Passion of the Percherons: Getting Ready with Young Living Horses & Team

Cyclone, Bode, Huey, Tuff, Ice, Jag, Elk, and Rocket.

These are the names of the 8 wonderful gentlemen I had the pleasure of meeting recently at the Nebraska State Fair. They all had dark hair and were well over 6 feet tall. It isn’t often I feel as if I’m in the presence of giants since I’m fairly tall myself. However, these guys have a way of making you look up and feel small.

Now, you are probably wondering who these guys are. With names like those, you may think I met some sort of band. They aren’t a part of a band, but they are all stars. These 8 gentlemen are the Percheron horses of the Young Living Exhibition Team.

DSC_2981

Young Living is a company (you may have heard of it) that produces essential oils. Their founder, Gary Young, loved horses. It only made sense to combine his passion for essential oils and horses together. At their Whispering Springs Farm in Mona, Utah, they have over 120 horses and focuses on draft and Fresian horses.

A handful of those horses are able to travel to various fairs and shows to compete and represent the Young Living brand and products. The 8 horses I met do not compete in shows, but do show off at fairs as the exhibition team.

Each horse is filled with personality. They may look very similar, but they are each unique. Those who get to handle and care for them can tell you all about each one.

DSC_3081

DSC_2888

DSC_3095

Here enters my friend Bradley Glover. Bradley and I grew up in the same county and showed livestock together. Bradley loves draft horses. He has interned with the large Clydesdales at Budweiser and helped drive wagons in Yellowstone National Park. Now he is living in Utah with the Young Living Percheron horses.

DSC_3063

I got a text from Bradley asking how close I was to Grand Island, Nebraska. Garrett and I then made plans to drive up to see Bradley (Garrett and Bradley worked together at NCSU) and meet the horses at the Nebraska State Fair.

Bradley not only helps feed and care for each of the horses with four others on the exhibition team, but he also helps prepare each horse for their performance.

DSC_2995DSC_3012

It takes about 2 hours to braid and comb the horses manes and tails. In addition, they add boots, paint their hooves and make sure they are clean. They also tack all the horses up in harnesses and gear that weighs about 100 pounds per horse. This sounds heavy, but each horse weighs around 2,000 pounds. Huey may weigh a tick more…he likes his food.

DSC_3036DSC_3019DSC_3030DSC_3009DSC_3007DSC_3010DSC_3055DSC_3029DSC_3075DSC_3085

DSC_3050

After they are decked in their purple splendor, they are practically itching to go. It was so funny to see the horses nodding their heads and straining to get into their harness. They love their job and love to perform. They were ready!

DSC_3088DSC_3102DSC_3115DSC_3083DSC_3111

After they are harnessed up, they are hitched to the wagon. In a 6-horse hitch, there are three positions: lead, swing, and wheel. Typically the largest and most trustworthy horses are placed in the wheel position. These are Tuff and Jag. The swing horses must stay in their spots and help round corners. Elk and Cyclone are swingers. Finally, the lead horses are often the flashiest horses who really like to prance. Bode and Huey are the guys for the job.

DSC_3114

DSC_3124DSC_3121DSC_3135DSC_3134

And what about the man behind the reins? That would be Jason Goodman. He has been around draft horses about all of his life. His wife Rose, who is also on the team, has a long history with draft horses as well.

DSC_3139

DSC_3187

No matter what your position on the team, everyone pitches in to get the job done. That job is making those 8 gentleman looking spectacular, and that job involves shoveling manure, cleaning equipment, braiding hair, feeding, washing, and so much more.

DSC_3067DSC_3190

Thanks to the hard work of all the team members, the horses do indeed look spectacular in the ring. With Jason Goodman guiding the team, they trot, make figure eights, dock, and full on run. Their time in the ring seems like a blur, and I do believe the horses wouldn’t mind one bit if they could go around the ring once or 3 times more.

DSC_3140

DSC_3168DSC_3183

They will soon do it all over again, though, showing crowds that big doesn’t mean they can’t be agile or graceful. They proved to me that, although lovable and goofy in the barns, they are all business and style when it is show time.

Cyclone, Elk, Bode, Huey, Rocket, Jag, Ice, and Tuff, you guys are amazing!

