A Day in the Life of our small Family Farm
October 1, 2019
By Farmer Mike
“Dad, isn’t it easier to just buy our meat at the store?”
When you hear this question after a long day of doing farm chores, fixing fences, raking out the barn, filling feed bins and the myriad of other things a day in the life of a farmer does, it makes you stop in your tracks and say, Yeah, why don’t we? But as quick as that thought runs through your head, it disappears, because you know why…and it’s a very, very long list.
I can’t tell you how many times I have walked down to my barn early in the morning and listened to the birds chirping, or stopped dead in my path to look at the beautiful sunrise, or felt the joy and excitement of seeing a new lamb that was born during the night. The peace of God’s presence is surely found in those moments early in the morning as all things come to life. Yes, I know why.
I remember getting our first cow for $100 from the local dairy “just to see how it goes” and now, several years later, we have our own herd of Belted Galloway beef cattle. Watching the herd graze, together, on fresh pasture, is such joy. Fresh air, green grass, all natural… yes, I know why.
Our pastures used to be soybean and corn fields before we bought the farm, now, over time, and by “simply” using rotational grazing methods for our cattle, sheep and chickens, the native grasses (and weeds) are growing and doing well. No sprays. No chemicals. Just nature taking its course with the help of the livestock and their God given ways of restoring the earth. I didn’t realize the damage that has been caused to our land with sprays and chemicals (which were basically sucking the life out of our soils), until I started raising livestock and experienced firsthand the regenerative power of rotational grazing. We can talk about pastured poultry and its power on the land another time…simply amazing. I know and have seen why.
I wasn’t sure if she would make it, but after some treatments and tube feeding, she seems to be doing much better. I can’t say how impressed I am with the love and attachment a mother cow has for her calf. Momma kept watch day and night, patiently waiting by her calf, urging her to nurse…and to heal. Why did I ever ask why?
Being a farmer isn’t easy, it has lots and lots of obstacles, but it also offers us the unique opportunity to truly experience life and the great gifts that a farm has to offer. Yes, I could simply go to the store and buy some hamburger and a few steaks, but then I would have no connection to it, no impact on how it was raised, nor seen firsthand the value it added to restoring our land. I wouldn’t know what it was fed or how it was processed. I really wouldn’t know what my kids were eating because I had no connection to it. The more I farm, and the more I learn…and see…then the more I know and understand why.