It's about family

Moving Animals

On the farm March 6, 2022

Once a day, once a week, or once a month.  It’s an event to be marked, especially when performed with family members. Moving animals.

Reading the moods ahead of time doesn’t seem to matter, as you know, dispositions are likely to change on a dime.

It is nearly impossible to anticipate all of the loopholes that an animal or herd of animals will find.  Some days it’s like a well-orchestrated symphony, humans, and animals moving like one.  Most days it is not the case.  Similar to listening to young musicians warming up on their first day of music lessons it is unorganized chaos.   

With every wrong movement of an animal, we resort back to being 10, when name-calling and yelling at each other are appropriate forms of communication. 

A swift movement to head off an animal at the gate, a slip in the mud results, and success is out of reach.   

Animals scattering, going every which way, don’t we have dogs for this?

Cows, pigs, goats, alpacas, it’s all the same–frustrating. Trying to work within the confines of old animal pastures that were designed for an era way back when.  It’s laziness in fence fixing, ancient gates that are mended with bailing twine, hinges, and nuts that are missing.  All the results of trying to make due on short purse strings.

The helpless feeling that you are sorting the wrong way, against the tide, in a sea of black and white.

Figuring out what the direction of sorting the “one over there” really is.  Which one over there?  There are 20 “ones” over there that all look the same, dad!!??

The groans, sighs, and the stutter in directing a moment too late.  A walked out-of-boot, thrown-down sweatshirt, and beads of sweat on the brow because you are so hot and frustrated from running after animals in a circle for too long!  

It’s shaking the grain bucket and having the herd look back at you, “No way.  We ain’t buyin’ it!”  And they run in the opposite direction.

How is it that they know when the enticement is just that, enticement and not a regular old feeding time—even if it is at feeding time?  

It’s the overly bossy cow that decides to charge at you.  “Man over the fence!”

And taming the wild-eyed heifer that will not go into the milking parlor.  Manure splatting all over with each change in her direction.  Where was Temple Grandin when this parlor entrance was designed?

With the last animal in, the gate latched, and the barn door closed, FINALLY, it’s done. 

Manure and mud soiled clothing and dirty boots; we go together to clean up for dinner to the milkhouse.

What is said to each other during the sort, stays at the sort.  Most of the time.

Bread is broken together again, and dishes are done.

Until the next time, the animals need to be sorted…and fun family times can once again ensue.

Here’s to Monday!

With love,