Being Me

Part of what makes being me is my individuality when it comes to cattle. I love cows. It doesn’t matter what breed…although I do prefer those brown-eyed Bambi cows called Jerseys! I have a special connection with cattle. I can almost feel their pain when they are sick or injured. I just connect on a different level. Maybe it’s because I love them, like others love their dog. They are my passion.

As the saying goes on good old Lady Liberty says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” I will give them care, food and pastures to graze. Uh, isn’t that kind of funny…a New Yorker referring to Lady Liberty and comparing it to cattle. Only in New York 🙂

I think I crazily just picked a farm name for when I get started on my own. Crazy isn’t it? The odd things that come to us sometimes….

Cattle have actually been my saving grace, not the other way around. They have pulled me up from the depths of depression and overwhelming sadness that I was struggling with when I got my first little bull calf. He forced me to get out of bed every morning to care for him. He needed food and water. He got lots of attention and was a spoiled snot.

My first steer

I call him my segway animal. He is the one that got me started into this passion for cattle. Then along came Belle, aka Ma, as a rescue cow. I remember crying with her in the pasture as I watched her protecting her calf in the grass. Maybe it was the maternal instinct in both of us that caused such an intense connection. I’m honestly not sure but I know I made a promise to her to love her and care for her the way she cared for her own child.

A peaceful bliss on her face. The look of an angel in contentment.

A peaceful bliss on her face. The look of an angel in contentment.

I watched her develop her motherly instincts and become the graceful “lady” I knew in my heart she was all along. She made me see exactly what I should do in life. Cattle in need are my real passion. Working with animals with a loving nature and attitude is the most rewarding job I have ever held. Belle is the perfect demonstration of that love and compassion.

Belle, the mother to many and the real reason she is nicknamed “Ma”

The passions have grown, the research into better methods have continued and I am a forever changed person because of the cattle. It is amazing to see the progress that has been made and how special my relationship is with the animals. I absolutely adore them all. They have shown me…well, ME. Through patience, tenderness and love for cattle, I have seen a side of myself that I never thought possible. A calm, dedicated individual who would bend over backwards to provide the same quality of life for my cattle as I would my family and devoted friends. A few have called me crazy and I admit I am but there is nothing in the world like having cattle trust you so much they enjoy your company…maybe even share a “kiss” or two.

Calf kisses just happen to be the best!

Calf kisses just happen to be the best!

Celebrate Living, Not Life

Sounds strange doesn’t it? To celebrate living, not life. It isn’t something you will probably hear many people say but I’m saying it anyway. We are all here at this time for a purpose: to live. But is it life or is it living? Can you tell the difference between the two?

Life is what happens when we developed a heartbeat, were born into this world and took our first breaths. Our journey through life is how we are living. It’s the adventures, missteps, trials and tribulations of living that make up our life.

I want to be LIVING my life for purpose, for passion, for love. I don’t want a life full of possessions and dead-end relationships.

My purpose is my passion and ultimately what I love. It might not always include a “partner” beside me but it is all me. It’s mine. It’s what makes me unique.

Why do I bring this random topic up? I bring it up because today is an anniversary that I wish I could never have seen. Sixteen years ago today, many of us in this community lost a friend. His short life was filled with living, doing the things he loved to do and having a blast while doing them. He was taken way before he should have been. I know I think of him often and how he was in life. He knew to take advantage of each new day, to constantly be living!

I don’t want a mundane life. I want to be living my dreams, living my goals, living without fear, living through my work and definitely living my passions. What are those “things” that make my life worth living? Photography is the first thing that comes to mind. Capturing those moments, those times that nature provides us with that are often missed by the naked eye. The moments when the sun rays shine just right through the leaves on a tree or reflect on the water. Cattle is the second thing that automatically comes to mind. I love the trust they share with me. They provide me with a therapy where nervousness and fear isn’t allowed. They don’t care how I dress, what makeup I wear or even if I comb my hair. They just are, I just am and they accept that. I’m still developing my dreams, my goals and my passions. I’ll figure it all out someday.

Until then, I am going to keep on living by trying new experiences and capturing those images that “speak” to me. Keep an eye out for me though…I might be that crazy lady you see laying out in a pasture surrounded by cattle somewhere!

