Friday, February 18, 2011

Goats are NEVER Boring!

I read an interesting article today in an agricultural publication. A farm wife was recounting her efforts -- and frustrations -- with using social media to promote agriculture. Her two main concerns were that farmers are simply too busy to be able to successfully incorporate social media and that most of the public would be bored by the day-to-day efforts of farming. It was a well-written piece and it definitely got me thinking . . .

As to her first assertion, I certainly agree. Farmers are incredibly busy! Any time spent working on social media takes a farmer away from his efforts in the barn or in the fields. While it is great fun to update the Harrison Farm Facebook page or write a new piece for this farm journal, it does take time. I do not have Internet at home, so I must venture out to the local library (Wagnalls Memorial, best library ever!) or one of my favorite coffee shops to use their wifi. The time I spend working on social media to promote agriculture is time that I am not actually working on my farm. This can be a roadblock for farmers, but it is exceedingly important that farmers make it a priority to tell our stories! We need to educate the public on why we do what we do & why we love it!

In regard to the second idea, I completely disagree! Any topic can be incredibly fascinating or ridiculously boring, depending on how it is portrayed! Beyond this, agriculture is amazingly intriguing! As a child, I can remember complaining to my mother that I was bored. Her response was that only boring people get bored. As I have matured, I have found this to be a remarkably true sentiment. Thus, here is a list of some of the amazing things I encounter in my daily life that could never be boring . . .

Being greeted at the door of the barn by two smiling & playful Pyrenees puppies! Sitting with them in the barn at the end of a long day while they tumble and play!

Watching baby goats -- just hours after their birth -- learn how to use their little legs to jump & play . . . and eventually mastering the game of "King of the Hill" on their mother's back! (Or a sheep or a rock or even a goatherd!)

Seeing the cow run in the field alongside joggers as they proceed down the road! What do these joggers think as she races them to the end of the pasture?!? Especially when she beats them!

Letting Jolie run in the north field when it lies fallow in the winter. The ground may be resting, but it is the perfect venue for my dog to stretch her legs like a greyhound.

Bringing the chickens leftovers and observing what they attack first . . . will it be cheese? rolls? maybe the delicious spanikopita?

Finding the first tender green shoots of daffodils poking through the ground after a long winter. Enjoying the visual of the goats grazing in the north field in the summer. Watching the trees turn color around the farm as fall arrives. Waking up to a beautiful winter snow that blankets the farm.

Smelling fresh hay in the barn, knowing this means the animals will be well-fed. Hauling grain in the Goatmobile, and smelling the lingering aroma of molasses afterwards. (This is far superior to the aroma left when I haul goats, or sheep, or a cow . . .)

Cracking eggs from my own chickens and noting how much bigger & more golden the yolks are than store-bought eggs! The joy of getting compliments from friends who use my eggs!

Spending time with my student assistants and watching them master new skills. Observing how responsibility makes them mature. Laughing about shared experiences & outlandish stories. Knowing that farm kids are amazing individuals who could change our world!

Going to the barn before the goats arise, and seeing them yawn at my presence -- quickly replaced by enthusiasm when they note buckets of grain!

Watching pigs run when they escape the barn! Yes, this is a huge hassle, but nothing is funnier than a running pig! Run, pig, run -- just not too far!

Butchering my own meat and cooking it. Making use of all parts of the animal by saving the internals for my dogs. Learning tricks for butchering from Mohamed Mohamed. Knowing that I am carrying on a legacy of self-suffiency from my ancestors. Laughing at myself for inadvertantly waving a knife & a goat leg at a bus full of elementary students!

Agonizing over how to best care for an ill animal. Rejoicing when they recover and flourish. Mourning when I lose one. Treasuring memories & being thankful for having had them at the farm.

Being privileged to witness the miracle of birth . . . there is nothing more humbling or more inspiring than seeing the efforts of the mother in labor and the joy of creation when a new baby is born. God is great!

These are just a few of the things that fill my days with interest. I would contend that farming could NEVER be boring! And if you think it is, please feel free to come visit my farm . . . I have a feeling those puppies will change your mind!

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