I often ask myself – do rural people – look at life differently than city people? Sometimes I think we do. When I move into the city – I do not see the same perceptions that I have known on the farm. I don’t presume to know who is right or who is wrong. But I can assume or believe I am right just as others may judge me as wrong. I see this as respect. I now realize my parents taught me that respect. I appreciate the lesson.
Puppies and kittens are born in the spring. We often found their nests in the bale-stacks. Our cats are mostly wild barn cats and didn’t allow us to touch them, but our dogs are our friends. I learn the independence of the cat just as I learn the loyalty of a dog.
We had many different animals on the farm. We lived with the animals, played with the animals but accepted the cycle of what was – is – in a matter-of-fact manner. Animals do not live as long as people. Our reality is people need to kill animals in order to eat. Like the wolf, I do not believe we are meant to be vegetarians.
We do not have squeamish stomachs or feel awful on the farm. It is just the way things are. Sometimes, when I listen to others later in life, I feel almost guilty. Should I have a different perception? Should I feel awful, mean and callous. We people cannot/should not change the laws of nature in my opinion. I am a farm-girl.
We separated the calves from those cows we milked. When I am young, cows are brought with their calves into the barnyard. The children, young and old, help. We stand around as dad takes the calf away and we scare the cow to stay away. Cows are often considered to be ‘not too intelligent’ in our world. But cows – like all other animals – including people – have instincts. I recall a time my sister cleared a wagon, to get away from a charging cow. Even cows seemed to have the instinct to go for the weakest link. My sister is afraid of cows. But she does her duties, fear or not. I applaud her courage. She could have won a ribbon in high-jump and racing that day.
Later, as I volunteered to get the cows in all seasons for a chance to pretend I was a cowboy, I learned an amazing facet about my horse. In the spring – when cows had their calves out in the pastures, I could put the calf onto my horse’s back and he carefully turned to keep himself between the cow and me. It was a heady experience to learn my horse would protect me.
Once we were home alone as our parents went into town for groceries. My sister and I were the oldest at home. Our neighbor called and told us our bull had broken loose and was fighting on the road with another neighbor’s bull. Instead of asking for help, my younger brother and I started the tractor and went – to drive between them and herd our bull back into his pasture. When I think of it now – I wonder if it was courage or ignorance. We knew our horse wouldn’t stand a chance against two raging bulls, but our tractor didn’t feel. We only did what we had seen others – adults do. There was no one to tell us not to. If need be, I learned I can make my own decisions. I don’t need to have anyone else tell me what to do.