Bradley, Jason, Rose, Cole, and Henry, thank you for letting me capture your normal. I so enjoyed soaking up your knowledge and witnessing the passion you have for draft horses.

Garrett, thanks for carrying my camera bag and reaching up high for a couple of photos. I think we found your size of animal.

Young Living, kudos to you for what you do with these horses and sharing them with the public.

IMG954553

More Than a Feed Mill: Nahunta Feed Supply Tour

DSC_9476Every week, just about, someone in our family drives to the Nahunta Feed Supply to buy feed for our livestock. It isn’t just a store where we pick up a few bags of feed, though.DSC_9415It is a place where we and everyone else are greeted with a smile, a “Hey!! How are you?!”, and maybe even a token word of friendly advice. The Nahunta Feed Supply is warm and inviting. The office is filled with homey touches and tons of pictures of friends, family, and youth who the feed mill supports. There is always a candle burning, so it smells more like a house than a mill. DSC_9416DSC_9421DSC_9417DSC_9423Most days, Mrs. Gale is at the counter to check you out. Somehow, she seems to make writing a check more enjoyable. Her husband, Roger, runs back and forth between their farm and the mill. DSC_9418My family and I have loved getting to know the Pittmans and those who work at Nahunta Feed Supply over the years. So, before I moved, I wanted to capture the mill, store, and the people behind it. In typical fashion, they were accommodating, gracious, and more than welcoming.

Nahunta Feed Supply used to be known as Pierce Farms Center, which is Mrs. Gale’s side of the family. It started as a cotton gin, and grew to be a lot more.DSC_9429“Daddy continued to grow with land and business and expanded into a feed mill, growing hay, and selling fertilizer. He would buy crops from the farmers too,” said Mrs. Gale. DSC_9501The feed mill is at least 60 years old and is filled with history and heritage. In January of 2007, Gale and her husband Roger took over the store and mill and renamed it Nahunta Feed Supply. DSC_9493Today Nahunta Feed Supply provides feed, hay, and other supplies to the local community. They also serve up smiles and joy. It is evident they love what they do.DSC_9427DSC_9424DSC_9428DSC_9468DSC_9454“I get so attached to my customers. I do really like it because I get to interact with people, and they become like your family. My customers are my family, and I love the country life,” said Mrs. Gale.DSC_9434DSC_9432DSC_9431You can find the Pittmans at local livestock shows, supporting their customers who enter the ring. They love to see how the kids take the feed they purchase from the mill, feed it to their animals, and then show those animals off, and sometimes win! Not only do the Pittmans like to watch, but they have also made it a point to support the shows financially. No one can say that they do not give back.

We (my brothers tagged along, because shouldn’t all good livestock showmen know where their feed comes from?) toured the mill and learned how the feed was made.DSC_9471DSC_9440DSC_9437DSC_9435DSC_9436DSC_9439DSC_9451DSC_9457We learned lots of interesting facts; for example, we discovered corn is ground more coarsely or more fine, depending on the type of feed and animal being fed. DSC_9447DSC_9444DSC_9445DSC_9450DSC_9446In addition to touring the mill, we also saw various types of equipment and the warehouse. A lot of the feed at Nahunta Feed Supply is made from crops grown by the Pittmans on their 687 acres they tend. They also grow and sell a large amount of hay for customers (182 of their 687 acres is hay). DSC_9458DSC_9496DSC_9497If I have come away with anything from my many visits to Nahunta Feed Supply, it is that it is much more than a feed mill. It is the people inside who run it, the passion in which they work, and the care in which they show to all of us who visit!DSC_9502

 

 

 

Do Farmers Deserve Praise or Condemnation?

DSC_2604

 Our farmers deserve praise, not condemnation; and their efficiency should be cause for gratitude, not something for which they are penalized.

— President JFK

How true these words are! However, you will hear a much different story in a Raleigh courtroom. There, lawyers will tell you that farmers deserve condemnation, and what they do on a daily basis should be penalized in the form of a huge lawsuit.

What did they do to deserve such condemnation? They existed.

These farms have been here for decades. The farmers, along with their families, raised and took care of pigs throughout the years.

