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Several weeks ago, as we were pulling out of the lane, I noticed a dead Cardinal in the road. I slowed the car to a stop and rolled down the back windows so Birdy could look out and see it. She is my #tinynaturalist and finds all things–living, dead, gross, beautiful–fascinating. I knew, even though the bird was a goner, she’d still love to take a few minutes to study it from her view out the car window.
This wasn’t one of my finer parenting decisions.
It turns out the cardinal wasn’t completely dead. But was most definitely experiencing its last moments on earth. Instead of giving my miniature scientist a fascinating moment to study, it was a little closer to emotional trauma. Ooops.
As we continued up the road she began to cry big, giant tears in the back seat. She’d always dreamed of finding an injured bird. Could we please come back this way and if the bird was still there, could she keep it?
I tossed out the idea to her that maybe it would be good news if we returned home to find the bird gone from the road. Wouldn’t this mean that it had survived and flittered away? (While I silently considering calling Dan to remove the what I now assumed would be dead-bird from the road.) But no. Health and healing was not what she hoped for. She hoped for an injured bird awaiting her care and comfort on the side of the road.
animal kingdom / DAILY FARM LIFE / favorites / RAISING SHEEP
You guys. Moving is THE WORST.
On top of that, I dare say short moves–like our 5 minutes up the road-move–may even be worse because there isn’t a hard and fast deadline. Like a bunch of hillbillies, we’ve been taking loads up and down the road in the back of Dan’s work pickup for the past several weeks.
On the very first trip up the road, my wedding train blew out of a box in the bed of the truck–floating up into the air and back down again. Right in front of the tires of another truck riding right behind us. Greasy tire treads on my wedding train. Classy.
At first, when we started moving a few things out of the house, it was blissful. I’d dance around the emptied space and declare that this THIS was the way I wanted to live from now on. I didn’t need that stuff. I loved all the room and the lack of clutter. I felt free and light.
There’s a part of the county fair that I skim over every year. It’s one of the hardest parts of the fair for the girls, and for me. And it’s one of the parts that’s hardest for most people to understand. But at the same time, I think it’s one of the most unique and important pieces of the girls’ 4-H experience. Every year, I remind them of how important it is and how important their role in it is.
The reality is that the lambs we purchase in the spring for the 4-H lamb project are raised as market lambs. This means that they are usually wethers (castrated rams) and are raised to be sold for their meat. When you are raising them as a 4-H project, this means that at the end of the fair they are sold in the livestock auction.
For 4-Hers and for my girls in particular, this comes with lots of responsibility and understanding. If there ever was an opportunity to understand and honor where your food comes from there’s not much that can be matched by raising it yourself. Not only are they learning about the sources of their food, they are playing an important part in the process. The lambs are treated with respect, kindness and gentleness. They are kept clean and healthy, exercised regularly and fed properly. They are nurtured and loved and for the several months that they are in our care, given the best home possible.
But despite the fact that we all know how this story is going to end, it doesn’t make it any easier. Hearts still manage to become entwined with these four-legged woolly animals that live in our barn.