Contributed by Chad and Jodi Ray, Ray Family Farms
It has been a tough start to October here at the farm. Checking on calves in the pouring rain, walking through the mud to find a dry spot to feed pigs, drowned turkeys and chickens, and more worry than a 6” rain gauge will hold are all things we went through in the last few days.
Weathering storms is nothing we haven’t done many times before. Just as in life it’s the worrying part that drains you the most. The last thing we want is a calf to be born during a down pour. That’s not to say death is imminent. Odds are it is not; however we did lose a calf. It was a twin. We aren’t sure if she was born dead or the weather had a effect. It doesn’t really matter; the pain is still the same.
Many farm friends of mine have had a tough week. It is part of our life. We find comfort in talking to one another and giving each other the support we need. The sun will shine another day.
If you ask any farmer if they could get the general public to understand one thing, I believe they would say understanding. We want others to understand the love, the care, and the sacrifice the farmer makes for the animal, and the animal makes for the farmer. Most importantly we wish for people to understand the sacrifice of both for the consumer.
Farmers are a tough breed. I know many people — farmers or not — that are extremely tough. Our good friend Matt is battling cancer. Week after week he laces his boots up and fights the fight for himself and his family. TOUGH. My good buddy Joel works the late shift as a Raleigh policeman and volunteers at the K-9 unit on his days off to be a part of that team one day. TOUGH. The 4-H mom in her first year of teaching, after years of driving the school bus, being a TA, getting her masters degree at night, and raising 3 kids. TOUGH.
The world is full of tough people. It is almost necessary to fight, struggle, fail, almost give up, pray with all your might, and not take no for an answer to be something in this world today. If you aren’t having to do those things, it’s because someone who loves you very much already did it for you.