And now… now, they stand to lose it all.

All because certain people made a judgement and condemned them.

Here is where I get confused. I thought we lived in a society that was promoting a judgement-free zone. But, I guess there is an exception to farmers.

It is OK to judge and condemn them.

It is OK to bully them and attack them.

It is OK to assume who they are—greedy, careless villains.

It is OK to blindly believe what other people say about them—polluters and bad neighbors.

No, it is not OK!

It isn’t OK to give false and misleading facts.

It isn’t OK to sue farmers and take their entire livelihood.

It isn’t OK to judge them when you haven’t even tried to get to know them or understand their practices.

It isn’t OK!

I don’t know why farmers have a bullseye on their backs. I don’t know when it will stop. I don’t know how all the lies got started. What I do know is these farmers don’t deserve it. And I know that I, for one, will stand by them, praise them, and thank them for all they do!

 

 

 

My Agriculture

15

There on your plate–the corn and porkchop and potatoes…

That’s my agriculture.

There on your back, the shirt made from cotton dyed into a brilliant color…

That’s my agriculture.

That medicine you take and the perfume you wear and the lipstick you put on…

That’s my agriculture.

The brilliant sunset over a field of wheat…

That’s my agriculture.

Calloused hands, dirty clothes, and a gentle touch…

That’s my agriculture.

Cows, sows, and plows with drones and tractors and technology in there too…

That’s my agriculture.

My agriculture is men and women filled with a love for the land and a love for livestock.

It is passion and love mixed with heartache and frustration. It is hard but worth it. My agriculture is the birth of calf and also the loss of a lamb. It is floods and droughts, cold and hot, feast and famine.

It is a 24/7 job filled with dedication, responsibility and lots of hope with no guarantee.

My agriculture is in the barns, the fields, the forests and beyond.

It provides food, clothes, jobs, and more.

My agriculture is your agriculture.

Celebrate it, appreciate it, and get to know it.

My agriculture isn’t perfect and is often misunderstood. But in the midst of manure and dirt and long hours and sleepless nights is something truly special–people with a passion.

Agriculture is everywhere, and you don’t have to be a farmer to be involved or to celebrate it. Look no farther than your fork and your shirt.

There you will find my agriculture. And there, you will find me.

29425178_2378493722164423_1107337936192158973_n

 

 

Best of 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on all the many moments that have happened. It is hard to believe all of it fits into one year. Busy is an understatement, but I am so grateful for every moment…

Along with teaching at two colleges and holding communication contracts for several companies, I’ve been able to  photograph more than ever before this year.

A spur of the moment photo shoot turned into some of my proudest pictures to date. These sheep in fog pictures went on to win three contests and are going to hang in my future office.

dsc_1103

It wasn’t all animal and farm pictures, though. I was able to take pictures of some very dear people. From the engagement of Brooks and Jennifer…dsc_0774

To Jennifer’s bridal portraits a few months later…

DSC_5019

I was so excited to photograph some amazing college seniors like Alec who graduated from UMO with a agri-business degree. He is now in the middle of an MBA at Methodist and will start a new job in the beginning of the year! Where did my little brother go?

DSC_6636

DSC_6787

There were also several NCSU graduates like Cary…

wm

And Bradley…

edit2

Garrett also graduated with his master’s degree after spending countless hours crunching numbers and writing a thesis. He didn’t walk the stage, but that’s alright…18156656_1861747867172347_6783422891837931030_o

I’m still just as proud and was able to go back to campus to take engagement pictures of his roommate Colin and his fiance Mallory.

wm28

I also was able to capture some real cuties…

DSC_3172-2wm15wm1

And real beauties…

wm

As well as some amazing people…

wm2wm2

wm3

DSC_7029DSC_0004

DSC_9813DSC_9753DSC_5463DSC_0211DSC_5500DSC_2935DSC_2880

A new favorite subject to photograph has been bling…

dsc_0469DSC_6002wm1

My favorite bling of all, though, is my own…

DSC_6472

One of the biggest moments of 2017 was when Garrett asked me to be his wife at Bear Island after a kayak trip…

18199111_10155380150772764_4952804136457057755_n18199244_1872604422753358_336148348953133287_n

Oh what an adventure that kayaking trip turned out to be (read the full story here). Wedding planning has been in full-force and we can’t wait for our next adventure after May 19, 2018 when we are married! 2017 held more adventures then a sparkly kayaking trip.

