Thursday, October 25, 2012

There's No Crying in Farming!

“There’s no crying in baseball.”
       Tom Hanks in the movie A League of Their Own.

(This may bother some of my readers but it is the reality of farming during a drought and having to make and deal with those hard choices).


I remember that quote well and how funny that line seemed at the time, and I do wish there was no crying in farming either. I am usually very good at holding back my tears especially in front of tough veteran farmers, but not today. I helped load five of our Springer’s (bred cows) on the truck bound for the sales barn, this is something we did not want to do but we had run out of time and exhausted our options. I choke back the tears as I silently say goodbye to Mandy, Girl and three other cows that have been here for a very long time. Five cows that have given us many beautiful calves and were very gentle and always came when I called. Five cows, that we must sacrifice so we will be able to feed the others through the upcoming winter. We are not done choosing which ones will stay and which will go this is just the beginning. We decided to sell the older ones to make sure we have enough for the younger bred cows, the reality is older ones eat more hay and we need a young healthy herd if we are to survive in this business.

My only hope is, knowing that they are bred back someone will buy them and keep them to raise their calves, they always have beautiful calves. This is much harder than I thought it would be and I thought loading them up would truly be the hardest part but I was wrong. Watching that truck drive out of the barn yard was very hard but it would get more difficult as my day progressed.

I walk into the sales barn after trying to think of any reason not to go, but I had to know. I went late so as not to have to sit there very long. I walked through the door and am greeted by a couple of older farmers I recognize. The questions start “Selling or buying?” I reply, Selling, not enough hay. I hold back those tears seasoned farmers like these two would not understand, they would just think I am an “emotional girl”. I must not be very good at concealing my feelings as they said “Well I hope you get a good price, see you later” These are farmers that I have talked to many times before and they always have something to say. They must have seen that I was doing everything I could to stay strong. I try to find a seat in the barn it is very busy today.

Another farmer I know taps me on the shoulder “Hi you selling or buying?” Selling, no hay. Again they make a quick comment and retreat. I must have “She’s gonna cry stay away” written all over my face. I sit quietly beside a young man I did not recognize at first and he says “Hi B how are you doing?” I think to myself that he may not see those tears just waiting to fall in my eyes. I try not to look directly at him. I reply Fine. “Selling or buying?” he asks. Selling we do not have enough hay so we have to. “Oh” he says “We were lucky we have enough, I am so happy the rain found us I’m really sorry it did not find you.” This man only lives about 3 kilometers from me. I am happy for him and I feel guilty thinking about how lucky he is and how jealous I feel about that, at that moment. We make idle chit chat and then my Mandy and two of the other cows are ushered into the arena, I turn quickly to look at them.

They sell Springer’s by the dollar not the pound. I hear him announce the numbers glued to their hide for identification, and announce that they have been pregnancy checked and how far along they are. I listen as he announces one is eight months and two are four months, I think to myself at least we know our new bull Thor has been working. The bidding starts and the eight month cow is sold quickly. The man beside me knows who bought it and said it is going to a good home. I am relieved. The two four months bred cows one being Mandy are sold together, to a different farmer that my friend also knows, I am grateful. They are all ushered out the door heading to the back of the barn.

Next in the arena, Girl, and a red cow I had never named. I think to myself I am not going to name any more it is too hard. The auctioneer says the biggest cow #691 (Girl) is eight months along and the other one is seven months along. I picture those little blonde calves running around our farm. I keep saying to myself it is almost over hold it together you are going to make it. Sold and sold just like that it was over. They are ushered out and again my friend says that so and so bought them. I am happy I know who bought them but extremely upset that we had to sell them in the first place. I say my goodbyes to my friend and exit the building. This is when I made a big mistake.

I walked back to the rear of the sales barn to see where they went. I climbed a set of stairs over-looking the cattle pens, I could see them all standing together in a pen with water bowls, I remember thinking this is OK they are all together at least for a while, that is when Mandy looked up at me. I started to cry, I quickly looked around to see if anyone was watching. I looked back at her and then I walked away. I dried my tears and I went to the office to pick up the cheque. I at this point just wanted to run out of there as fast as I could.

