The following post is written by contributor, Jill from Crooked Lake Farm. Jill shares stories of the real side of farming and life on a farm. To read more, follow her on her blog and engage with her on Twitter.
Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.” -Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa
Some days, farming isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s hard. It’s emotionally challenging and stressful.
Part of trying to be translucent about what we do on our farm, I want to share some of our more trying times. When I started posting to #Farm365 a few months ago, I came under attack by others who didn’t feel what farmers are doing is right. But what these others don’t see is the trying times we face.
Carry on as a farmer
There are times where I don’t know what to do. Which with the cows, usually results in a phone call to the vet. Sometimes the phone call turns into a trip to the veterinarian, only to find out there is nothing you can do. Give the animal some pain medication, keep it comfortable, and wait and see. But the waiting game is hard. I don’t like the animals in pain, much less not being able to do anything for them other than wait, but sometimes that is what we are given.
Calving season delivers it’s own “punches”
These trying times are not just occasionally, they are quite often. Some of these times are when dealing with sick or frail calves. More than once, I’ve stayed up all night tending to a frail calf, feeding him with a stomach tube, hoping I could save him only to have the calf die in in arms at 5 am. Times like that I swear I’m done farming when I go to bed, only to wake up two hours later and get right back out there and do it all over again. There’s many times I’ve gone to to check the cows for signs of calving and not seeing any, I decided to wait a few hours and coming out to finding a dead calf. It becomes very disheartening because a life is lost. I don’t know how many times I’ve sat on the bedpack with the cows and had a good cry over a dead calf.
Other trying times I’ve faced while calving, I really don’t want to write about—helping perform a fetotomy on a calf. These activists don’t think we care about our animals, that we are only worried about the bottom dollar. The day we had to have to vet out for a fetotomy, the calf was already dead, and if we left the heifer try to have it naturally, we would of lost her too.
Mother nature often delivers these “blows.”
Relentless snow, wind and cold during calving season. Too much or too little rain with our crops. Hail that wipes out entire quarters.
Even with grain farming we have our trying times that we just have to dust ourselves off and keep going. We have had gorgeous crops be wiped out by hail. Grain trucks rejected at the elevator because bugs got into the grain. A grain truck catch on fire in the field, trying to save what was yet to be combined.
Farming has no sick days.
This past winter I was going through some trying times in my life, personally. There were days I didn’t want to get out of bed, but I knew the animals needed me and I had to. Farming is not like a regular 9 to 5 job, it is year round, all day, and all night on call. Even the other day when I wasn’t feeling good and had a touch of the stomach bug, I was out feeding cows.
Some days farming is a series of trials, tribulations and sorrows; hidden amongst the joys and successes. This is the job and life we have chosen and if you asked a farmer, he or she wouldn’t have it any other way.
This video produced for Earth Day by FarmOn clearly sums up “Carrying On” when farming. Our daily chores may not be glamorous. We may feel like every day we get the proverbial “shit end of the stick.” We were born to live this life, it’s the life we were given, and when asked, I know I wouldn’t want it any other way!
The FarmOn Foundation was formed by a group of young agricultural enthusiasts, from rural Alberta, determined to see the industry thrive and become tangible for new farmers looking to be a part of it. – See more at: http://farmon.com/pages/about.aspx