Better late then never for an update of my days off. Besides some more greenhouse planting, feeding the bees, and preparing for milking season with my goats, I spent a fair amount of time reflecting on my barn.
A great deal of my time of during this season, is spent in my barn. This week I was reminded about a conversation I had with a family member who once asked me if I continued to go to church. I told them I went to church every day. The same church that every farmer goes to; “The Barn” or in my case La Grange
This week, I thought about how similar a church must be to a minister, priest or clergy person as they approach the pew; ready to address the participants. Having grown up Catholic the resemblance for me was the noise that is created when the priest enters the church which is followed by the parishioners all rising and welcoming their speaker.

As I approach my barn, the first sight of me sets off the alarms. First Brady and Little Bear (two donkeys) followed by Dennis and the other Pygmy goats. From there, the noise of the door sets off the alarm for the rest of the dairy goats and sheep. It isn’t until I have fed them their breakfast, humming (I am my own chorus) as I work, dogs running up and down the aisle (alter boys/girls who assist) then all quiets down again. Now the only noise is that of animals chewing on their breakfast, kids bleating and an occasional mother checking in on her babies.

There are a great deal of lessons to be learned from a barn full of animals. Knowing who can get along together and who can’t. Separating them simply because it is what it is. Just like humans, there are bullies in every herd. We must realize that, learn to either walk away if one can, or figure out where they need to be so that no one else gets hurt. We want to save every animal that comes to us, but sometimes we must realize that not animals are meant to survive for more than a short period of time; teaching us something in the meantime. Sometimes sorrow, sometimes how to do things differently the next time around. These lessons are sometimes hard to deal with and even harder to share, but we build resiliency and the desire to move on and continue with the bigger picture.

As I leave my barn, I thank each and every one for what they bring to the farm, ask them to get along, and for those REALLY bad ones–they are required to do four Hail Mary’s and three Our Fathers. It seemed to be the solution growing up in a catholic environment whenever we were bad. Can’t say, however, that it is as effective with animals.

Until next week