As a teenager, I considered myself a self proclaimed “Farm Girl“. Little did I know, what I thought made you a farm girl back then would be put to shame by what I know makes you a farm girl now.
Looking back I should’ve classified myself as a country girl. My grandfather farmed and my dad did as well until he started working off the farm when I was in grade school. My grandfather and uncle continued to farm. We moved to town and then back to the country when I was in fourth grade. As a child I remember being around cows but I didn’t work and interact with them on a daily basis. I remember driving my dads old ford pick up while he fed out of the back. I remember cows getting out and having to go with grandpa to go fix fence. I remember riding in the tractor with grandpa while he sang and drove along like there were no problems in the world. I remember driving our little three wheeler down the windrows of hay and grasshoppers plastering me. I spent endless hours catching frogs, fish and tadpoles. I was always outside and I honestly don’t remember watching much TV.
Fast forward 20 years and here I am, in awe of what made me think I could call myself a farm girl back then. The past 11 years has opened my eyes so wide when it comes to the Ag Industry. 11 years ago, I never would’ve guessed I would move away from my hometown. I never would’ve guessed I would be helping take care of 160 cow calf pairs and 21 heifers—driving a 36ft trailer and actually managing not to hit anything–running all over the country side picking up parts and moving equipment–wearing a ball cap and blue jeans everyday.
Kudos, to all those women out there who have worked on the farm from day one. Granted, if my dad kept farming I would’ve been right there with them. However, in some way God has brought me back to something that completes me.
This past fall, Seth took a job off the family farm and was working a little over an hour away from home. It was harvest. We had 100 cows calving, and it was crazy. It was crazy but awesome! Being out on the farm and caring for something that you have raised is such a rewarding feeling.
Granted, this has been one heck of a learning experience and it will continue to be the rest of my life. I wish I had a dollar for every phone call I made to Seth this fall when I was checking cows because I wasn’t sure what certain signs I needed to be looking for. Or if a calf looked off what the heck I was suppose to do. We lost 6 calves in just one group this fall. It was an awful feeling and I sometimes wonder if Seth had been there if we would’ve lost that many in that bunch. We lost two at the other place but both were stillborn and there wasn’t much I could’ve done. Its a live and learn lifestyle for sure.
Lately the kids and I have been feeding all cows for the most part on a daily basis. I love it. Kinze LOVES it.
Grady hates it—but he will come around. I’ve finally mastered feeding with the tractor and was getting in the groove. Then my dad let us borrow his truck which has a bale bed on it. I wouldn’t be lying if I said it looks like a circus has come to town when I am trying to feed with it. I’ve wasted more hay this winter then Seth probably has in the past five years. I am learning as I go, that’s for sure. You know its bad when your son tells your husband that mommy doesn’t know what shes doing.
The cows have become my girls. I have one group that hold a special place in my heart. It’s disheartening how society thinks that we as producers don’t take care of our stock and are only in it for the money. I’ll leave that story for a different day.
I guess what I am getting at is how lucky I am to be able to do what I love everyday. Granted, cow crapped covered boots and jeans, ball caps, and silage smelling truck interior is not every woman’s cup of tea—it is mine. I am so happy I have found that. I know there are many laughs to come. For instance the day I actually get to help work cattle (in 11 years of being with Seth I’ve literally barely helped twice- and maybe there are good reasons for that, lol). I could shout to the earth tops how much I love these cows–but I won’t. When others smell cow crap, I smell money. When others see a “poor mistreated” animal I see a cow and her calf that I see and feed and check on, on a daily basis. I am so proud of what we do. What we, in the Ag industry do.
I know I still have a long ways to go. I will constantly be learning. Granted I hope I own up to my mistakes and learn from them. I hope I can bust fewer bales while transporting them. Become more efficient at raking hay. Speed up my time it takes to load 7 bales on the dump trailer ( I swear a 5 year old could do it faster). Feel more confident when speaking to others about our operation.
I will be the first to tell you I have no clue what I am doing when it comes to cattle. It embarrasses me that I’ve been around cows the past 11 years and only in the last couple have I become fully involved. What counts though, is now I have been given the opportunity to help–to learn by doing–to be a part of something I truly love. Granted I know only a smidgen of what I hope to learn over the years to come.
So 20 year ago was I a farm girl–HECK no! A country girl yes. Can I say that on the last day of February in 2017 that I am farm girl– HECK yes and I am PROUD of it. Hard work–dirty work–rewarding work has brought me so much happiness. I am a proud FarmHER and RanchHER. I have a long ways to go. In 20 years I can look back and laugh at all my rookie mistakes—heck even write a book, simply because there are so many.
So right now what seems to be a chaotic crazy cow woman can hopefully transform into a confident advocating cattle-woman. So stay tuned for my mistakes on this crazy roller coaster ride that these ladies are about to put me on……….