John’s Farm News: 2nd Edition, February 11, 2021
Yesterday the farm was breezy, foggy, and frigid with extremely slow, cautious movement; today weather predictions brought about wrapped pipes, stocked groceries, filled tanks, positioned bales, fueled tractors, and more in an effort to be prepared, keeping family and farm safe. By mid-day my restless soul needed what farm-life can provide – calm before the storm. Out-the-door and down-the-road I went. Just a mile from the house I noticed a red-tailed hawk; in ancient legend the red tailed hawk indicated “that you should clear your mind.”
Arriving at the pasture, home to the black Angus herd, I was greeted by some of the most peaceful beauty winter has to offer.
Years ago a pasture gate was replaced by a cattle guard (a metal grid covering a ditch, allowing vehicles to pass over while prohibiting cattle the same); “times past are frozen” I thought to myself as I drove alongside an old fence post with steel lever still attached.
In season, undesirable plants and bushes, (weeds), grow along the pasture trail. Today they are stiff, still, silent, and stunning.
Remember yesterday I shared the importance of breaking ice? This cow was taking advantage of the efforts of the farmer as she slurped loudly along the ponds edge.
The stock tank had a thick layer of ice this morning so John chopped a hole, tossed the ice bergs over-board, and created a watering cavity.
Further into the pasture this mamma and her youngster caught my attention. I may have doubted livestock maternal instinct before but now I’m a believer. Even when I drove close, this cow stood strong and stern over her baby; she’s a 3-n-1: calf maker, wind breaker, care taker.
Up ahead the rest of the herd were gathered on a flat parcel, sheltered from the light breeze by rolling hills and surrounded by quiet, picturesque, trees laden with frozen frost. This is the pasture John walked through yesterday heading a cow and her newborn to the corral because the calf was failing in nursing instinct. When John came home last evening I asked if he needed to sit by the fire to get warm. He smiled and said, “I didn’t get terribly cold but my hands are sure tired. It’s been years since I milked a cow.”
It seems John had just completed the first session of Nursing 101 which consisted of milking mamma cow, placing the milk in a bottle, straddling the little fella, and holding the bottle for him to suck. Session 2, held this afternoon, noted improvement; a few more lessons and John’s Farm may be hosting a graduation celebration!
Nature, history, tranquility, harmony, and beauty – I just needed to let go of anxiety and embrace all of this and more on John’s Farm.