Thursday, February 25, 2010

Jason Shares His Thoughts on Farming

Melissa wrote once that her passion is horses; everything about them stirs something in her that nothing else can or probably ever will replace. As such, she has endlessly devoted herself to studying them and caring for them. Largely thanks to her we run a growing and successful farm business based on caring for aged and retired horses.

My passion in life is farming; literally everything about it makes me feel good about who I am and what I am doing on this earth. It has been so ever since I can remember following my grandfather literally through each season since I was a small child. I grew up among a large, kind and loving extended family. However, of everyone in the family, my granddad always seemed to be the one who had endless time for me, and he certainly had an outsized role in shaping the man I have become. If he had a favourite grandchild amongst his large brood…..and this was never a certain thing….that grandchild was probably me. Thanks to the endless hours I spent with him, I gained a depth of old rural knowledge uncommon in children of my generation even in the community where I grew up. One of the things I remember best about the years I spent working with him every day around the farm was his slow and persistent way of accomplishing large, seemingly endless tasks (of which there are a God’s plenty on any working farm). He never looked like he was working very hard or accomplishing very much, but he was ALWAYS working…and by days end he had usually out-accomplished all the rest of us while consuming what seemed like half the expenditure of labour we required in the process !

My grandfather was an excellent farmer who got his greatest joy out of doing the work itself, no matter what that work happened to be. Since I am definitely not my grandfather in this respect….I fully detest some tasks (!!), I have to find my salvation elsewhere !

What gives me equal parts comfort, joy and peace is working within the rhythm of the seasons to correct imbalances and in so doing to make everything living thing on the farm perform more vigourously than it did before. On this farm I very much like to see my horses, cows and pastures perform with vigour ! I once compared my role on the farm to that of a maestro conducting an orchestra and I think this is an apt comparison, although there aren’t very many maestros who have hands as dirty as mine at the end of the day ! Thankfully, maestro is a necessary job description on a farm too!

So in back of my answers to unasked reader questions there (unsurprisingly) lies a question for all you readers. Which part of the horse experience brings out your passion to the highest degree ? Is your passion highest while in the heat of competition, or does some other aspect of horse keeping, or indeed life generally, bring it out more ?

Bella the dog, Mina and Jo (World's Cutest Fainting Goats) and Billy were hanging out in the sun today

Buffy and Missy

Baby, Thomas, Homer and Trigger grazing in the morning sun

Cuff Links and Bella

Lucky was taking a nap while Chili grazed

MyLight flirting with Thomas (Trigger and Baby in the background)

Sebastian and Asterik; I love how Asterik is looking so clean (NOT!)

B-Rad's alert expression made him look so cute I had to take his picture

Faune and Winston

That's Missy hiding in the hay



Lauren said...

I LOVE when my students "get" something- especially when I've been working with their horse- so I know the horse is capable and then the student asks the right way and it all happens. Thats the greatest thing ever!

Kate said...

I love the time I spend being with them - watching them do horse things - and knowing each one as an individual, with their personal quirks, and grooming and having hands on the horse, and just interacting with them in general.

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong, I love showing - but the best part to me is when my horse and I have been struggling with something for quite a few sessions and then something clicks and I can just FEEL that he gets it. Sometimes it's just softening his jaw on a canter circle, sometimes it's not taking a long distance to a jump, sometimes it's getting him to step under himself at the trot and really use his back, but after it happens, nothing can keep a big smile off of my face. =D

SmartAlex said...

The best part of horsekeeping is having a barn full of good hay, plenty of bedding, feed, buckets... having the mud controlled and the fence fixed, then just spending your day working around the farm where everything that comes up, has a solution and you have all the equipment and supplies. The horses are happy and well cared for. All is right with the world.

The worst part of horse keeping is three point hitches and/or PTO shafts. They seem to be "Gurl Proof"

Kate said...

Award for you two over on my blog - of course, no obligation!

Victoria Cummings said...

Melissa and Jason - I come to you from Kate's blog, and I am happy to read about your life. Jason, you are so lucky to have had a grandfather like that. I've just been reading Wendell Berry, and wishing that I had someone with that kind of wisdom in my family. As far as my favorite moments with my horses, there's no doubt. I enjoy being in my horse Silk's stall while she eats. I might appear to be mucking, but I'm actually soaking up her spiritual vibes. She is my guru.

phaedra96 said...

The best part of having a horse is leaning against his/her side, pressing my face into their manes and just being there. I have had the two Fjords now for almost twelve years. I hope we have that many more because I can never replace them.

Jason said...

Kate; Many thanks for the award !!

SmartAlex; Amen. Sometimes PTO shafts and 3 point hitches frustrate us boys too !

Victoria; Welcome to our blog ! Wendell Berry is a favourite of mine, probably because I see a lot of the good elements of my childhood and the community in which I was raised in his stories.

LuLo Designs/Blue Eyed Tango said...

My favorite aspect about working or being around horses is eh well ALL of it! LOL! I like cleaning stalls, grooming, watching them frolic through the pastures playing and I LOVE raising babies! I probably enjoy handling them the most. We have a broodmare that is absolutely the best to let you do anything as soon as they're born so their training starts immediately. I like riding horses and just being with them period. I also had someone like your dad (and his father) who saw me spitting one day (very young age) when he was milking our 100 head of cattle. (I always went to the dairy farm with him at my grandfather's house). He saw me spitting on the concrete floor one morning in the pit while the cows were coming in. He asked me what I was doing and I said "I'm spitting like you do"! LOL! I remember wanting to be just like him....yes he chewed tobacco.....I had no clue. Well anyway, the memories of hanging around the farm watching him and my grandfather take care of the farm was so much fun. I guess that's why I like to live on a farm's just plain good for your soul. People really do not know what they're missing out on when they do nothing but race around. That's what I call insanity!

Laura said...

Great post - I too have great memories of trailing my grandfather around the farm. By the time I came around, he just had a couple of veggie gardens and chickens. No large crops or other animals. I spent hours traipsing around, taking care of the gardens and helping him fix little things around the house/yard...

I really enjoy the cleaning and fixing stuff around the farm - I would have no problem mucking stalls and chores like that. Being a boarder doesn't allow me that sort of thing (at least at my current location). I long for a small property of my own where I can attempt to grow some vegetables and take care of a few animals.

Lori Skoog said...

Showing was never my thing. What I love, is just being with the horses, regardless of what I'm doing. Riding is just a small part of it. We have a very mellow crew and mutual admiration back and forth to each other. I totally respect all my animals and provide them with great food, shelter and care. Not too many things are more beautiful than a horse. You and your wife do an outstanding job with your farm and all the ponies look very happy.