About Me

Kentucky, United States
Fourth generation beef producer, wife, mother, 4-H & FFA supporter, agriculture advocate, Christian, WKU alum, love livestock shows, basketball, college football, Dallas Cowboys. All things agriculture.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Funny Farm: (My article from Summer 2012 HoofPrint Magazine)

A Picture Tells the Whole Story

     After nearly 25 years of marriage you think you know someone, but my husband still amazes me with his big heart when it comes to children and animals. So when you put the two together, his ideas and ideals often change. As a life-long beef producer Tim was never very open-minded about bringing any other animals on the farm, primarily because our stock barn was perfect for the cattle operation and we didn't need to be changing anything. Add two children very involved in the livestock industry and you can guess how tough his stance was on beef cattle only. Our daughter began with lambs at age six and our son had his first goat at age five. There's nine years between our children so Ashley had a small flock of sheep from her show lambs and we would breed them and raise more lambs for her to show.  After six or seven years, she was ready to sell them and I think we may have had one or two years before the goat herd began.
    Now through most of those early years we didn't have to change much at our barn because we didn't have many of these non-beef animals and they all fit snugly into the existing sheds. There were those moments when working the herd or having a sick cow or needing to shelter a cow/calf pair that the sheep would get in the way. Then after we had goats, pens were built inside the main shed of the barn, taking up a great majority of the barn. That's when we heard the grumbles of 'we don't need these animals here'. But a few months later the kids would be in the show ring, working hard and generally doing a good job, and Tim's attitude toward those non-beef animals was good. 
     Being a high school agriculture teacher, Tim is always encouraging his students and other children to have livestock projects and offering to help because he knows the true value of the experience of caring for an animal. Through the years his stance on other animals at the barn has changed drastically. We have goat pens in the large shed and a 12’ by 20’ concrete pad was poured in one shed for pig projects.  
     However, most of our friends and peers have continued to give him a very difficult time when it comes to the goats. Our friends often remind him of the moment at the Kentucky State Fair when I took a picture of Tim and Ashley’s goat ‘Watermelon’. Tim had been leaning on the dumpster at the end of the ring, holding the halter on ‘Watermelon’, when the goat jumped up with front legs on the dumpster and looked at the show ring too. I captured that picture of both looking across the dumpster and after that picture they both turned and looked at me and I got that picture too. Both Tim and ‘Watermelon’ looked at me with a similar look…priceless and forever funny to our family and friends.
   "Of all our inventions for mass communications, pictures still speak the most universally understood language." A very good quote from Walt Disney which helps explain that no matter how much Tim may complain about having goat pens in the barn, his smile and dedication to his children tells another story.

     This article was recently published in the Summer 2012 volume of  HoofPrint Magazine and I thought it was an appropriate time to add it to my blog since today is the opening day of the Kentucky State Fair. I have so many wonderful memories with family and friends of livestock shows, both ringside and at the stalls at the state fair that I want to encourage everyone to make the time to attend and see Kentucky's 4-H and FFA members with their projects. I hope to see you at the fair!