This thread will be a continuing saga of farm life. Sometimes interesting, sometimes very humbling, sometimes joyful, sometimes sad. It is a different life for me, one that took a long time to get to. In a way, it's a return back to my roots. My favorite memories in childhood were mostly farm related, interestingly enough. First up is:
The healing power of animals
I have been thinking about this a lot lately, how important the animal kingdom is in relationship to ourselves. I could go off in several different directions with this, from how they have been viewed historically, to the wide ranging relationships they have with humans. They range from being our friends, to food, to wildlife, and more. Each of us is at a different place in our views on this. For some, they don't have a problem raising an animal, being friends with it in a way, and then subsequently slaughtering it for consumption. And I'm not even going to go into the whole "factory farm" business, and what I think of that.
I have been all over the place in my views on all of this. I have been vegetarian at times, and moving back towards that now, and taking my husband with me. I don't think it's just our eating habits that have to be examined here, it's a whole range of beliefs that are mostly unquestioned.
I still eat chicken and turkey, but sparingly and with awareness always about the life that was given for mine. I absolutely don't eat cows or pigs anymore, and cringe when I drive by cattle with the little tags hanging from their ears. And I definitely don't eat my goats. I pretty much don't eat fish much anymore either, with the effects of Fukushima still radiating out. And I know they, too, are sentient beings in their own right. I think about how many people feel quite strongly about the notion of alien races farming and possibly even eating us. I really don't see how we are any different though.
Goats are a strange passion of mine, and I remember quite clearly another life where I lived in very close relationship to them. I do drink and use their milk, and I do realize and gratefully accept the gift they have given me. After several seasons of being there with them during kidding season, I know they know what love is, and form very strong bonds, and have great memories to boot.
But one of the things I have noticed is how happy people feel when they are around them. I have raved on and on about how much fun it is to take them all out for foraging walks. It reminds me of how fun it is to watch fish swim around in an aquarium. Very soothing and relaxing, for some reason. They are happy creatures by nature, and they exude an energy of confidence, community, and even joy. People generally don't get it until they actually come out and experience such a simple activity as walking the goats. Once they do, though, they do get it.
And this is especially true with the little ones. You just can't watch baby goats and be in a bad mood. Watching children interact with goats is also very rewarding. They are similar, in a way, because kids, like human children, are very curious. And they love to run. And jump. And butt heads. They are fairly horny too, LOL. But that is for another time, perhaps.
I have often thought about what fun it would be to have a variety of farm animals for children to come and interact with. Especially for city kids, many of whom have never had the opportunity. There are so many children now who did not grow up as I did, on a farm with the whole outdoors as my playground. Where we came in for lunch and dinner, had a few chores, but otherwise spent almost every waking moment outside, exploring. I climbed trees, swam in the irrigation pond, caught polliwogs, killed potato bugs in the garden, and had dirt clod fights.
Nowadays many children go to school all day, then come home and spend their time on their fancy phones, or play video games, many obsessively so. I find the more time I spend outside, and off the internet, the better I feel. And I have noticed when my grandsons come out, they both behave more relaxed and more content after they have had a good long walk with the goats. My oldest has been diagnosed ADHD, and takes medication during the school week, plus has a sugar addiction. He can be quite a busy guy. But each time he comes out he gets a little less ornery when we are out walking. He still wants to pick up sticks. He found that all he has to do is stand near the goats and wave the stick around and they will run. My younger grandson, who is two, has a different approach. He found out that when he stands next to them and screams in a high pitch they scatter really fast too.
Slowly, though, they are learning that when they run away from them, the goats tend to follow, because that's what they do. And it is just as fun as making them run away from you, with the added benefit that they want to stick around even when they are not running with them. I feel that teaching children to humanely and responsibly take care of farm animals is a great way for kids (haha) to learn about things that really matter in life. This is the kind of learning that can carry over to other areas of life even. And it teaches, in a real life setting, the cycles of life. Much better than any book learning, in my view.
I know my fondest memories as a kid was all the time I spent outdoors, with actually no supervision at all, just letting my imagination run wild. That's probably why I resist society's imperative to tame the wild out of me, still. I think we could all use a little more of that wild. Time to stop medicating it out of existence. Being good little subjects is about to lead us straight off the proverbial cliff, because those in charge lost their imagination a long time ago. So I will continue to choose the road less traveled. There may not be as many on it, but those I have met, both human and otherwise, along the way continue to enrich my life in innumerable ways. And everyone of those being's understands the sacredness of all life. That is one of the greatest lessons that making friends, true friends, with the animal kingdom has to offer.
I’m not myself today, maybe I’m you