After picking up the cheque and a sheet of paper that explains that farmers can defer some of their income for selling their cattle till next year in the drought areas, (we are not the only farmers who had to sell for lack of hay), and whining to my friend behind the counter how hard this was and saying I am never going to get attached again I go outside and get into the old pick up. I drive away. I drive for a few minutes then all of a sudden the tears start to flow, I cannot see the road so I pull over and let those bottled up tears fall.


 Dam this drought (sorry for the curse but Darn just will not work for me today). I think to myself the worst thing is, our drought is over it was just too late for us. I promise myself I will do better with the next two groups that have to go, Maybe I will stay home and not watch. It will be easier because they do not have names. That (I hope) was the worst of it. I continue home the tears still rolling down my cheeks.

Yes there is crying in farming especially for this girl who being backed into a corner had to make another one of those tough decisions that farming ultimately brings.

Later





54 comments:

  1. Will an internet *Hug* help just a bit?

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  2. Oh Buttons, I'm sorrier than I can say that it came to this.

    Perhaps your face did say "I'm going to cry". So what? There's no shame in it and would you really want to be so 'tough' you didn't feel anything? Your tender heart is part of why we all love you and, even though it hurts, something to be proud of.

    Having grown up on a farm I can safely say that those tough old farmers feel just as you do...they cleared out because otherwise they'd have cried along with you.

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  3. and that is the reason I can't have animals, even chickens, as I couldn't say goodbye. At least you know they've all gone to good homes.

    I too would have been in tears.......

    Gill

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  4. Of course there is crying in farming - you let the tears roll - we wouldn't do it if we weren't emotional about it because farming isn't something you do as a job it is our life - we have 2 open cows we are going to sell this year-we bought them as heifers for the girls to show 4 years ago and I am heartbroken and I will be crying - but like you not enough hay to keep for us to keep 'pets' - big hugs and we can cry together!

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  5. Oh honey.....there is crying in farming.....lots of it. I've seen big Farmer tear up when we lose a wee goate or the time we had to sell off Red the cow, who he'd had for an age.

    You do what you must.
    And old friends *deserve* some tears.
    It's only right.

    I don't think the old farmers run away because you are an emotional girl....I think they are afraid they might cry themselves. ;)

    Chin up, luv......makes the tears fall in a better place........

    You are loved.

    *huggies*
    Mimi

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  6. Oh I'm so sorry. I hope your cows have found happy homes. And I hope next summer is easier times for your farm.

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  7. Hi, I’m Anne from Life on the Funny Farm (http://annesfunnyfarm.blogspot.com), and I’m visiting from Rural Thursday.

    I think it's good that you cried, b/c it means that you care. If you didn't care, you shouldn't be in farming, don't you think? So glad they went to good farms. How lucky you sat next to someone who knew the buyers! (((((hugs)))))

    Anyway, it’s nice to “meet” you! Hope you can pop by my blog sometime to say hi…

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  8. Oh that is so hard. Yes there is crying in farming. I'm sorry about what you are going through at the moment. It sucks being forced into a corner. Be strong and do what you need to get done for the best of the rest of your herd. We'll keep sending {{{hugs}}}.

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  9. My heart is so heavy for you this morning. I'm so sorry. Sending you big hugs, B.

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  10. oh gosh buttons, i am so sorry...sending you big hugs from virginia....

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  11. I'm sorry, Buttons...I'm sitting here tearing up myself, reading this! I don't go to the sale barn, partly for this reason. I'm so glad the man next to you could reassure you of their good new homes. ((hugs))

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  12. I don't know about crying on the farm, but your story touched me and made me cry here in my warm bed where I'm waiting for the sun to rise so I can go out and tend to my animals.

    Thanks for sharing and letting us hear your story!

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  13. Sending hugs and prayers to you Buttons!

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  14. This reminds me of when we sell a house..I never ever go back.

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  15. Such a hard time saying goodbye to old friends. I remember when the folks sold out and how rocked to the core my mom was to see her old friends loaded up an driven away. I'm so sorry you had to go through this.

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  16. Maybe Mandy was trying to tell you it was OK, she understands and will be fine. You have such a connection with your girls.
    Made me cry just the same.