DSC_8035IMG_8161

An adventure to Vegas and the Grand Canyon with Garrett’s family was, well, grand…

DSC_4310

DSC_4653

A less desert adventure came when the Linton clan visited Virginia Beach. Views, lighthouses, and waves made for an amazing vacation…

DSC_2770DSC_3467DSC_2842

Of course, there was also the annual Kerr Lake trip too. It was paradise.

kerrkerr fam

An adventure to South Carolina to visit Kayla turned into a weekend of sweet surprises from my maid of honor…

23783574_2176629815684149_8253328693698683375_o

Adventures in Atlanta with friends to celebrate Kena and William’s wedding was ever so much fun…

DSC_7514

I went to a total of 8 weddings this year. It is that season in life, and it is so wonderful to see those I love find forever love.

It wasn’t all warm weather and blissful weddings, though. There were some bitterly cold days this winter. My caption on Instagram of this pic said “I’m not made for the cold” Little did I know, I’d be moving to Nebraska a little over a year later where the temperature is currently -17 at night. Be careful what you say.

15844138_712302095611308_4668690834416651741_o

Feeding livestock was an everyday affair–snow, rain, or shine. It was certainly worth it to see my boys rewarded for their hard work, well and fun…

dsc_1004

Isaac won Reserve Champion Market Hog at the Wayne County Show and Sale…

DSC_5540

Another big win came at the NC State Fair when our sheep Georgette won Grand Champion Supreme Ewe, NC Born and Bred Champion, and Champion Fleece. Georgette was born and raised on our farm.

DSC_2762

Each of the boys won grand or reserve champion sheep showman too, and Isaac bought Astrid, his prized sheep…

DSC_2710

Speaking of new animals, Callie Cat was rescued and has become my joy. She may be spoiled–complete with 9 collars.

callie

Hellos are always much more enjoyable than good-byes. After traveling over half the country, I dropped Garrett off in Nebraska to attend PhD school at UNL. Distance hasn’t been easy, but so worth it…

20767707_2033472343333231_1499266282401722218_n20840804_2037850256228773_2189544762330064386_n

I feel as if there are a thousand and one moments I should include here. However, this post is already long, and I can’t justify 365 days worth of reports. I will leave you with two final photos that show the love that I have been surrounded with this year, and the love that will forever surround me in future years.

DSC_4369IMG_8711

 

 

 

The State Fair is More than Fried Food and Rides for Me

For many people, the NC State Fair is about fried food, rides, and giant pumpkins, but for me it is so much more. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting fried cheese, bacon pimento cheese hushpuppies, and blooming onions. I always ride the Ferris wheel and bumper cars, and always take a peak at the giant pumpkins.

DSC_2979

BUT…that’s not why I go to the fair.

I go to the fair to drive and nervously back trailers in the heart of Raleigh. I go to help my brothers wash pigs, watch them compete against hoards of others in the ring, and coach them along the way. I go to fluff and trim goats. I go to the fair to walk sheep in the ring, pick straw from their fleece, and to see if we’ve improved from last year. I go to compete for the blue ribbons and champion titles. I go to take a thousand photos, to see friends, and spend 6 days in a barn. I go to the fair to spend time with my family and make memories. I go for the livestock experience.

I look at the NC State Fair through a different lens than many who walk through the gates. It isn’t just a place to find entertainment or unique food. It is a place where both heartache and joy has taken place. It is a place where I have run around with so much adrenaline and energy, but also been utterly exhausted. It is a place where I have learned lessons. The NC State Fair is a place that holds a special place in my heart. This year was no different.

NC State Fair 2017 Recap

While there was a great deal that took place over the course of the fair, I just want to give you the highlights. The first day, Mom, the boys and I went to check pigs in. All went smoothly. We headed back home to pick Dad up and head once more to Raleigh to stay in a hotel. We had a super early morning and didn’t want to deal with Raleigh traffic the next morning. Although an early morning awaited, I was to have a late night.

