Sometimes I think I have a fairly good grasp of agriculture…sometimes. Most of the time, though, I am keenly aware that there is A LOT I don’t know. I may have competed in national competitions that look at how much you know about livestock, and won, but I will still tell you there is a lot I don’t know. Even the things I feel I have a good grasp on, there is always more to be learned from others. That is why farmers take field trips, and I got to go on two this past weekend.
The first one was to the Southern Farm Show in Raleigh, NC. The whole family went to tour the many buildings filled with farming equipment. There were tractors of every color and size, cattle chutes, irrigation systems, trailers, trucks–you name it, they probably had it.
Despite being around farms all my life and living on one, there was some stuff, I had no clue what it was. My poor dad was bombarded with questions from my brothers and I. If you knew how much stuff was there, you’d feel for the amount of questions he had to field.
After the boys had climbed on almost every tractor, combine, and Bobcat, and questions had subsided, we made our way to the horse pull and coon jump. We watched draft mules and horses pull max weights of 6,500 pounds and 10,000+ pounds respectively. It was amazing to see their grit and gumption to move the sled with weights. We also got to see the coon jump which is where mules jump from a stand still over a pole. The winner of that contest, jumped 54 inches flat-footed. The coon jump contest originated with raccoon hunting. Mule owners would brag about how high their mules jumped chasing the coons. To prove themselves, they started coon jumping. Neat, huh?
The second field trip was to Rocky Mount, NC to attend a 4-H show pig clinic. Mom, the boys and I went. We had a great instructor who talked about everything from picking out your pig, to feeding it, to showmanship. While a lot of it was review for me, there was some things that were brand new too. The boys learned a lot too. They created a skit with the other youth about the right and wrong way to show a pig. Both Isaac and Gideon got on all fours to pretend to be the pigs. They were also able to reverse roles and practice showing with actual pigs too. It is a great warm up for the up coming show in April.
They asked great questions too.
This morning they started to put their new knowledge to use when they worked their own pigs. I quizzed them a bit too. “What did Mrs. Cally say you should do after walking the pigs?” They remembered after a little searching in their memories.
Even though we live on a farm everyday, we don’t know everything. There will always be someone who has a piece of knowledge that we don’t and it is important to seek out the opportunities that teach us new things. Not only is it fun, but we better ourselves in the process. Field trip for the win!