    Love You, BA

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  17. Sending you lots of healing hugs ~ It can't be easy being a farmer and getting attached to animals and then being forced to let them go ~ Tears are healing and have 'built in' stress relieving chemicals ~ so let those tears flow ~ Even 'Big Boys' cry ~ they just don't show it ~ Brave girl you are and am 'wishing for you what you wish for your self' ~ ( Creative Harbor) ^_^
    Carol and artmusedog ^_^

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  18. it has been a tough year for farmers!

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  19. Your post was so heart-wrenching to read; I must admit that I teared up. I commend you for being strong enough to make such a difficult decision, and then letting the tears go later. You are a very strong person. Sending you hugs.

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  20. @^%#@#@drought! It's hard to let go when you are selling because it's what you do, like me and my foals, but when you have to sell because circumstances force it on you it is heartbreaking. Sending big hugs!

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  21. I feel so sorry.

    But doesn't that is what we call life?

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  22. oh sweetheart. i'm crying for you. i understand.

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  23. My heart goes out to you Button's. You are a strong woman, with compassion in her....it's ok to shed tears.

    Mandy, looked up at you to share, "It's okey...

    Hugs fr Auntie M

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  24. That is sad! I would have cried to! :(

    http://theapels.blogspot.com/2012/10/turkey-shirts.html

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  25. Buttons-my heart goes out to you too. I am so sorry that you had to go through this, and I sure would have cried as well. You may be in a tough business, but that doesn't mean you always have to be tough inside. Hugs:)

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  26. Oh my goodness, you've got me crying over here. I cannot imagine how hard that must have been. I would have been a huge blubbering mess. I don't think it's weakness - it shows that you are a compassionate and caring soul. Thinking about you today. *hugs*

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  27. Oh, B, I am crying with you. I know you had to do this and my heart tore in half reading. I haven't had to do this, but I feel it through your words and it hurts. A lot.

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  28. You have me crying right along with you too. I just can't part with my animals. So sorry B.

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  29. We had to do the same thing when I was a kid on our farm . It's sad but ya have to do what ya have to do . Even our beef cows we couldn't watch get loaded every year , we get attached and love all our animals whether they are pets or produce . We named every one of our animals to. Farming can be cruel and kind and as a kid it taught me so much about life ! I do hope you feel better soon . I know exactly how you felt *HUGS*

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  30. I think it is good that you wrote about this. There are so many people who fantasize about farming without knowing how really tough it is. I am sorry you are having to sell.

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  31. I agree with some of the others that- of COURSE there is crying in farming, and many times LOTS of it.:) Farming is definitely a test of perseverance. Especially for us gals, trying to handle it all. It's not anything easy that's for sure! But there are many joys as well, that keep us plugging away at it.

    I shed tears right along with you reading yr. post...it brought it all back that I went thru much the same just a year ago as we watched our 2 herds of 70 moos get corraled, loaded & hauled away to be sold.

    I shed plenty of tears let me tell you! And tried as you did, to be so strong keeping up my brave front so all the burly guys who helped herd & load didn't think me a silly girl- crying over COWS!

    I figured these guys wouldn't understand as I snapped photo after photo to remember the moos by, these were our longtime friends- most raised from just babies, not just cattle! But since my Mom passed away about a yr. ago & my 79yr. old farmer dad now has lost his love &life partner, he also lost a bit of zest for his herds. Too many, they were too big for just the 2 of us to handle..and just too costly to feed.

    While my head knows it was the right thing to do- to sell them, just as you know it was right for you...our hearts sure tell us differently! They are broken over the friends we sent away, and yet hopeful that our dear moos understood in their own way that it was for their good. Better than starving or getting sick & weak due to the lack of good hay with the weather we had this summer & no rains.

    You were so strong to watch them being sold! I could not do it. And to actually know that yours went to good homes/good people, that's a HUGE thing to know & feel comforted by.

    Your tender heart is what makes you a good care giver for the rest of your herd...at least you still have them to love! (i still miss ours terribly- a yr. later!)

    Sending hugs to you as well as all your other reader friends.. It WILL get easier. You made the right choice, difficult as it was.

    a reader in Minnesota

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  32. You are a good farmer. Good farmers CARE about their animals no matter what the future carries. I have no patience or love for farmers who think of the creatures in their care as hunks of meat to be kicked around and cursed. Hope weather is a better friend to you and Your Hero in the future.

