No lie, farming is stressful and so are kids. But, sometimes it is the perfect storm. Farming has always just been a part of me. Growing up in a small farming family and starting my career in agriculture at 14 with my first job on an organic dairy farm. Farming is humbling and builds a heck of a work ethic. I used to ride my bike to and from work everyday when I started working at the organic dairy. I learned a crazy amount about the practices that they used and eventually morphed that into my own life. As all things go though I eventually moved on to a larger conventional dairy farm and stayed with them until moving up to the Bowler area where my husband and I began our journey into dairy farming. To eventually shifting gears, selling the milk cows and moving on to what we currently have today. And raise a handful of kids in the middle of it all.
Now, neither of them have the responsibility or discipline that comes with milking cows everyday but if I were them they sure are living the good life. Farming gives kids all the ups and downs with this lifestyle. From having to take up chores when I’m in school or having to help a ewe deliver her lambs. It has its down side though as farming does in a way harden one to loss. Death is part of raising animals and sometimes though it’s expected such as when certain animals leave for the processor or head off to freezer camp on butcher day here at home. Other times it is unexpected and sad, such as the loss of a calf or lamb. Farming also teaches us when it’s time to let go and let death be it’s part in our world when an animals quality of life is no longer comfortable. But, even with all that, spring comes around again and their world is filled with new life. Ducklings, chicks, goat kids and bouncing lambs in spring pastures is a joy that a lot of children don’t get to see.
It also shows them just where our food comes from and the effort it takes to get there. Either by the garden or by growing out market lambs and meat chickens. The world they live in outside of the farm is so much removed from agriculture that I just hope I’m molding them into strong advocates for the agriculture industry and even more so sustainable regenerative agriculture. To them right now, moving fences and caring for the animals is all fun and a treat but really they are learning and growing into a world that’s slowly fading. It is a lot of work but I’ve witnessed many days of them running their pony full tilt over jumps and through puddles or tearing around on the atv. Those are memories they will never forget and hopefully never really loose that free spirited nature. Though, I will admit it makes it hard to turn them into domesticated housewives and they should come with a warning for their eventual significant other.
All things a side, growing up in farming is, in my opinion, one of the best things I can give my children. Maybe it is just because that’s the way I was raised but it’s taking me quite a few places, built me a huge network of people and still managed to keep me humbled. Though my house may not be spotless, my garden is fruitful and everyone is fed and safe. I’m going to keep being forever feral and raise my daughters to be the same.
Hi, I am Mandy Onesti originally the author/blogger of Ponytails and Cow Trails. Which I had started to bring people closer to the life on the homestead. Running two websites, a house full of kids and a small farm, made me decide to conjoin my websites. I have a lifelong background in Agriculture and have worked on everything from rotational grazing organic farms to large scale dairy farms. I now run a small herd of beef cattle and strive for a sustainable lifestyle. Thank you for joining me.