Take a walk with me back to April. Yes, April. It’s taken me this long to be able to express in words what my mind and heart were feeling in April.
April in my area of the world is a time of renewed life – whispers of green are spreading across the landscape, daffodils and tulips are reaching through dead leaves and dirt to brighten the dull landscape. The farm animals are enjoying the spring sunshine warming their winter-weary bodies as they lounge in the tender green grass. April is a time of hope on the farm. This year it was a month of mixed emotions.
Decisions were made on our little farm that were difficult – heart wrenching decisions to downsize our pig operation temporarily. Decisions were also made on a friend’s farm that were far more painful and life-changing, but unavoidable in their finality. There is a saying that “One man’s loss is another man’s gain.” How true this has proved to be.
Our gain became the arrival of four beautiful Irish Dexter cows. We bought two four-year old bred cows and two yearling heifers that belonged to our friends. The mixed emotions emerge in this portion of the story. Our emotions of purchasing our friends’ cows at auction were that of joy, disbelief, and excitement that our dream of gentle, docile, well-mannered cows was coming to fruition. Our emotions of sadness and loss for our friends was overpowering. It was difficult to share our joy when we knew our friends were grieving the loss of more than half their herd of cows and an unplanned separation borne out of necessity.
As we moved forward on our little farm and a new normal settled in our friends’ lives, we were blessed with the arrival of the first Irish Dexter calf to be born on our farm. A beautiful bull calf born a month after his mother’s arrival on our farm. His curiosity, playfulness, and adorable face have moved our emotions firmly into joy category. We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our second calf – and our hope is for a little heifer calf to expand our breeding stock.
This, my friends, is a part of farming. Joy and sadness seem to walk hand-in-hand through each facet of life on the farm. It is a give and take – a never ending roller coaster of emotion. A roller coaster ride that we are blessed to be on.