Essays, Pg 3

Why I love farming
by Emma G.
I am a five-year old girl growing very much. I love to feed our cow Marcie. I love going on walks with my baby brother Lincoln, big sister Coleen and her dog, Ranger. I love to play on the playground, watching the cow eat her hay. If I win Amethyst I want to show her in Mini 4-H, because I want to show an animal. We have lots of room for another cow. Our cow Marcie is going to have a calf and if I win Amethyst we will have two calves!
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Why I Love Farming by Coleen G. 

I am a thirteen year old growing up on a farm in rural Indiana.
When I was younger I never saw myself becoming a farm girl, and I have to admit I wasn’t thrilled when we started getting animals, fencing our pastures and getting up early to feed our goat kids. But since then I’ve realized that farming is something very special, the way an animal trusts and loves the farmer, and the farmer loves the animal and takes dedicated care of it. Farmers are people to depend on, people with strong values and an amazing sense of community, and I am grateful for the neighbors that are willing to bring their tractor and chains to pull your truck out of the mud. I love walking into my 4-H dairy meetings, and seeing kids just like me, people who are doing what they love and love what they’re doing. If I win Amethyst I plan to show her at our 4-H fair. I love cattle, and have been looking for a calf to show. We have a ten-acre pasture with only one cow on it who needs a friend, and I am also helping my dad fence a second pasture. I love finding ways to improve our farm! I love hearing the rooster crow in the morning, hearing my brother and sister stomp in from the barn, mud on their boots. I love how the chickens come running when I call, a bucketful of scraps in my arms. I love walking up to the pasture and sitting under a tree with our cow, reading. I love long walks in the woods with my dog, Ranger, and evenings on the porch watching the sun go down.
But most of all, I love being a farmer because that’s who I am.

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Why I Love Farming by Katarina G. 

I am an eight year old girl, and I live in Shoals, IN. I love collecting
eggs from our chickens, feeding and playing with our goats, and holding our
chickens. I love to take long walks and sit by our creek, and milk goats. I
love to sit under a shady tree reading a good book, playing in the hay and
building things. If I win Amethyst she will  have plenty of room and food,
and she will have our cow Marcie as a friend! my birthday is March 13 so it
would be a nice birthday present.

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Every morning I put a big pail of warm soapy water onto the floor of the milking parlor. On a side board, I set a filter into a glass jar. Nearby a stainless steel pail sits next to a drinking glass. The pail is for milk. The glass is for me. A pan of grain is there for the cow. I brush my dear cow who, as E. B. White said, exhales “sweet patient breath.” And we begin our morning ritual. I clean the cow, dry her off, and milk foams almost as if by magic into the steel pail. Sometimes I sing. Sometimes I listen to life outside the milking parlor; goats hollering, the calf answering, chickens commenting on the new day. And milk froths, zings, splashes, sings back to the cow and me, as it fills the pail many times over. I watch amazed at my hands, the cow, the sweet warm milk rising in tall glass jars. 

It was a normal noisy morning full of children, three years earlier, that ultimately delivered me to this wonderful life of cows and milk. I was just a suburban housewife like so many others, spending my days amidst the happy chaos of children, cooking, cleaning, driving to activities, arguing over T.V. time, and trying sometimes vainly to keep enough milk in my refrigerator. I was deeply worried about the rising price of milk. The quality of milk never crossed my mind. The price, then at $7 a gallon for organic, was scary. How to feed my children at such a price? A solution, I thought, was to become my own Heifer International (A favorite charity). Had I ever met a cow? Surely not. Never met a cow, never milked a cow, never tasted raw milk. 

