Flip Flop Farmer
Here on the farm we currently have our milking cows, our heifer & dry group, and the pigs that get rotated through pastures. Moving the animals from one paddock to the next can be very labor intensive. You set up the next fence, move the animals to the new area, and take down the previous fence. It may not sound like much but when moving animals that have minds of their own it can be a challenge.
Dakota handles moving the animals and I stand ready to help if things go wacky. Today was one of those days when things went wacky. Dakota had milked, I was getting the kids around and the time came to move the pigs (which with 8 small pigs it became a family affair). There was about a 10 yard space between the two fences, Dakota led them by carrying their bucket and the two older boys and myself stood along the edges as a barrier just in case. Everything went well and the pigs were moved to new pasture successfully. One move down, one to go. Time to move the heifer & dry group; Dakota and Memphis (7) our oldest went up to move the heifers. They had been gone for a bit when my phone rang; the screen said Dakota,and automatically I assumed that they needed help with the herd. Instead I got to witness Memphis giving his dad a break (and ride). He was driving the tractor on his own. As stood there in my flip flops getting a video of this awesome moment I looked up to see the entire dry herd running down the path. I motioned to Dakota and ran down to shut the gate at the end of the roadway.
Another family bonding moment on its way. Dakota started to walk them back up the hill and I threw on my boots and loaded the kids in the Durango. We pushed them back up the hill, while Dakota ran through the pastures to head them off at any gates that they may try to get through. After we got them up on hill Dakota went to fix where they had got out and Memphis and I pushed them up the fence line to get them into the paddock they were supposed to be in. At a certain point I had to get in front of the herd to stop them from continuing straight up the hill. At that point, moving them was all on Memphis. I stood at the crest of the hill watching him weave his way back and forth making sure they were all in front of him and listening to his little voice sound so grown as he shouted “hey!” (I think). One can never tell exactly what a farmer is saying to his cows to move them. Standing there in that moment I felt a feeling that is hard to describe, I was sad for him as I am sure it wasn’t something he loved to do; I was thankful because it was definitely something that I couldn’t have done alone, and I was proud. I was proud that even though it was hot, hard work, not fun, and he was seven. He did it!
Through all those moments I was able to take a second to pull on my boots and head out for the task at hand. With my fears of not getting out the door to help in time’ getting my boots on tends to be an anxiety triggering moment. That being said there are times when I don’t take the time to grab my boots.
That same afternoon I looked out to see a few cows in the barnyard and I couldn’t see any in the pasture. They were all in the barn. I headed for the barn to get them out. I got to the barn and started pushing the cows to the door, on the way someone decided to sh*t and I felt something wet on my toes. I looked down to be reminded I was farming in my flip flops.