One of the things I love about farming is working with my husband and kids. This past Sunday we spent most of the day working cattle. A couple of our young heifers had scratched their eyes on tree limbs and got an infection, this infection is commonly called pink eye. Flies will spread pink eye from cow to cow. We treated the heifers that were injured and sprayed the other heifers with fly spray to prevent the flies from bothering them and spreading the infection. It was a great day filled with lots of work and laughter. I hope I never forget the fun we had.
What I really love to see is my kids interacting with their grandparents. The kids love going to the hog barns and following their Grandma around. They love working beside her and learning from her how to care for the sows and pigs. Her forty-two years of experience amaze me, and the kids soak up the knowledge she shares with them.
Rachelle and Conner have both learned how to A.I. (artificially inseminate) a sow from their Grandma, I’m sure few kids can brag about that! Kevin and I could have taught our kids this skill but it was special for them to learn from Grandma. And Grandma loves telling them stories of teaching their dad (and their mom) how to breed a sow using this technique. She also loves telling them about what it was like to breed sows before we moved our sows inside our barns. The kids love to hear the stories, especially the one where their dad was chased out of the sow lot by a very protective sow.
Our kids often tell Grandma how glad they are to have our pigs inside our barns. They realize it is much safer for them to be around our sows inside our barns where the sows have contact with us daily. The sows are used to us and they are used to us touching them multiple times a day. The kids love working with the sows and they know their dad didn’t have it as good as they do at this age. When he was their age, he was packing seven truck loads of straw a day to the sows to bed them. He and his brother were also scooping out hog houses and throwing the manure and soiled bedding into a manure spreader. This had to be done daily, it didn’t matter if it was ten below zero or 110 degrees outside. In the summer, they had to haul water to the sows to keep them cool since they can’t sweat. That was a never ending job for them, and it was pretty dirty too.
I’m thankful my kids are able to work with their grandparents and I’m glad they get to hear these stories first-hand. This is a gift that money cannot buy and it’s knowledge many are never able to gain. I hope my kids share this knowledge with their friends as they grow so others will know why we farm like we do today and realize the progress agriculture keeps making daily in all methods of production.