Even the cattle often think I’m a little crazy. Sometimes it’s all about the perspective!

Nature Walk

I took some time to go relax with a couple of my best friends in the whole wide world! These girls have supported me through all the rough patches, made me feel special and extraordinary. I love them both more than I can ever express.

We went to Lucifer Falls…which horribly didn’t have the trails open to get to. That didn’t stop us from walking around, looking at “things” that nature provides us. Stop and think of this. Two polar opposites of water and rock. When separate, there is nothing really special about them…but together they create magnificence. They work against each other to create something so beautiful, it takes our breath away.

Falling Water

As the water flowsButtermilk Falls

 

It’s all a matter of perspective and how we view the world. A world that is always flowing and ever changing. It’s all about change, beautification and alteration. Never settle for just being a stone, celebrate each drop of water life hands to us and continue to create your own beauty.

Just like spring…out with the old, in with the new. The nutrients of what is dead and gone is now the life of the new. CELEBRATE LIFE!

Renewal

 

 

Pasture Time

Part of my passion in life involves cattle. There is just something about them that speaks to the very essence of what makes me who I am.

Many people look at cows and just see another animal, one that is going to used for milk or meat. To me, I see a living breathing animal with a sacred purpose. That purpose is to provide us with food. I also have a purpose when it comes to cattle, especially those I work with. My purpose is to give them the greatest of care and the best of my heart. I am a firm believer in providing cattle with the best. The best food, shelter and care, along with the best attention.

I treat cattle like this for a variety of reasons. I will talk to you a little bit about “the herd” I currently work with.

Belle came to my care nearly four years ago. I will never forget the day the truck brought her to me. She was extremely thin. She had two calves nursing on her too. I remember sitting down in the pasture with her the first hour or so with tears streaming from my eyes as I watched her lovingly care for the two calves. I could almost see the look in her eyes as she tried to determine if the whole new area was real and not a dream. I fell in love with her…hard! Right there sitting in the pasture, I knew exactly what I was meant to do.

This is what Belle looked liked when she was unloaded from the cattle hauler

This is what Belle looked liked when she was unloaded from the cattle hauler

This is Belle after three years in my care.

This is Belle after three years in my care.

My passion with cattle is to care. I love the hands on process of what I do with cattle. I have recently been told that I am much like a cattle nurse, aka the Clara Barton of cattle. I have treated animals for hypothermia, going without sleep to change out heat blankets every half hour. I have gone without sleep to care for animals with bloat, pneumonia, dehydration, scours and much more. I have taken in sick animals and rehabilitated a high percentage of them.

I have lost a couple over the years, it’s part of life unfortunately. But I put my heart into every step of trying to save them. I have taken in animals from the auction barn that couldn’t stand or even walk. I have cared for them and am now watching them grow into healthy animals.

The cattle have helped me too. After dealing with a loss in my life that I didn’t think I would really ever be able to overcome, the cattle have given me a sense of fulfillment. The make my life tolerable. They are my “therapy”. I’ve had many people tell me that I am a completely different person when I get around cattle. My normal hyperactivity pacing stops, my heart rate slows and all my stresses seem to fall off my shoulders. They keep me going.

Pasture time is therapy. The cattle have brought a smile to my face, made me laugh with their “antics” and just make my world a much better place. Cattle are magic for me. They are everything that my life represents. Abused or sick, they trust others to care for them when they are in need. When they feel good, they have no problems kicking up their hooves and racing around the paddocks. They don’t care where they sleep, so long as it’s dry, warm and comfortable.

When I get down, upset or over emotional, I go outside to the pastures. I did just that on Saturday. Here are just a few images captured.

Sir (the black one in front) snoring soundly and drooling all over himself.

Sir (the black one in front) snoring soundly and drooling all over himself.

My youngest heifer and shy girl Charity

My youngest heifer and shy girl Charity

This tiny little guy was a HUGE hit with the curious cattle

This tiny little guy was a HUGE hit with the curious cattle

Spring Eternal

With all the bad news the media is reporting. It’s important for me to kick back and remember the little things in life. Nature provides us with great examples of renewal, especially in areas that have been covered in snow all winter.

