Where I come from

As those of you that follow this blog already know, I love many things that involve nature and agriculture. Looking back over my life, I completely understand where those passions come from. Today, I will share a little bit of insight into the environment that I grew up in and around.

My grandparents had a small dairy farm in a little town nicknamed Canaan. To those that don’t know the meaning, it’s defined as the “Land of Milk and Honey”. This little community is situation between two other small towns named Harford and Slaterville Springs. The whole area is rural. The closest city is Ithaca and it takes 15-20 minutes to drive there. I went to school in another small town called Dryden. Each community is very close knit and for generations has involved varying levels of agriculture. Dryden prides itself on being a farming community. To the extent of which, every year there is a parade to honor the dairy farms during June. June is Dairy Month to those that didn’t know.

It’s hard to explain how the whole community and surrounding towns pull together to get involved with the Dairy Day. From spectators to local businesses, the area schools to the local churches, farms and political figures. There are floats, young children involved in reading clubs dressed to storybook characters, dog groomers, the local bank with it’s traditional horse drawn carriage and so much more involved in the parade that rolls through down Main Street.  After the parade, everyone goes to the town park. There are livestock, games, country music bands, ice cream and of course milk. It’s a fun filled day and a wonderful community gathering.

This year was the 29th year it’s been going on. I went to take photos of the parade as part of my job and to do a favor for a friend. It’s like old home days. I haven’t been myself since around 2002. I saw so many people I haven’t seen in years, some close to two decades. Everyone still knows everyone. You walk two feet and run into someone else you know. You run into family members you haven’t seen in a year. You see retired school teachers, old classmates, and other staples in the community. Yes, life moves on but here in this little small town once you are part of the community, you are ALWAYS part of the community. It doesn’t matter where you go or where your travels may lead you, it doesn’t matter where you work or what you drive…you are a lifetime member! I love this town and it’s passion for agriculture.

Growing up in this community that is surrounded by agriculture, swaying corn and dairy farms, you can see what I have such a passion to tell the stories behind the fields of green. The stories I write are about my neighbors, friends and even family. This is the very center of why I love all things agriculture. Don’t get me wrong, I am obsessed with cattle but understand this…the diversity within agriculture is amazing. Think of all the things that agriculture provides for us. It’s not only the food we eat but the clothes we wear, the fuel we use and so much more. We, as a society in general, tend to forget where so much of our creature comforts and the foods we eat come from. I am humbled to say that I am thankful for the community where I was raised because it taught me to value the hard work and dedication that goes into the many things we love so much.

I might not be from the boondocks and I might have grown up in a very culturally diverse area but, I will always be from a small town dairy community that shows pride in the area and all the richness it has to offer. I am a small town country girl!  And as that one country song says, “I’m proud of where I come from.”

How about you? Are there things about your hometown that have made an impact on your life? If so, how much?

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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

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!