Within a week, I met two amazing and wonderful farmers, Christine and Allan Green of Woodcrest Farm, who were interested in training one of their Dexter cows to give milk. On a whim, nod, and handshake I found myself the co-owner of a six month old Dexter darling we named Raspberry. Training her was my job. Before she was done growing, we decided to move the project along and bought an old Jersey in milk.  Quickly, then, I found myself — a weak-armed clueless urban cowgirl — weeping at the side of a Jersey. Why did I weep? Learning to hand-milk is very hard work.  Cows are complicated, marvelous, fearsome creatures. And perhaps I sensed life was about to change, sensed what cows and milk would redefine for me: food, my trust in our government, my own strength, and what it means to farm. Also, I was scared of cows because they are big and very strong.

That was three years ago. I’ve since milked many cows and goats and trained one young Dexter heifer, Little Red. She was tamed, halter broken, and taught to stand for milking with positive reinforcement, love, and treats. She’s been sold to another family, to another weak-armed clueless urban cowgirl, who wept at her side and yet can’t imagine life any other way. Cows are excellent teachers for their humans, and for those susceptible their pull seems inexorable. Fresh raw cow milk is simply the highest quality food available on the planet. 

Our economic need, combined with learning where corporate food comes from and how it’s produced, led me to hope a cow would give me control over the price of my family’s food, how much milk my family would have, and the quality of what we are putting in our bodies. What I learned is that the cost is still largely out of my hands, and the cow controls the milk. It turns out the only thing I control is how well the cow is cared for. I’ve learned that aptitude for nurture determines the quality of life returned to you from the cow whether as a new calf, fresh milk, beef, increased soil fertility, or love. Working with a cow for your daily milk supplants corporate dependence with love.
Cows have become a personal obsession. Raw milk has become something of a mission. Taken together, my life plan is to train milk cows for families and to train families for milk cows. What would a new little heifer mean to me? I believe I can connect farming healthy little heifers to almost every important thing on earth. Cows have shown me the truth about nourishment, corporate greed, the amount of plastic our society literally eats everyday, the general disregard for our earth, something dark and nefarious called genetically modified food, and the monetary value of food production. Cows have provided a way to step outside the broken aspects of our society; I ache to share their message. I plan to raise as many family milk cows as I can. It is my small subversive idea for changing the world.  Paul Cezanne said, “The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.” I will plant my revolution in a bucket of milk, a pasture of cows, a new, old, way to live.
BY: Katherine  W.
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By Thomas C.
I love farming primarily because of all of the experiences and opportunities I have that
other people may not have the opportunity to do. I can do many things on a regular basis that most
may only do infrequently, if at all. I have a pregnancy checked a cow and I ride horse very
frequently.
I have checked to see if a cow was pregnant, called by veterinarians and cattle farmers,
“preg-checking”. The process of preg-checking involves pushing one’s hand into the womb of the
cow in question and feeling to see if a calf is present. One year, I decided that I would like to learn
how to preg-check a cow. I talked with my veterinarian and asked him if he would teach me, and he
agreed to do so. It was very cold on the day that he came to teach me and check the rest of our beef
cow herd. My father decided that I should try to check the last cow to come through, which turned
out to be a heifer (a cow who has never had a calf before). The veterinarian kept his hand inside
the cows as long as possible to stay warm. By the time, the last heifer had come into the squeezechute
the wind had turned into a bitter cold. Despite the cold, I took my hand out of my warm
gloves and put it into the long plastic gloves used to preg-check the cows. The veterinarian checked
first; he became doubtful that the heifer was pregnant. After several cold moments however, he felt
sure that he had actually felt something. As he guided me, I reached my arm into the cow. The
veterinarian told me where to reach and what I should feel. I did as he told me, but did not feel
anything like what he told me a calf should feel like; however, I learned the basics of pregchecking.
(I later learned that the heifer was pregnant just she was not very far along, and that is
why I could not feel anything.)
Many times after that, I have assisted the veterinarian preg-check by riding horse to herd
the cows and heifers into the working area. I have even roped calves at
the branding times on horseback. Last year I worked with a mare before
we sold her to a young girl. That is another reason why I love farming,
because of all of the time spent on horseback.
I truly do love farming, and not just for the reasons I have already stated. I have not even
mentioned the thrill of driving during haying in the summer,
or the satisfaction of looking on a wholly repaired fence as I
fix fences in the spring. I have the opportunity to do many
more things than anyone living in town all of his life could ever imagine.
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I am writing to you from Woodcrest Farm, a small farm in North Carolina.  We are a family farm in several ways. First that is the way we live, growing and caring for a variety of animals as well as organic veggies and fruits. In addition, we are interested in the history of family farming and have collections of old horse drawn implements and household items that match the era during which our 1880’s house was built. With the addition of some modern conveniences, we are living exactly the way this property was used throughout all those years. That includes our dairy animals, three goats and a Jersey named Carnation.

