Raising livestock family commitment

My hat is off to parents who have a job in town but insist on raising their kids in a “rural lifestyle.”

Fifty or so thousand young people were at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis last year. I would bet at least 3.4 of them come from rural lifestyle families.

The relationship between kids and their livestock, including rabbits and horses, is an intimate one. The animals are all named, the facilities are often much-repaired, and responsibilities are shared.

Samantha’s older brother was going to junior college in their Idaho hometown. He still kept a small herd of 4 longhorn cows and a bull that had been his high school FFA project. The Bull-of-The-Woods was named Braveheart. That fateful morning Samantha didn’t have class and had slept in. Upon rising she peeked out her window to see the light blue sky, high stratus clouds, and brother’s cows strung out along the paved road that went by their house!

She pulled on her boots and a hoody over her colorful pajamas and marched out the door muttering technicolor threats to the cows, her brother and Braveheart! She didn’t even have time to put in her contacts and sharpen her claws!

Tromping down the inside of the fence she was singing curses to all involved! Several civilians drove by and waved at her cheerfully. They never stopped to help, thinking maybe she was a Swiss milkmaid out to gather her cows on an Alpine hillside.

Once past the cows she crawled under the fence and chased them back to the home lot. Then she returned to pick up the trash can the cows had knocked over, and looked back to see that the cows had turned around and were escaping again.

Bravely standing in front of the charging herd, she yelled and waved an empty COB sack in their faces. Braveheart snorted, ran by her and crashed through the neighbor’s fence wherein four sheep, three Bohr goats, two llama, a burro and several ducks watched with interest.

Back to the house she raced, she’d forgotten her cell phone, of course, and called her brother who was in class. He got excused. With a little alfalfa bait, some clever sorting maneuvers, and his collector ‘72 Chevy pickup, they finally managed to get the traveling herd back in their own lot.

That evening after chores, they had a “rural lifestyle family meeting” and voted. The result was one to three.

Braveheart is now in the freezer and his head is curing on the roof of the shed. Brother is considering an ostrich project and Samantha was awarded the American Farmer degree.

Congratulations to you both and don’t forget to thank your ag teacher and your mom.