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  33. Of course you cried, it's because you CARE about your girls! There is nothing wrong with that. I'm crying right along with you. Being a farmer means making tough decisions and you guys made the right one for now. {{{HUGS}}}

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  34. Hello Buttons !
    So very sorry for you. I'm sorry.
    I hope that your animals will be happy in another household.
    I wish you to be in the next year there were a successful change.
    I cordially greet

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  35. I'm terribly sorry for this... I'm sorry it's had to come to this... and I'm sorry you had to go thru it!
    I pray that it gets better from here on out & not worse! God bless, Buttons!

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  36. Oh I am so sorry. My heart goes out to you.

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  37. oh sweetie I'm so sorry. my cat felt my sadness while I was reading you and she came to my lap to take care of me. you have such a beautiful heart and soul. I hope the weather wont be so hard on your farm next year. you're so brave! you should cry when you need to and I'm glad you did. we love our animals like family, we care, and they love us back always, no matter what we do. I'm really sorry. sending you {{{hugs}}} across the ocean. xxo dear friend

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  38. no words, just sending love and big, warm hugs from jersey!!



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  39. A touching story, it tugs at my heartstrings. No matter what anybody says, it's OK to cry and it's a little easier knowing you know you did the right thing.

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  40. Oh Buttons, you truly love your girls, and you and your Hero do your absolute best to look after them. I am glad they are going to good homes, and I hope next year is kinder to you.

    Big hugs,
    Mandi

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  41. Farming truly must be one of the hardest jobs in the world! Sending you hugs my friend...

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  42. I feel so bad for you.... for all the farmers who are having problems. You people work so hard and this drought has been horrible.

    They say things have a way of working themselves out. I hope for your sake that is true.

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  43. OH B! HUGS! Sorry you are having to make these tuff decisions! But you're right... thats how things go some times and we shed our tears and then carry on. My Mom called me yesterday extremely upset that some hunting dogs came onto their property night before last and killed several of her goats.

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  44. Oh Buttons, what a sad ordeal that was. Up here in Renfrew County we are hard hit as well. One of my farmer friends was telling me that only half of their cows even sold, so they sent the rest off with the abbatoir. Not enough hay came from the west to help this farmer.

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  45. I'm sorry about your drought and the predicament it put you in. I am sure faming is very difficult - it is not something I know much about. I admire your hard work.

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  46. oh dear buttons, i am heartbroken for you. i'm sorry farming has to come to this at times. it's something i could probably never do. and i admire you for that. <3

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  47. I learned a long time ago there is crying in farming. Crying when the pony you grew up riding passes away, the milk cow has to be sold, your dad sells your cow pony when your at college because he only gets along with you and nobody else. There is a lot of crying in farming. It doesn't make it eaiser, but I am very sorry.

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  48. I've become rather hard and cold when it comes to livestock... but I have my pups and when that day comes....

    big hugs to you my friend. xo

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  49. There were a few times we had to sell stock and it is never easy... don't be too hard on yourself, tears don't mean your weak... {{hugs}}

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  50. Oh my dear friend G, I am feel for you and your girls, for I know how you feel about them :) Never mind, when all said and done your farm is a business but that doesn't make it any better :) love, your friend M xoxoxox

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  51. Beautiful pictures at dawn.

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  52. I married a farmer 46 years ago and never found it easy when we had to sell...whatever the reason. Here in Britain it was because of testing for BSE and now it's testing for TB. It always seems the best that have to go!! There was one I didn't mind. He was a nasty Limousin who went for me and landed me in hospital. But, I have to say that it never got easier...particularly with cows that had faithfully nurtured calves and given their milk for years! Your soft heart does you credit and most farmers (who look hard on the outside) would like to shed a tear. I bet those others walked away because they felt the same and didn't want to show it!! I'm only glad that young man sat next to you to tell you where they were going! Bless you!! Joan

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  53. I feel so sad for you, Buttons! I think you are wise not to name your cows...but that sounds very hard for someone who loves her animals the way you do. I'm glad the first five went to good homes.

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The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

Thank you so much for your comments, they mean more to me then I could ever express. Hug B

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