You ask why I love farming. I was raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, not on a farm. As a child, I loved animals. I loved camping. I loved nature and the outdoors. Over the years of my marriage, every move we have made has been more rural and allowed us to live closer to the land. I love farming because it puts me close to the things that God made. There I can take part in the miracles of nature and growth. I love farming because I have always wanted to be as self reliant as possible. At this stage of my life, I am actively teaching others to be self reliant as well. I love farming because I want to live in a community of people who are drawn to the land. We have worked cooperatively with a variety of other farmers and also live in an old community where helping one another is still a part of the culture.  I love farming because it allows me to pursue another of my interests – to preserve older varieties of plants and animals to help stem the tide of mega farms and narrowed gene pools.

I am a homesteader by nature but up until two years ago had confined my dairying to goats. Then I met Katherine, a neighbor who shared my interest in the farm and who was looking for an opportunity to do dairy for her family since she had no farm of her own. We both had secret desires to own a Jersey and so we bought Elderberry, a venerable matron who gave us lots of milk but no calves. Elderberry was a great learning experience. We learned how delicious Jersey milk is, how to care for and milk a dairy cow and how it is to have both families plus others enjoying such great milk. I learned to make my own cheese and butter and with the help of another friend, and we now teach cheese making classes on the farm. Sadly, we also learned about mastitis and disappointment when she didn’t calf on schedule and we couldn’t get her bred.  We finally concluded that Elderberry, as sad as it was, was a great learning experience, but not a great cow.

During the first six months of our new venture, Katherine and I talked and talked and dreamed together. We decided that we would like to raise a heifer or two each year to market to families that wanted to own a family cow. We also decided to work on a personal dream of mine to tame a milking Dexter and use these wonderful dual purpose little cows that I own for dairying as well as for grass fed beef. We planned a milking parlor which is now complete and functional.

Our milking parlor was completed just in time to welcome Carnation, a terrific young Jersey. She has been a blessing right from the start. She calved successfully right on time and of course her sweet milk is “Jersey” delicious. She is easy to milk and easy going as well.

Now to the question, why would we like another Jersey?  For me dairying has become an important part of our history and teaching farm. Children and adults come here all the time to learn where their food comes from, to learn about the rural roots of this great nation, to learn how to produce their own food and to become more self-reliant. Doing dairy here also extends the traditions of all the past generations on this farm. There have been dairy cows on this property since 1880.

Katherine, my husband and I are committed to milking, committed to Jerseys and committed to teaching others about this and other aspects of the family farm. We are carefully looking for another Jersey to add to our farm. Raising a calf has a great appeal because of the many children that come here. Chief among them are Katherine’s children Henry and Riley who are here every day. They milk and help feed and care for calves and baby goats. They would be a big part of the raising of a Jersey calf. My grandchildren come here too.  Many school children of all ages (and their parents) come here to learn about farming and where milk really comes from.

Your calf would be an important part of our small farm. And someday her calf might become someone’s family cow.