You see, Garrett was arriving on a flight at midnight! I hadn’t seen him since I left him in Nebraska back in August. I was so excited! I am ashamed to say, that I dozed off and was 15 minutes late picking him up from the airport. It all worked out, and I was reunited with my fiance!! Fair wouldn’t quite be the same without him.

The next morning did indeed dawn bright and early, but I was too excited to be tired. Today was the pig show!! My boys did an amazing job showing Arnold and Schwarzenegger. Both pigs were in the top 10 and Isaac received a super showman pin. I may have teared up a bit.

DSC_1595DSC_1772DSC_1782DSC_1758DSC_1702

DSC_1784DSC_1790

On Saturday, I returned once more to the fair, this time alone. I arrived in time to walk Garrett’s little red pig in the sale ring. Goodness do I miss driving a pig in a ring.

DSC_1944-2

My primary reason for coming back to the fair wasn’t to walk a pig, though.  I was set to photograph and video the Sale of Champions. I love auctions, livestock, and the fair, so being able to capture it all with my camera, is such a joy! Alec was also recognized as a scholarship recipient.

DSC_2462

The next day of the fair was to be on Monday. We loaded 4 little goats on the trailer during such a rainy day. Because all the goats were born within a couple of weeks of each other, they were all the same size and in the same class. Sadly, we only had 2 Linton boys, but 4 goats. They couldn’t very well show 2 at a time. Thankfully, we had friends in the barn who helped us out! Mom, Dad, and the boys went home, while I stayed in town to spend time with Garrett. He would fly out the next day.

DSC_2489DSC_2486DSC_2463DSC_2545DSC_2537DSC_2531

Wednesday arrived. We loaded 12 sheep (all of which had been washed and clipped). Because there were so many, we had to take the big trailer which is always more nerve-wracking to drive. I take that back. It is fine to drive but scary to back. I’m happy to say, though that I was able to back it perfectly! With the sheep penned and the trailer backed, we were ready for the next day.

DSC_2550DSC_2548

Another early morning greeted us. Today the entire family was able to be at the fair together. Showmanship was up first. Isaac and Gideon went head to head in juniors. Gid came out on top, which worked out well. Isaac beat Gideon in pigs. Alec received reserve champion senior plus showman despite an irritable sheep. We were off to a phenomenal start!

DSC_2559DSC_2593DSC_2610DSC_2604DSC_2628

Costume class followed showmanship. Isaac dressed up in a red, white and blue theme to highlight wool in America. Gideon showed off tools of the trade to raise sheep. There were so many cute costumes!

DSC_2731DSC_2729

With 12 sheep, we were in and out of the ring constantly. All of our girls did well, and I was even able to show during the open show.

DSC_2663

DSC_2635DSC_2556DSC_2598

DSC_2782

Isaac was extra proud of his Astrid sheep. He bought her with his own money earlier in the year, and she ended up winning her class! The face says it all!

DSC_2694DSC_2705DSC_2710

Interestingly, Alec ended up with the best sheep–Georgette. Last year, I did not like Georgette. She placed behind all our other sheep, and just wasn’t my favorite. This year, here fleece was gorgeous, and the judge agreed. She won her class and went on to compete in the champion drive along with two other of our ewes–Astrid and Evelyn.

DSC_2715

I held my breath as the judge looked over all the blue ribbon sheep. And then…she shook Alec’s hand.

DSC_2723

Georgette won Supreme Champion Junior Ewe and Got to Be NC Grand Champion Junior Ewe. I may have screamed a bit.

DSC_2762

We have come so close to Supreme Champion several times, and it finally happened. What made it even more special was we raised Georgette on our farm. She was Countryview Farm genetics. It didn’t stop there, though. In the open show, Georgette also won Supreme Champion Fleece, and our new ram, Church, won champion medium/fine white ram.

DSC_2775DSC_2784

It was such a good show!

DSC_2813

We celebrated by eating our favorite fair foods, walking around, and riding some rides.

DSC_2896DSC_2906DSC_2908DSC_2905DSC_2893

DSC_2909DSC_2910DSC_2889DSC_2880DSC_2884DSC_2882DSC_2881DSC_2877DSC_2935DSC_2978DSC_2980DSC_2984DSC_2987

I found my bacon pimento cheese hushpuppies, Dad and Alec snagged them a blooming onion and Isaac and mom grabbed a funnel cake.

