I decided this spring that I needed more animals in my life. I’ve had livestock since I can remember, and I understand that they are a lot of work. Working in the cold rain or baking sun, healing wounds, nursing when they get sick. Winter chores are even worse, making sure that livestock are kept warm and dry, all while managing to feed and keep water in a liquid state in three feet of snow and below zero temps. Then there’s fencing, which is the matter of keeping critters contained within a specified area, most of which is for their own benefit and safety. Of course, that last part always seems to be lost on them, since their idea of a good time usually involves escaping from said area.
Nevertheless, I felt the desire to have livestock again. It’s a feeling that is very difficult to explain to most people. Just why would a person put themselves through the bother and pain and potential heartbreak of raising their own animals when you so easily can get what you need from the store? There are a few reasons.
For some, and there’s a growing number of us, it is a desire to know where your food is coming from. To know just what you are consuming on a basic level. When a person walks into a grocery store and picks up a package of ground beef or chicken wings, there is no way of telling if it even came from the United States, much less what additives may have been injected. Now, I like a good mystery on my tv as much as anybody, but not so much on the food I bring home to my family.
There is another reason for me to raise my own livestock, and may be the hardest to understand. For me it fulfills a basic need. To get up and do chores every day, it’s part of who I am. To make it my job to see to it that my animals have a happy, healthy, life every single day brings ME happiness. To watch newborn baby pigs find their mom and have their first meal, and listen to them all grunt contentedly. To see calves turned out to pasture for the first time and watch them kick up their heels and dash around like mad. To see lambs resting in the field chewing cud after grazing happily for hours. Those things all b
ring me fulfillment.
It is important to note, my father is the exact same way, and it is likely that I get this part of my personality from him. In fact, it may be relevant to mention that he and I are quite alike in MANY ways. I imagine this is a bit of a chagrin to Mom. To be clear, Mom is just as instrumental in this project. Not only are we are lucky she’s such a good sport and quite tolerant to our animal shenanigans, but Mom is often the ‘adult supervision’ in any given situation. (Insert rueful apologetic shrug here)
That being said, I finally circle back to the reason behind my little story. I am now the co-owner (with Dad) of seven fluffy little lambs. This Wooly Chronicle is the story of our foray into raising the four-legged lawnmowers known as sheep. Who knows how successful it will be. With animals, it’s always a gamble. There’s always the chance we will lose our shirts. But this also could be a win for us. To be sure, there will be ups and downs, and adventures a plenty. But we will learn as we go, and see where this takes us. I think a farm name would be a good start, don’t you? How does ‘Peas in a Pod Farm’ sound?