By: Christine G.
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Peek-a-boo, our cow, needs a girlfriend and I love cows.  SpiritedRose Amethyst looks beautiful.   I would like to enter her in the county fair, when I am eight.
By: W.
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I wake in the morning to the soft rustlings of my children snuggling deeper into their blankets as the lingering darkness of the night sighs its last moist breath of coolness into the air.I lay contentedly in no hurry because this is the life I have chosen! I wonder about the people I hear on the highway already speeding off to office jobs with stale air and no sun light! I hear also, the gentle Waime bird with its happy song announcing the sun is coming and to cast off my sleep and be prepared for a day of joy! My husband, the early bird he is, has already been awake, sometimes for hours, taking that time to meditate and calm his mind and to relish in that absolute peacefulness that rules the wee hours of the day! He is also efficient and has already prepared what we need to milk our delightful little cow whose hanging ears and generous dewlap instantly invoke sweetness into the heart! We walk silently to the barn, happy to have our morning together, sometimes chatting and sometimes listening. This is how our days go, a simple, peaceful flowing, being aware of our conscious choice to love and live and to be aware of that in all living beings moving and unmoving, to embrace the divine in every moment and offer our service to the Lord who resides eternally in our hearts. A dream I once had, to farm, to plant seeds,to milk cows, has evolved into a deep yearning, an innate knowledge that if I dont, my very soul will suffer the consequences of such negligence. My life once revolved around horses. I dreamed, breathed, worked, lived horses! My life was devoted to caring for and learning to communicate with the bright spirit of the equine. After I married and had children my focus shifted into putting the same devotion and energy into my family. I now was on a quest to feed my family the ultimate of foods, give them a wholesome life, one worthy of continuing long after my time has come and gone. By the Lords grace milk cows entered my life after many years of being vegan. The gentle, yet spunky nature of the cow with its giving spirit is just what I needed in my life to fill in the equation!  I once believed many moons ago that wealth was “material”, in a sense that many houses and many cars and a bustling social life is what elevated one to the status of being rich. A naieve foolish peron is all I was, tainted by television and perverted views of big time media. The liitle child in me had stayed alive  and I knew deep down that land and animals and food was what would fulfill me. After I got my first cow I realized what real wealth was…fresh milk, rich in life giving and building nutrients, liquid religiosity in every corner of my kitchen, piles of dung like gold that are put on the fruit trees that are growing so wonderfully and putting their fruits in the harvest basket! Earthworms filling the gardens where the dung is placed and a healthy bull calf who is the lucky winner of becoming the farm ox and a chance to fulfill his purpose as a working member of a farm, moving logs and pulling carts. We dont eat our animals, we give them the opportunity to live out their life in a loving safe environment, contributing to the wealth and abundance of the farm. They are protected, fed, sheltered, given the chance to experience life fully. Our family really does worship the cow. We see her as our mother, who nourishes us, keeps us healthy and shows us love and in turn we give her full protection. We even observe a yearly practice of worshipping the cow, where various items are offered to her, a light of a ghee lamp to cast off the darkness of ignorance, a fan of peacock feathers to cool her, inscense so that her life is filled with pleasant smells, holy water for her soul, a conch shell is blown to invoke protection for her and handprints of turmeric covering her body a garlands of fragrant flowers as decoration for her beautiful body. In a sense my families life revolves around our cow. I feel that having a cow is one of the most important things that householders can do, for their children, themselves and humanity as a whole. It is becoming a lost art to care for family cows, one that needs to be preserved. I live in an area where milk cows are almost unheard of, and while out traing my ox on the road the other day, someone stoppped and asked if that was a cow I had! It worried me that people might forget what a cow even is! Well, for my children and I we will know! We will know that we will have nourishment, love, wealth in the richest sense. A milk cow, humble, giving and peaceful and bstowing her blessings upon us.
By: Erin B.
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I have always felt a longing for farm life.  When I was growing up in the suburbs I always felt something missing, a connection to animals and the land.  I would sit in the dirt in the corner of our backyard under “my” tree with my dog and I would tell her it was our farm.  On the way home from school my bike became a horse and the cement sidewalks became a twisting, country trail.