DSC_2915DSC_2916

Gid discovered a new favorite –Poutine (fries covered with cheese curds and gravy). This gravy loving boy was in heaven.

DSC_2913DSC_2921DSC_2922DSC_2919

And with that, the 2017 NC State Fair ended for the Lintons. We loaded up and headed home. For us, the fair is about family, livestock, friends, and some food. See you next year!!

DSC_1786

 

Sheep in the Mist||Photo Shoot

There is really no purpose to this blog post other than to show off my sheep and how awesome they look in the fog. I’m so glad I grabbed my camera, and the sheep made the perfect models. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. Happy Monday!

PS Be sure to read the captions for commentary

dsc_1047

dsc_1049
Georgette stops to check me out, but quickly decides the camera isn’t safe. Time to run to her friends.
dsc_1092
It’s a rainbow of sheep…well a neutral colored rainbow.
dsc_1105
I call this her supermodel look.
dsc_1040
Paisley is always such a diva. She’s stomping her foot at me here. So. Much. Sassiness.
dsc_1111
Silver and Georgette really wishing I’d go away
dsc_1103
The white sheep just seem to be one with the misty fog. 

dsc_1095dsc_1098

dsc_1118
If the sheep were making a movie, this would be the cover. Evelyn is even bowing.

Livestock Lesson–What Picking Out a Show Pig Teaches a Kid

Once again, there are pigs in the building…or barn that is. We picked up two gilts from See Farms, and are so excited. I mean just look at that face!

dsc_1004

Picking out livestock is always a learning experience. As the boys have gotten older, I have tried to give them more responsibilities with their show animals. So, this year, I decided to give them a little more freedom in picking out their show pigs. I had already picked the two I thought were the best, but I told them they could look around and see if there was something they liked better.

They’d stare at the pen full of pigs, and discuss between themselves what they thought. Then, they’d point out one to me. I always ask them why. Why that one? Shrugged shoulders and “I don’t knows” are not an option. They also know that the pigs color or cute factor doesn’t qualify as a solid reason either. After they give me their reasons, I’ll say what I think. They also made sure to get Garrett and Dr. See’s opinion as well. We would all point out different pros and cons to the various pigs.

dsc_0918dsc_0919dsc_0916dsc_0915

After much deliberation, they decided to go with the two pigs I had originally picked out, but they had reasons for picking them now too.dsc_0922

dsc_0927

When we got home, they asked me questions about the good and bad parts of their pigs. I love that they are asking questions, and growing in their skills, knowledge, and responsibilities. They are doing more chores than ever, and make an effort to research about their projects.

They haven’t mastered it all yet, but I love how they are always looking to learn more. Showing livestock isn’t just about the ribbons; it’s about the lessons. Even if they don’t judge livestock in the future, they have learned to analyze a situation, reasearch, ask questions, and seek advice. And, that I think is more important than picking a good pig to win (although we are confident that we picked some good ones).

Most livestock lessons don’t happen in the ring. They happen beforehand…in the barns and homes of the stock show families. Those lessons made me into who I am today, and they continue to impact kids all over.

I can’t wait to see what lessons they boys will learn with their new pigs–Violet and Chickadee.

dsc_0948

dsc_1003dsc_1005dsc_1012

dsc_1028dsc_1014

 

When Did Farmers Become Villains?

IMG_20141218_244618_636

The picture of that little girl is me. I was about 9 years old and had just shown my first goat. I enjoyed playing dress-up, creating adventures with my Barbies, and watching Disney movies. In all my days as a child, I imagined many things for myself, but never did I imagine becoming a villain.

In a world of princesses, I was Belle and Cinderella, but never the Beast or the evil queen. I was the Wendy, soaring with Peter Pan, but never was I Captain Hook. As a young girl, I imagined so many scenarios and plots that took me to distant lands and allowed me to be a princess, heroine, adventurer, explorer, or president, but never did I imagine becoming a villain.

Yet, here I am at 23, and somehow, I with so many others that I hold dear, have become villains. Why? It wasn’t because of the want of power or greed. No, it was because I…we are farmers.

