Farmers aren’t stupid; we just like a challenge

Submitted by Kim Jo Bliss

Well, my friends have been bugging me to do a column now for some time. I finally thought I might give it a whirl.
I likely will spend a lot of times rambling about family, friends, and the trials and tribulations of farming. I could make you laugh or cry—and most certainly I will make someone mad.
But I would really like if you learn something about the work we do and why we do it.
Happy New Year! Well, I’m not sure if I’m happy yet. We have more snow than enough–the cattle actually are having a hard time to move around as the snow is as high as their bellies.
I realize that living in town sucks when the snow plow drives by and the bank is four feet high, and heavier and harder than ice. But here is the country we have 10-mile lanes and we have to another 10 or 15 miles to be able to find their hay and get it to them.
Never mind spending your day (and this year it is every couple of days) pushing snow, fuel is darn expensive.
So then when it is not snowing, it is freezing everything solid. I understand the trick in town is to leave your tap dripping and this will prevent freeze-ups. Alas, not so easy in the country, where we have wells (limited water) and septic tanks (that fill up). We have heat elements that have to keep our numerous water bowls from freezing and they suck energy like crazy.
Happiness is . . . when the water is fresh and clean on these minus-40 mornings. Even though we have 10 feet of snow, the cattle still want water.
And talking about energy. Since in between our blizzards we have been so cold, we are required to keep our tractors plugged in so they at least will start for the day of moving snow.
We are doing our best to get that hydro debt paid off.
Many of us beef farmers are nearing calving season. For some reason, some of us still want to challenge Mother Nature and calve out a bunch of cows in this weather. I will, in future columns, explain the challenges of keeping a soaking wet calf alive and healthy in these weather conditions (honest, we are not stupid, we just like a challenge!)
Some of us have decided to stop challenging ourselves and calf at a more appropriate time of the year, more similar to our wildlife friends (i.e., deer and moose.)
We do all of this so we can feed someone. It is a way of life—and most of us wouldn’t have it any other way.
So I hope this finds everyone getting over the holidays and ready to tackle 2009. This reminds me of a friend who was so darn happy to see the holidays over.
She had a tough couple of weeks: started off she had all four wisdom teeth out and was big-time sick; her dad became very ill Christmas night and had to go by ambulance to the hospital; she decided to take her kids on a small trip and lost her daughter in the Mall of America; and then when driving home in a blizzard, ’flu struck the kids and it was coming out both ends.
She arrived home to that pile of snow in her driveway just in time to come down with the ’flu herself!
When she went back to work and was asked “Glad to be back?” she replied, “More than you’ll ever know!”
Anyway, I’m hoping we can use this little tool to communicate what we are doing out here on this land with these animals!

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