Friday, August 10, 2012
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 then...you be careful out there today.