Spring is eternal. It’s nature’s way of showing us that no matter how cold or frozen life has gotten, it always renews with a little bit of light and sunshine, warmth and a brush of Mother Nature’s kindness. I associate the simplicity of the cycles of nature with my life right now. I am on the edge of my very own “spring revival”. I am still growing and I can feel the buds of great things right on the edge of the horizon.

I live life always searching for images that capture my emotions. Images that make me feel a peace in my soul that I haven’t been able to “touch” in another way yet. Photography isn’t about a subject to me, it’s about the moment, the color and vibrancy, the “life” within the subject. It doesn’t matter if it’s at a garden or a track…It’s just how I see the world. Small bits and pieces that gather to create this beautiful thing we call life.

Here are a few images I took today that speak of “Spring in Bloom”. I hope you enjoy!

Crocus, always the first to break through the cold brown ground to share it's beauty

Crocus, always the first to break through the cold brown ground to share it’s beauty

Tiny little buds

Tiny little buds

Daffodils

Daffodils

 

 

A New Day

Sometimes things change. Sometimes you change. As with everything in life, experiences have the effect of change on how we act, interact, and they alter our goals for what we want in the future.

Well, my goals have changed. DRASTICALLY AND DRAMATICALLY!

To those of you that don’t know, for the past 8-9 years I have been working over at Barrows Farm. I am currently working on transitioning out of the farm and into the future. Do I know what the future will hold………NOPE. I don’t.

Here is what I do know:

I am a passionate and avid caregiver to cattle. I have a tender heart and a kind touch to those that need a little extra loving care. Think of me as a cattle nurse.

I am a passionate photographer about all things nature, cattle and ALL THINGS THAT RUN ON DIESEL.

I am highly artistic and love to see the simple beauty of the world that shines through within a few strokes of a pencil.

I am a writer who expresses my passion of what I see through words.

I am a country girl. I like to fish, hunt, shoot guns and sling mud. I drive trucks, four wheelers and tractors.

I love to cook with all things farm fresh.

Did I mention I love cattle?

 

These decisions to move away from what you know are difficult. It’s hard to walk away from something that you had big visions for. In the end, sometimes you just need to do what you feel you must do. When you are involved in a relationship with a spouse, business partner, friends, whatever and you aren’t headed along the same paths you need to assess the situation and determine what is the best course of action.

I know I will be okay, no matter where the road may lead me. After all, I am a survivor.

I have survived:

Sexual Abuse

Physical Abuse

Emotional and Mental Abuse

A Car Accident that almost killed me

and I daily survive and struggle through my own personal battle with Multiple Sclerosis.

I am stronger and more determined now than ever to make some of my dreams come true. I have always lived my life doing for others instead of myself. NOW is the time for me to stop letting others hold me back from achieving those dreams.

I will be spending an entire season doing something that I never thought I would have the opportunity to do. I will be travelling around the country photography tractor pulls and truck pulls. To me, it’s the epitome of all things important to me. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for a person who is 100% self-taught. I never thought I would get the chance to be associated with these circuits. To me, there is nothing better than diesel smoke and the rev of the engines. It sends goosebumps down my spine and when the tractors come roaring down the track it’s an adrenaline rush I can’t even begin to describe.

I have been offered a job as a “Special Needs Manager” on a large dairy too. To be honest, I didn’t even know there was such a position. The farm that offered expressed that my passion and dedication to sick, injured and unhealthy animals sets me apart from most. Who would have thought that farms needed specialized people for animals who have medical needs? Not me…so as I said above, I think of myself as a cattle nurse when it comes to this type of thing. Kind of cool, huh?

Do I know what tomorrow holds for me? No, I don’t. In the meantime, I am going to live a dream. I’ll be clicking photos at a track, farm or outdoors somewhere.

I’ll be posting blog posts to share my adventures, struggles and trials as time goes on. I have made a lot of friends over the years and I am thankful to have each and everyone of them as inspiration and support.. Without y’all I wouldn’t have the courage to make this huge transition forward.

If anyone wants to share stories about big transitions they have made in life, please do!