Our new additions to the farm! Yup we now have cows. Angus to be precise. One pet named Merry and two yearling calf's and one yearling steer. Just so you know, I know only what I have just read in the last three days in Storey's guide to raising beef cattle. I'm not even half way through the book yet. So I've asked the cows not to have any major issues come up until I'm a little more well versed. But I've got a good support team waiting on the other end of the phone if I need them.
So far the cows don't seem too much different then grazing the sheep. They are much bigger and it is a little hard just getting used to their size. They are pretty amazing creatures and I'm really excited about this journey I'm about to take! I've wanted cows for a long time but the time just never seemed right. Its not that the timing is exactly right now but the opportunity was right. We think long and hard about additions or changes we make on the farm. This was a no brainer. Now we raise beef cows. This seems so natural to us. So "of course" we have cows. A starter herd of four so not a huge endeavour.
Last weekend I had the rare opportunity to get off the farm for the weekend I stowed away on a business trip Linda was taking to Des Moines, Iowa. It was nice to take a little break and gain some perspective. The heat has been taking its toll on me and that age old question came up: "What the hell am I doing trying to farm in Oklahoma?" I started missing home (Seattle) and began reminiscing about my old life, the one before farming.
I’ve been struggling lately with the duality of my life, the old one, a city girl, a chef, polished and clean with a taste for froi gras and expensive wine. The food I have eaten, the wine I have drunk, and the money I have spent on such things is staggering and I never batted an eye. I had a wardrobe of beautiful clothes, now I have a tiny corner in bottom of a drawer that contains two or three items that I pull out on the rare occasion that we eat out at a nice restaurant in Tulsa.
Back then my massage therapist I visited once a week told me I had a great body that I just needed to tone up a bit visit a gym a few time a week. Boy what would she say now? My muscles have muscles I have to constantly make sure I‘m eating enough protein and fat to keep up with my metabolism. The trips to Sicily in the summer and Florida in the winter are long gone. Sometimes I cry I miss that life so much. I was so clean and put together.
As the hair on my legs grows longer so does the distance between that polished city girl chef and the farm girl I am metamorphosing into. My indulgent meal now is the cold dew kissed first harvestable radish I pull from the early spring soil and eat with great relish, this is one of my favorite meals. The green onion that is finally ready to be plucked after a long cold winter that I eat enjoying the spicy freshness as I walk through the field to evaluate other crops. It’s an indulgence that is so visceral, so pure and one that I have the most gratitude towards and every spring tears well up at each bite.
I feel like I'm coming of age in my new life. I'm less concerned that people know that I didnt always have this dirt caked under my nails. That I'm no less of a person beacause my bank account is in a constant teater between positive and negative. Because in my new life that doest matter as much as smile lines do and kindness. There is no doubt this is the life I have chosen, I see myself doing nothing else, but I have to give up that inner struggle clinging to a past that somehow makes me feel like I was important. Legitimate. And that somehow now because I don’t have the nice clothes, spend a wad on dinner a few times a week and feel generally superior to others I am less than, illegitimate, inferior. But this is the inner struggle I have. If I can somehow rise above my old ideas, if that dialog doesn’t exist within me any longer ultimatly i'll be a better farmer. I can let go. That sounds so good, like swimming, like freedom. Like peace. Unshackled by the tug of the past. Just simply growing and raising food well.
I'm getting there. Slowly. But with shreds of grace weaved into the struggle that make the journey softer and sweeter.