before 60 seconds had passed she was at the gate with us. That means not guarding her chickens. Ugh! We put on the leash and started to walk her back. It is a quarter mile or more back there and was getting dark now. I was holding Matt’s hand. I don’t like walking in the dusk on uneven ground and if I am honest I don’t care for walking in the dark anyway.
We get a short distance and the bull comes snorting and prancing at the dog. Ack! I am uncomfortable walking the the dark unknown but I am terrified of mean bulls. This bull isn’t really mean. He was just protecting his ladies. That was pretty uncomfortable to me since Daisy wanted to be her me. Matt chased him away. He came back. Matt chased him away. Now, imagine this. When I say chased him away you need to picture Matt running after the bull, shouting and waving his arms while the bull snorts, stomps the ground and jumps up and down as he slowly backs up. As Matt returns to me he says It’s ok. I’ll keep you safe; just stay by me.
At this point we were near the pullets and the bull came running toward us again; I hop in the chicken yard with its wonderful electric fence. Safe. I am not interested in chasing the bull off every 50 ft on a 1/4 mile walk and back. Matt walks Daisy back with the whole herd of cows sniffing and following him along. I get busy tidying up the yard and visiting Tundra.
When he returns, the bull and cows follow him back. I finish up my work and we start leaving. We weren’t 50 ft and the stinker Daisy comes back! The bull gets feisty. I panic! Quickly jumping through three wires of hot electric fence straight into the dark forest full of critters, snakes and poison ivy. I was ready to climb a tree if need be.
Matt handles the situation with like it is no big deal; putting the dog away for good and comes back to get me. He sees me on the other side of the fence, deep in the poison ivy and is surprised. He wants to know how I got there. I didn’t know. He helps me get out. and we head home.
I have one thing to say about all this: Farmers have a lot of courage. Handling all the ups and downs of weather, the uncertainty of crops, the unpredictable nature of animals, and so many other daily variables with courage and grace are part of what make them awesome. I am impressed.
I am glad to be a part of our farm. But it is obvious to me; I am not a farmer!