My parents were probably puzzled about where this came from in me.  My father grew up on a huge cattle farm in South Dakota and joined the Air Force to get away from farm life.  He worked so hard to provide a better life for me but still I loved to hear his stories of growing up on the farm.  I went to visit my grandparents and rode the combine and bottle fed the calves.  It was heaven.

It really should be no surprise that I longed for a farm.  I had it in my blood on both sides.  My father’s parents had the farm in South Dakota that I loved.  My other grandma had a house cow and chickens when she was growing up.  I would have her tell me stories of Sally, the Jersey cow, and the chickens over and over.  I could hear the love in her voice and I knew that is what I wanted.

I now live on five beautiful acres in Virginia, so far from that little girl sitting in the dirt behind her house in the California suburbs.  My parents and grandparents did indeed help me to a better life, just not the one they had imagined.  Instead of nearby malls and restaurants I have rolling pasture and a winding creek.  My husband and I have a small run in shed and carefully seeded fields that are yearning for the right cow.

What I love about farming is that it just feels right.  In my favorite novel the protagonists only find peace when they go back to life on the farm, following nature’s timeline.  There is a time to sit under a tree and dream and there is a time to turn a pasture into a farm.  I think a cow would do that for us.  We will be starting a family in a few years and I can just see a little girl or boy sitting under a tree talking to his or her cow about the farm.

BY: K.F.

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Why I Love Farming
By Malea C. age 8
I love farming because I love the animals. Animals are sweet and cute.
My favorite animals are dairy cows because they are sweet
tempered. We have a dairy cow who is very sweet. But I love
them all. I like feeding the animals in the
tractor. And riding on the swather a lot. I like riding the horses
too. I like watching the chickens pecking at the ground. I like to
hear the cows moo. And I like the way I feel free.
I would like to have an animal all my own so I could be like the person in the poem
who gets to go fetch the cow.
“Mooly cow, mooly cow, home from the wood
They sent me to fetch you as fast as I could.
The sun has gone down: It is time to go home.
Mooly cow, mooly cow, why don‘t you come?
Your udders are full, and the milkmaid is there,
And the children all waiting their supper to share
I have let the long bars down-why don’t you pass through?”
The mooly cow only said, “Moo-o-o“
– From The Cow-Boy’s Song by Anna Maria Wells

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Why I Love Farming
An essay by Amanda C. Age 11
I have never lived anywhere but on a farm and I love the farm. I love the animals
on the farm, my favorites are the large animals, especially the cows and horses.
I have halter broken a couple of calves. My favorite halter breaking experience
was my Jersey heifer, Joy. I started putting a halter on her and working with her when she
was a couple days old. She liked people, I could walk up to her and pet her right away.
We kept the dairy cows in our building and one day the gate was left open while we
cleaned out the pen and Joy got out. She was tired of being cooped up and she ran around
the building and half way down the drive way before my brother
caught her. I put her halter on and walked her back to the building.
After that my brother said she had to be tied when we cleaned the
stall. Joy always liked her independence, so when I started halter breaking her sometimes
she would try to run ahead. Then again sometimes she would do the opposite and would
plant her feet, then cross them, then roll her eyes back in her head, and fall over. Then I
would nudge her and she would get back up. Joy was really a joy to halter break and I
won Grand Champion showmanship with her at our 2010 fair.
Another one of my favorite things about the farm is having the fresh eggs, milk and
beef. I especially like homemade ice cream made from the milk, cream and eggs.
Sometimes in the spring we let out chicken set some eggs and hatch them. I have watched
a few chicks hatch and they are very cute even though they are all wet.
Of course a farm has a lot of smells too. I love the smell of fresh pine shavings in a
stall. I also love the fresh milk smell, the smell of the cows. I have been to a big city and I
would take the smell of the farm over the smell of big city any day!
A farm wouldn’t be the same without the work. Some of the chores are pleasant
(like brushing out the animals) and others are less so ( like cleaning out the cow pens).
Most of the work is hard, but I love the sense of accomplishment after I’ve done a job I
know is a job well done on the farm.

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