I haven’t been writing blogs lately because I haven’t felt like saying anything nice. You know that thing your parents would tell you, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything”? Well, I am trying to stick by that rule. Nobody wants to hear me complain about how ridiculous living in the middle of nowhere with zero human company besides your traumatized kids and exhausted husband is. They have better things to do than read about that, and I have better things to do than write about it.
I was trying to think of something nice to say, and I thought of the clouds that have been passing over the valley. They are big, fat and heavy-bellied. They throw blankets of cooling shade across the plains and then up over the hills. The little dust devils that cross the dry ground are not so hot any more. The ghostly brown waves of dust that pass over the land in the evenings don’t blow hot air and dirt in through the window screens and little cracks of the truck doors–just dirt and cool air. Air that almost feels like it carried rain a few miles back. It was still hot at mid day, and my shoulders still burned walking to the dairy at 4:30 in the evening, but you could tell that Summer is coming to the end of her line and Thank You God. There is almost nothing as miserable as Summer in California.
The calf is weaned, but I hope to buy another to raise with her, and little #8 looks pretty good. There was a heifer I was thinking of buying, but I found out a steer calf has been nursing off her for the past few months, and that’s never a good thing for a dry heifer. Being a pacifier cow is not a good idea, and I am annoyed that she didn’t have the sense to kick him off. Oh well. A calf is cheaper anyway.
And the spotted bull calf at the dairy is getting big and bullish. He isn’t quite weaned yet, but he will soon be, and move into the pregnant dry cow herd where he can’t knock up any of the underage heifers he is currently running with. And then next year sometime the plan is to breed him to Cloud and see what sort of pretty calf we get from two spotted, very handsome Jerseys. The are both outstanding looking animals, with nice shape and color and shiny coats. #8 looks quite plain compared to them both but she has a couple flecks of white on her, and most importantly, she is very healthy and eager and her mother is a pleasant and healthy cow with a good udder. Are you bored yet? Sorry. I don’t have much to talk about anymore besides cows. Not that I don’t like cows, and talking about cows. It beats politics by a long shot. But really, out here, I find myself with not much else to talk about besides, well, cows. And chickens. And goats. I could talk about the kids, but I feel bad for them and miserable about parenting, so I wont bring it up. I don’t really think that this is a healthy life for farmers with kids. This is not even that much of a farming life really–more of a ranching life. A pioneer life. A wild West life torn right from the pages of some novel that I probably wouldn’t have read because frankly, I never cared for Westerns. And I still don’t.
I like Easterns, thank you very much.
My chickens will not be carted out by hand, and my truck will replace the wagon, but I can understand these folks for sure. Trying to make a better life–to get a start somewhere fresh. Not knowing quite what to expect ahead, but being determined to face it in the hope it may be better. A better future. I get all that. Been there, done that.
It would be nice to stop pioneering and start making a home. Someone said recently when I told them that we have moved 9 times in 8 years, “always looking for that utopia, huh?” And I said “No. Actually we really liked a couple of places but we couldn’t stay”. You can’t have kids in a one room studio apartment in a building where you can hear your neighbor snore through the wall. And you can’t live in a house that comes with rules like, “you must get permission before friends spend the night” even though you are married, responsible, and your friends are all over the age of 10, a place where you are not allowed take any of the decorative plates off the wall. Or the house that cost your whole paycheck to rent when you couldn’t find subletters? Or the apartment with mildew where a neighbor’s boyfriend tossed a melon-sized rock through your window? Can’t stay there either. And you most certainly cannot stay in the FEMA trailer on that lovely property owned by a woman who hates your guts for no apparent reason. And New York City wouldn’t have you even though her dance school would–even New Jersey wouldn’t have you. So you move along. People, that is what you do! You move on and look for something better. And in the process you may get confused about things a little, and forget what you were looking for:
Not in the city–you can’t afford to have a life in the city anymore, with kids and no college-degreed sort of career.
Not in the suburbs–leaf blowers and lawn mowers and the sound of someone stealing your bike at night. Miles of postage stamp yards. No thanks.
Just somewhere you can have your kids and animals and make a living with killing yourself. This is not it. Maybe you will be a gypsy forever, but you know this isn’t it. It’s not your place.
So you move. Again.
p.s. Not yet of course. First you train a new manager. Then you move 😉