If you’ve been reading my column for awhile you know that although I have 11 animals and 2 fish in my jurisdiction, I still don’t consider myself to be an animal person. The older I get, the more I realize that there are things in life that if one is not exposed to them as a child, it is quite difficult to get accustomed to them as an adult. I wasn’t very adventurous as a child. I’ve never been a risk taker. I was afraid of dogs until I got one when I was 22. I admit it, I was a pretty sheltered young lady. But thanks to the farmer-hubby, I’ve backpacked to 13,000 feet in Wyoming, killed snakes, raised a calf from a bottle and eventually milked her, and learned that most noises in the night are just that-noises. I’ve come a long way, baby.
I still have a few things on my list of what I’d like to be able to do independently. Not for my own glory, but to help out the farmer. I’m usually content to stay inside and tend to the youngens. But I’ve learned that helping out with the little things can save him a lot of time and free him up to do other more important and difficult things that I have absolutely no business learning how to do. These are the days of planting on the farm. These are long days for the farmers. In order for us to have milk in the morning, Bittersweet cannot spend the night with his Mama. I know the last thing farmer-hubby wants to do when he gets home is feed and wrangle the animals into their respected pens for the night. But he’s the one who has to do it because it involves trickery and deceit and you have to be inside the pen with all the livestock in order to accomplish the task. You can probably imagine how I feel about all that.
Last night was going to be an especially late night for the farmer, so I said to myself, “Self? What’s a good lookin’ person like yourself doin’ in a place like this?” Ok, that isn’t what I really said, but my Grandfather used to say that all the time and everyone thought it was funny. What I really said to myself was, “Self? Why can’t you try to separate the animals tonight? All it involves is food and a little luck. You’ve watched the farmer do it for 3 months. Now go out there and just do it.” Well I went out there alright. And lady luck was not on my side. That rascal of a calf wouldn’t leave his Mamma’s side, the goats tried to steal the food from me before I could get it to their bowl, and the Mama cow ate her ration before I even began to separate anyone. The farmer makes it look so easy. I made it look so hard. If my 7 year old daughter had still been awake, I would have been able to do it. Well, she would have been able to do it. I would have simply supervised and slammed the gate when she said so. But alas, I had to send the text to the farmer that said, “I tried to separate the animals. Failed. Sorry.” And his reply, “Thanks for trying.” He was probably chuckling to himself envisioning me out there.
I am not quick, I am not wise to the ways of working animals. I don’t know that I ever will be, either. I am awkward and fearful and overall out of place in that pen. But I try! I try to overcome the awkwardness. I haven’t given up…tonight is yet another opportunity to add a new trick to my bag.