Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Exercise Is So Over-Rated

Because I’m a full size woman, some people think it benefits me for them to tell me ways I can lose weight.

My favorite advice is when some skinny smart-aleck says, “Just stop eating”.

Wow, genius, I wish I had thought about that!

Although, I have had some good and beneficial advice through the years, nothing ever comes easy. If it did, I guess I wouldn’t continue to need it. With all the advice given, the most common denominator is get out and get some exercise.

I’ve been walking 3 miles almost every day for about 6 weeks, and to tell you the truth I don’t see what all the fuss is about exercising. In fact, I agree with the Bible, exercise is so over-rated. Well, the Bible doesn’t say it’s over-rated in those exact words, but it does say it doesn’t profit us much. (1 Timothy 4:8)

Seriously, I start out each morning dreading going on my walk. In the first place, I have to change out of my comfy pajamas before 6:00 and tug on my socks and shoes (although it has been easier since I lost 8 inches off my waist). Then I force some kind of energy food down my throat, so I will have enough strength to make it back to homeschool daughters #4 and #5. I go out into the cold, dark morning (well, so far it’s been pretty nice, but I’m thinking ahead). Then I unleash an over-excited border collie, who runs ahead and then back to me several times as I’m treading up and slipping down TWO long, precarious hills. Finally reaching the blacktop of a busy highway, I must keep the dog and myself out of harm’s way as we dodge and dart between all the cars and trucks (okay that may be a little exaggerated, but sometimes a vehicle does pass by).

Then horror of horrors! I have to come back home over the same two hills I had to climb in the first place, but this time the most dangerous hill is like a mountain standing between me and survival! When I first started walking, I literally had to stop 4, maybe 5, times before reaching the top. And even though I can usually make it to the top with only one stop, my heart begins beating so hard I’m afraid it will burst through my chest and my breath comes in quick, unsteady gasps leaving me barely conscious to make it all the way up the hill. My calves and quads begin to burn and ache (what if they freeze up and I can’t make it home?). My only choice is to stop and rest before my whole body shuts down. Seriously, how can this be good for me?

I finally make it home, stumble into the door (after watering Baxter), grab my water, and take a long, deep drink of it before switching on the ceiling fan and collapsing on the couch, where I’m forced to recover for the next 15 minutes.

And then this brings on a much bigger problem in my life. The people who know that I walk (and are responsible for encouraging me to get exercise) have turned me into a liar. I’m not kidding. The same people responsible for the trauma exercise has brought into my life, have now forced me to lie to them. The conversation usually goes like this:

Them: “So, are you still walking?”

Me: “Yeah”.

Them: “Great! I’m excited for you. Aren’t you glad you started?”

Me: “Yeah”.

Them: “Exercise is really good for you. Don’t you feel better?”

Me: “Yeah”.

Them: “Well keep it up. Don’t you feel like you have more energy?”

Me: “Yeah”.

What I want to say is “No, No, No”, I’m not glad to be exercising, I don’t feel better at 6:00 in the morning, and I don’t have more energy until after I’ve crashed on the couch. However, that would make them feel badly and make me sound like I don’t appreciate the benefits of walking. So, if you have any respect for me at all, the next time you see me please don’t ask.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Be A Mama, Mama

During calving season, we are always watchful. Although most of our cows are all seasoned pros (some too seasoned, as one is 13 years old!), problems still may arise during the birthing process. A calf may be too big, or turned wrong, or a heifer (first time mama) may not tap into her natural instinct and take care of that little wet thing she suddenly finds laying on the ground next to her.

The first calf born this season was born to a mama that had already calved 3 other times. I consider her a pro, so there shouldn’t have been any problems. And there wasn’t when she had the calf, but later, as The Farmer watched, he noticed that the calf was still in the same place where it had been born and that mama was too far away for safety’s sake. Upon further investigation, the cow just didn’t seem to be responsible at all. In fact, another cow was watching over her baby closer than she was. When the calf would get up to nurse, the cow seemed impatient and uncaring, walking away and kicking at her baby to get him to stop. Fortunately, he was very persistent and seems to be doing well now.

In the short video below, The Farmer is tagging the calf. Usually, he is looking over his shoulder hoping not to get mauled by an overprotective “mama bear”. However, even after her precious bundle of joy runs across the fence into the neighbor's woods, this unconcerned mama is more interested with chewing her cud than keeping watch over her helpless newborn.

The calf continued to run over the next hill and through the fence.

After waiting around until almost dark to see if mama assumes her responsibility, The Farmer finally decided to intervene. He crossed the fence and began “mawing” like a baby calf (he’s quite good at “maw” calls). Finally, mama’s interest awakened enough for her to investigate. She came to the “rescue” about the time The Farmer coaxed the calf close enough to the fence that he poked his head through. Mama and baby were reunited and walked away without so much as a “howdy-do” or a “thank you” to The Farmer.

As I watched this unfold, I thought about human moms in general (I always compare cow mamas to human mamas, you wouldn’t believe how much we are alike) :) This was a sad comparison, though. I thought about how some mamas have children and then seem too eager to abandon them. Having a baby is easy (I should know), but the endeavor of the day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, year-to-year labor of raising children is the most important part of parenting.

When I saw the cow look up from her grazing and ignore the situation until the calf crossed the fence I grumbled, “It’s too late to care, now”.  Nonetheless, that’s how some parents are. They allow their children to run, to make their own decisions, to watch out for themselves, while they are busy with work, or play, or whatever takes them away from their job of being the adult authority figure, and only show interest when they’re child crosses the line--gets into trouble, leaves home, or causes embarrassment to the parent.

If God has allowed you to be a parent, then be a parent. Be vigilant, watchful, alert when it comes to your children. Guard them against danger, difficulties, and error. Don’t ignore them until they cross over the fence and someone else has to chase them back. If you have had a child placed into your custody, then be a PARENT.

Protect them from being harmed or damaged (physically and emotionally)

Arm them with the tools they need to succeed

Require them to be responsible

Earn their respect by being a good role model

Notice them; they need your time and attention on a daily basis

Transfer them to their own life (allow them to move away) when you have finished raising them, by preparing them along the way

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fall Has Arrived

The days are slowly becoming shorter and the nights are dipping down into the 50’s. The official first day of autumn is just around the corner, but fall has arrived early on the farm. Our fall-calving season is in full swing, and we have six brand new baby boys kicking up their heels in the field. (Which is very exciting because steers are worth more than heifers).

We had some beneficial rains in June and cooler than normal temps in July, which left our fields green and fertile. Unfortunately, the weather turned dry and hot, and now our fields are beginning to suffer the consequences. We got less than 1” of rain the last two months.

Our cattle are on a rotational grazing cycle, which means we move them every three or four days into a fresh paddock of grass. Because of the dry weather, we have to move them more often to keep the grasses as healthy as possible. Believe it or not, the cows always tell us when they need to move on. When The Farmer jumps on the four-wheeler, if they are ready to move, they begin bawling, “Mooooove! Mooooove!”  So he lets them into a new paddock, because happy cows make happy calves. :)