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The Hard Things No one Wants to Talk About

I grew up on a farm. And one of the things that inevitable goes along with farming is sick livestock.

Despite our best efforts, things happen. Maybe an animal was weaker to begin with.. Maybe it had a disease from birth. Nature is, arguably, cruel, where only the strongest and fastest and best will make it.

Because of my experience growing up on a farm, I tend to have no problem talking about death. We talk about it with our own children all the time too.

But that does not mean we are hardhearted farmers. I'd argue that farmers tend to have great respect for the circle of life, knowing that, as all life starts, so it also must end.

Still, knowing this does not make the losses any easier. Of course, as with any loss, there is the financial implications. Most farmers are not rolling in money. But I have found the psychological loss to be just as huge. That feeling of the 'waste' of a perfectly good animal. Knowing that you tried your best, exhausted your options and still lose an animal can be a real gut punch.

We are not God - we do not hold life and death in our hands. Yet sometimes as farmers we are asked to make the decision - Has this animal suffered enough? Is it time to let it go? Those are hard decisions!

It's easy to become disenchanted with all the hard parts of farming. It's easy to become overwhelmed because there is always something that needs doing and very days off.

But, if it's hard to put the tough parts of farming into words, oh my it is just as hard to put the beautiful parts into words too!

In the evenings we go do chores together as a family in our trusty black Water Wagon. After we've fed and moved the meat chickens, fed and watered the pigs, fed and watered the chicks, we move over to the field where the cattle are.

This is our real paradise. The sun streams across the meadow, birds sing, insects buzz, flowers and grasses wave in the slight breeze. Jesse moves the cattle to a new paddock with fresh grass and all that can be heard is the crunch, slurp! of cattle eating grass. It's a very distinctive sound and so therapeutic.

I kneel down beside our milk cow and handmilk her right there in the field with all the waving grasses and the sound of grazing cattle. Nothing tastes so good as the milk, meat and eggs we've raised on our own farm, with our own sweat and yes, tears.

It's like our own sanctuary, with Malakai waving and babbling in his daddy's arms, the girls running and picking wildflowers, the dog romping and guarding us all. I wish you could see it!

I look at Jesse and I know he feels the same way. This is why we do what we do. It DOES matter!

It's in this way we get to play a small part in feeding our community with well raised products that you can feel good about eating. We can share the fruits of our labours and you can experience the joy of eating well raised products. I know we all want to feed our families well and we hope to take some of the struggle out of that for you!

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