Any farmer worth their weight in salt keeps quality conditions for their animals in the forefront of their agrarian efforts. There is a lot that goes into protecting and maintaining the range houses for our turkeys. One of the stinkiest tasks is topping-out the buildings. This process entails driving through the building with a tractor and litter machine. The litter machine sifts through the sawdust shavings on the floor and separates out the waste. The waste that is removed from the buildings makes terrific fertilizer, as it is completely natural and environmentally friendly. Once all of the waste is removed, we add fresh sawdust using a spreader bed. This allows the building to stay drier and healthier.
My job in the process of topping-out buildings is to open and close the doors as Hubby drives the tractor in and out of the barn, and to walk in front of the tractor shooing the turkeys out of the way. It may sound easy, but it’s NOT!
On a recent topping-out experience, Hubby yelled at me, “Don’t let me run you over!”
Well, as a I love my husband very much, I was somewhat terrified that he believed I had the power to stop over three tons of tractor and litter machine while he was in the driver’s seat. I guess the fact that he was the driver should have instantly solidified my trust in the process, but I was still leery. To make things worse, turkeys are stupid birds.
While it may be winter and there aren’t a lot of crops in our fields now, we are reaping the benefits of last year’s hay season and the work of grain farmers from across the country. Long days and late nights produced a tremendous amount of hay to be stored in our barns last summer. As the grass has frozen and dried up this winter, the cattle and horses have been able to continue to grow and find comfort in those bales. The turkeys and calves are able to eat and develop thanks to the feed made from the harvest of American fields. We aren’t growing crops or animals; we are creating a place for them to flourish in spite of winter’s harshness.
Farmers aren’t the only ones creating places for people and things to produce. We all are creators of environments that allow for safety and growth. We are all cultivators of children, pets, food, products, and emotions. Each and everyone has a hand in growing something.
Tonight, before going to bed, millions of Americans will turn their clocks back one hour to fall back from Daylight Saving Time (DST) to Standard Time.
Until recently, I believed Daylight Saving Time was created to benefit farmers. I also believed that DST began in October. I was wrong. It turns out I am not alone in my misconceptions.
I attempted an informal survey of local farmers and friends via text, Facebook, and Twitter. The survey included one question: “Yes or No – Do you believe daylight savings time is beneficial to farmers?”
In place of simple “Yes” or “No,” I received a myriad of responses about the value of farmers and the long hours they put in, commentary on challenges of farming while also working other jobs, and personal stories about impacts the time change made on farming experiences. (I was so very grateful for everyone’s responses but felt like I lit a fire in folks. That was not my intent. I just wanted to know how many believed the same thing I did.)
Most believe that Daylight Saving Time is intended to help farmers because they are the ones up before the sun and often working long into the night baling hay, caring for animals, and harvesting crops. My entire life I believed that I did not like Daylight Saving Time. The truth is that I do not like Standard Time and the practice of changing time.
The results of my informal (and completely non-political) survey reflected that most believed and felt the same.
Each day I am thankful for farmers. Not just because I married one, was raised by them, or because I am one, but because they are the 2% of the population growing, cultivating, and producing the foods and products our world needs to survive.
One of the things that most people enjoy about farming is the fresh start and cuteness that comes with each new calf, foal, poult, chick, piglet, or seedling. Everything starts sweet, small, and innocent.
This morning I started off with caring for 10,000 poults. (Poults are baby turkeys.) I checked their food, waters, building temperature, and double checked that all safety precautions were in place; doors secured tightly, thermostat set appropriately, and no water or food messes. They chirped, squeaked, and followed me around the building as if they were all on invisible leashes. (Their flocking is really sweet until you have to walk through them without stepping on one of the little darlings.)
As I watched my fluffy flock swarm, circle, and trip over themselves to get to me, their food and water, or just because one of their brothers happened to be napping where there the stampede shifted, a wave of appreciation rolled over me. There I was with the opportunity to provide care and attention to these baby birds, who will someday provide sustenance to others. Continue reading “A Swarm of Appreciation”→