As a little girl, I LOVED living on a farm. For me there was no better life. I learned values like hard work, honesty, good sportsmanship, responsibility, compassion, grit, and dedication. When I looked to the other farmers I knew, I saw that in them too. So, it would come as a shock when I, along with other farmers, were grouped together and villianized.

As I grew older, I began to hear the ripples of people who condemned the farmer. And so, I decided to share with others what I knew about farming. I decided to share my passion, and my love for it. I had no idea how HARD it would be.

I didn’t expect everyone to agree with me, but I don’t think I expected people to attack me and farming with such awful accusations. All of a sudden, I was a murderer for eating bacon. I was a rapist for allowing animals to be bred. I tortured animals, had no heart, and was even a cannibal. I was compared to Hitler, told I was participating in slavery, and destroying the environment without a care. I was a villain.

But the truth was, I was just a farmer. I was a girl who had dreamed of flying with Peter Pan, and had become a farmer. Somewhere in there, though, activist groups, individuals, and the media deemed me and so many others as the villain.

When did the farmer become a villain?

How could the farmer become a villain?

Perhaps it is because only 2% of the population are farmers, and many no longer understand agriculture. Or maybe, it is because media coverage of farming drastically diminished at the same time people were becoming farther removed from farms. So, when the media did turn their attention back to farmers, they looked much different than Old McDonald. Perhaps farmers are villains simply because social media allows people to be more bold and say horrible things.

Whatever the reason, the farmer is a villain.

But, are they truly  villains?

No.

How do I know? Because I am a farmer, and I know my heart. This is not the heart of a villain. This heart has mourned the loss of an animal, broken for the ruined crop, and toiled day in and day out, all while being told it was a murderer.

More than a farmer, though, I am a person. The other farmers–they are people too. And those names that we are called and the accusations thrown our way do not fall on deaf ears. They hurt. Because farming is not just a job or career. Farming is a way of life, and if people took the time to understand and get to know us farmers, they’d find out we are far from villains. They’d find that they have us all wrong. We are so much more.

When did farmers become villains?

They didn’t. They have always been a resilient community with large hearts and a passion for the land, food, animals, people, and their families.

So, I will hold my head high. I am not a villain or even a princess or a girl who flies with pixie dust. I will hold my head high because I am a farmer.

Lambing Season- 2016-

When it comes to animals being born on the farm, I think I get the most giddy over the lambs. There is something about those little wooly babies and their over attentive mommas.

DSC_0454

 

 


Aspen was the first ewe to go. We walked outside to 2 little black girl lambs.

DSC_0158

 

Meet Lace….

DSC_0200

and Silver…

I just knew it would be a short time before the next lamb would arrive. I checked several times a day and through the night. Alas, it was like watching a pot boil. Finally, Aspen’s sister, Fiona, had a super splashy baby girl that is all diva. Meet Paisley…

DSC_0322

We now had 3 more mommas to lamb. I made my predictions as to who would go next. Of course, they decided to spite me and go in all sorts of orders. Our old girl Duff, was the third one to lamb. Once again, we had another little girl, but this one was white! Meet Eve…

DSC_0489

DSC_0364

We were down to our southdown sisters. Sybil went first and had a super black little girl. I’m somewhat partial to Sybil, so this baby was really exciting for me. Meet Georgette…

DSC_0375

DSC_0618

DSC_0366

The last arrival was Edith’s little white lamb. Once again, we had a girl. While we just missed her birth, we caught her right after, so she was still getting cleaned off by mom. Meet Evelyn…

DSC_0373

DSC_0299

DSC_0310

We are so in love with our 6 little girls. They are all very different, and have way cool wool. We can’t wait to show them at State Fair. They have already been on several field trips to visit kids and tell everybody about wool.

DSC_0556

Now that lambing season is over, shearing season is about to begin, so stay tuned! For now, enjoy all of the cuteness.

DSC_0385

 

DSC_0392

DSC_0377

DSC_0477DSC_0477b

DSC_0335

DSC_0431

DSC_0473

DSC_0186

DSC_0306b

DSC_0199

DSC_0411

DSC_0452