Chores on the farm bring solace

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Lambing season has created another layer of work to our farm, and to many others everywhere.

The decent lamb market in the past couple of years has enticed some farmers to add a few ewes to their daily chores. For us, “a few” translated in to 50 ewes this year.

Our barn is bustin’ with some mighty adorable lambs and all the hard work that goes with it.

Solace

Yes, my husband quite willingly admits, he just might be a little crazy. He is working day and night off the farm, but there is something about coming home to chores in our barn that brings him solace.

Sheep loudly greet us as we step inside the barn, even if they just saw us 10 minutes earlier. (It really is true — sheep are not the brightest animal you’re ever going to meet.)

“If I didn’t have my barn, I don’t know, I just wouldn’t feel quite right,” he attempts to explain to those who just don’t get it.

I totally get it. We both were born with farming in our blood, enjoyed much of the work that made up our childhood on family farms, and we never grew away from it.

We didn’t expect to be given a farm; we worked hard to save, to find and then land the farm that was meant to be ours. We had a small place and built a miniature barn when our children were little, and we built a happy life.

Mostly for the sake of our children, I wish we could have lived here during those years, but there’s no way we could have afforded a farm this size then. This feels like home.

Ever since we moved to this much more peaceful farm about 10 years ago, we have often felt the presence of both of our dads.

Dad

When one of the ewes gives us a hard time, I could swear I hear my dad snickering with glee. When we stand at the gate and watch the livestock in the various pastures we have built here, there is an indescribable feeling of both our dads’ joy for us.

One recent day, I caught a glimpse of my hubby walking out to the barn, and did a double take. I could have sworn it was my father-in-law.

Doug came in later saying, “Man, I can’t explain it, but it felt like my dad was out there working with me today.”

It is inexplicable.

Some would likely say, “Yep, they’re crazy, all right!,” while I have a feeling others would nod their heads, able to relate.

Farming, with its demands, its solitude, new life and certain death, puts us in tune with the harsh, yet holy, cycle of life that brings us here and escorts us to the great beyond.

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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