Here on our farm, we always say “Good or bad, things come in threes”. Well, here are my three:
A couple of days ago I got a phone call. It was our local Human Society and they told me that they received a report that my two horses were being blindfolded. I told them they were welcome to come out, because the blindfolds on my horses were actually fly masks to keep flies off their faces and ears! The Human Society said they understood and felt no need to investigate any further. I feel lucky they believed me and it didn’t cause any serious harm.
Then yesterday, a couple drove in our driveway. My sons were hauling hay bales, I was mowing our lawn, and my husband was mowing pastures. They asked to speak to my husband, so I pointed in his direction and kept on mowing. It turned out it was the granddaughter of a man who used to deer hunt on our land. She remembered coming out with him as a little girl and wanted to know if she and her boyfriend could go back and she could show him where she used sit up in a tree. My husband said it was okay, he trusted them as her grandfather hunted here for over 30 years.
About an hour later, our sons came back and said they could see where this couple had driven through our corn field, through the oats and up into the hay field. Instead of parking their truck and walking, they just drove through our fields, knocking down the corn, smashing the oats down, and tearing up our hay field!
The final blow came today. We are having our house pressure washed and painted. The man doing the work brought along his 12 year old son. The man said he remembered being on his grandfather’s farm years ago and how fun it was. The 12 year old boy said “I hate farms, they stink, and this one is no different”.
I said “Well, when you have animals, there is going to be manure, and with manure comes an odor”.
He said “Doesn’t matter, it still stinks and I would hate to have to live on a farm.
Ok, that’s it! I grabbed his hand, told his dad we’d be back after a short lesson. I did this with my own kids many times for fun, and I drug him off through the cow pasture, cow pies and all! We walked down the pasture to the bottom and I sat him down and asked him what he could hear. He said nothing, of course, and I said “Listen, your mouth makes all the noise, close your eyes, use your ears and listen”.
He said he could hear the wind as it was a windy day. I said listen again, hear more. He said I hear a bird, I said that’s a red-winged black bird and it’s sounding a warning call that we’re down in his territory. I said listen again, he said I hear another bird, a different one. I said, that’s a killdeer and the parent is calling to us to follow it away from it’s babies to protect them. He said, I know, listen again, and we played this game for about 30 minutes, we heard finches, song sparrows, cows, machinery, and trees. Then I said to use his eyes, look at the bluebird in the birdhouse, see the parents coming and going, feeding their babies. See the hawk flying overhead looking for a meal, look at the clouds in the sky, what are the shapes. This poor kid endured me for about an hour. As we walked up through the pasture he said “I think living on a farm would be cool, there’s so much to do and see”. I asked him about the “terrible odor”, and he replied that maybe he was being a little dramatic and asked if I would take him again when he comes out next week while his dad paints. I said I would love to and that I had other places to show him next time. This is the lesson, this is why we love to farm, love the land, love the animals, and yes, love the manure!