Friday, August 10, 2012

The Danger

It has been heartbreaking to read the news lately. A farmer we know from quite near here was killed this week at a very young age by a swarm of ground bees or wasps while he was mowing brush. Another farmer near here was recently killed in a tractor roll over and another well-known Holstein breeder from the state was also killed by a tractor while working on machinery attached to it. We didn't know the latter two personally, but the first gentleman was a fixture in the area from a really nice family that we have known all our lives. Now this story

Farming can be a great life, if you love the outdoors, if you like to be challenged, if you like to work hard to make a real difference to the world it can be everything to you, truly a way of life....but it is dangerous. Farmers are often ridiculously tired and very stressed, by money worries, weather, the pressure to get crops into the ground and then tended and harvested. Many of the things they do are inherently dangerous and doing them while tired and distracted makes them doubly so.

Large farm animals can be and usually are reasonably gentle, interesting, fun to work with, also challenging, but often in a good way. You can have a very rewarding relationship with even the largest one. However, they can hurt you and sometimes they will. 

That same sweet cow that you can walk up to in the pasture for an ear scratch will run right over you if she is panicked or knock you down and stomp on you when she is in season. The gentlest ones that never kick or crowd at milking time can kill you with a swing of her head batting flies off their back in the itchy summertime. In fact the ones most likely to hurt you that way are the tamest ones. They aren't worried about your presence in their stall and they literally forget that you are there. (Imagine if they had horns!)

There isn't one of us here at Northview that hasn't come out on the short end of a kick or a bite, or very much the most often, gotten run over by a frightened or angry horse or cow. I've even had my nose broken by a carelessly flung tail. We all have  scars and joint damage to remind us of things animals have done to us over the years. We are lucky though, very, very lucky. We are still here to be reminded of how dangerous farming is.

My heart is truly aching for all these families, but especially for the folks we know best.....and all you farmers and ranchers who stop by to read now and be careful out there today.


Jan said...

Thank you for yet another reason to be grateful to you that we don't think about.

Cathy said...

Oh Marianne. It's just so big. Most of us just don't comprehend the work, fatigue and inherent risks of farming.

Yes . . as Jan said above ..

we owe so much.

Terry and Linda said...

My Dad was hurt horribly in a tractor accident...the tractor ran over him and crushed his pelvis and other bones. He lived and he continued to work...he was lucky.

Well said, Marrianne!


June said...

The man who owned this land before we bought it left an old baler down near where the old barn was. It's all full of grapevine and weeds now but Husband asked why he'd left it there. He said it was there to remind him of how stupid he could be. He had once stuck him arm in there to unjam the works. Apparently it didn't work out too well for him.

threecollie said...

Jan, thank you!

Cathy, I feel so bad for the family of the young man killed near here...well for all of them really...but we knew him and know many of his extended family. Such a horrific year for bees and wasps! Every tractor that is parked for more than a week is full of them. All the eaves. Any gates that we don't fill up with spray Great Stuff. Simply everywhere! The men have gotten stung a ridiculous number of times and I have had several stings. Allergy runs in my family so they scare me

Linda, wow, I am so glad he came through. It seems like the past few weeks have been awful for accidental deaths on farms. I don't know if you read of that farm family near you that lost their lovely daughter to an electrical accident. I was just sickened to read of it...I have followed their Facebook page since they saved their neighbors from the fires. And there have been so many others. As I said, I have heard of four here in NY in just a couple of weeks. So sad...

June, We have an old corn picker...well, I guess they let the scrapper take it last year..that sat as a reminder of what machinery can do. No permanent harm done but...