So much has happened, where to start!

Went to the conference, had fun.  It was the Farm Bureau Young Farmer’s Conference.  The whole weekend was pretty much based on farmers defending themselves against all the bad media about our food supply.  I was nodding my head agreeing one minute and feeling very frustrated the next, over and over again.  Brian and I were discussing it on the way home and he said he understands but if that’s what I really believe than I need to be one of the people standing up and talking about it.  I’m not sure if I’m going to take that on yet but if I do I’m going to get my facts straight before I go gabbing about the whole topic.  It WAS great getting to know some of our fellow farmers better, I’m really looking forward to getting more involved! 🙂

I really missed church on Sunday.  I think that is a big turning point for me.  First I felt like I SHOULD go, then I made myself go, then I enjoyed it, and now I miss it! A lot.  I’m still tossing around the idea of another blog and I think I will do it at some point.

As for the sheep: first I got a report saying they assumed it was Chlamydia so I learned all about that.  Then I got a final report that the Chlamydia test was negative but they did find some Strep (aka Streptococcus) so they’re going to blame it on that.

…Results of bacterial culture suggest that Steptococcus may be the most significant organism involved in this placentitis.  Such a bacterial abortion is usually sporadic in occurence.  Given the history of multiple abortions in the group, management factors predisposing to bacterial placentitis should be investigated…

I’m trying really hard not to take the part about management factors personally.  I know that seems silly but I much preferred the idea that this was a problem we did not have much control in creating.  I’ll keep you posted when I know more.  No more lambs yet, 4 ewes to go and one looks like she’s very close.

In other news, we weren’t home very long on Sunday and Brian slipped on the stairs and sprained his ankle.  I was really scared!  I took him to the emergency room.  Luckily it’s not broken but he’s off work for at least a week.  It’s a good thing we have a menagerie of pickup trucks since he can’t work the clutch in the manual one.

We still have the “stray” dogs.  I’m not sure how “stray” they are anymore since they’ve been living in our shop for close to a month.  The girls at work named them today, Johnny and June (Junebug).  I liked it.  I liked Bonnie & Clyde originally but we already have Bonnie the sheep.  I took Junebug in and had her spayed today.  It was sad because I knew she was probably pregnant.  Johnny’s not fixed and she was in heat when we found them.  We waited to spay her so the blood vessels wouldn’t be so engorged.  Sure enough, there were 10 little pups in there, about as big as my finger nail or smaller.  It wasn’t the best feeling but it’s definitely the best thing for the puppies.  I couldn’t stand the thought of giving them to the type of people who take “free” puppies.  And for Heaven’s sake, can you imagine us with 15 dogs!!!!  I can see it now, “Becker’s Dog Farm”.  Umm, no.

I had one of those moments tonight that I love.  I was standing in the sheep’s hay feeder forking hay around and looking out at the pasture in the dark.  I wasn’t particulary looking forward to doing chores but once I was out there it was so peaceful and nice.  The dogs were playing and one calf was making faces and sucking on the gate like a pacifer.  Our one lamb is growing really good and getting strong, tonight she was making a game of trying really hard to jump on her Mom’s back.  I was thinking we should name her Joy if we keep her because she really does lighten up the mood in the barn.  Ahh, the farm life.  😀

Anything I left out that you want to know?  How’s things for you?  What kind of moments do you cherish?


11 thoughts on “Oh!

  1. Lindsay

    Wow you have been busy! It is crazy how life catches up with us eh? I cherish a quiet, sunny Sunday afternoon where you feel sluggish. Where you have to option of doing whatever you want….taking a nap, making a big supper, visiting with family.

  2. The Mom

    Sounds like lots to do. I’m interested in what the farmers had to say. Sadly, they seem to be thrown in the middle of a crappy situation. On the one hand you have people who want responsible, sustainable food and on the other you have big business making it harder for the farmer to provide that. I’m sure it makes them feel defensive and as if they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. We need good farmers desperately though. It really is sad how far from our roots we’ve gotten. There isn’t any easy solution to it.

  3. Lisa

    My daughter is running for Dairy Princess so she was doing research online and found web sites that were horrible about milk being toxic and poison and farmers negatively portrayed, I can’t believe people still can’t see truth. On positive note I might hate going to do chores sometimes but I always relax and enjoy them once I get started. De-Stresses me to use yuppy phrase!

    1. marriedtothefarm Post author

      One of the interesting notes at the conferences was the stats on how many people haven’t been on a farm in x number of years. I was startled by how many haven’t visited! No wonder they buy those stories! Good luck to your daughter.

  4. Farmer's Daughter

    That’s interesting about the sheep. I’ve been reading quite a bit about strep infections, since I got tested for strep (but it was negative!) and it seems that it’s very unlikely for human babies to become infected, and then die, from strep that they catch during birth. Something like less than 1%. Don’t know how the numbers compare for sheep and lambs, but it seems really unlikely to me that such a high percentage of your lambs would die from strep infection, and so quickly that they’d die before you found them. And I thought some of them were born alive, not all abortions, right? But I’m no sheep expert.

    I’m glad you went to the conference. Agree or disagree, it’s great to learn about all that stuff. Here’s hoping for good luck with the other lambs!

    1. marriedtothefarm Post author

      That’s good that it was negative, no IV now right? From the little bit I’ve learned strep is about the same in sheep, it really shouldn’t explain this number of losses. I think the lab was considering our losses abortions since something obviously wasn’t right with them from the start. Of the 3 lambs tested one was clearly dead in the womb for several weeks and the other 2 did breathe before they died. I’m unsure as to whether the lab was trying to place definite blame on strep and just didn’t know why, or if they just couldn’t find anything else to blame. I suspect the latter. Now that we have the 2 live lambs I’m back to thinking maybe it was just a long string of coincidences.

  5. Angie

    Hi Jena,

    I would be interested in hearing more about the conference. The conference we recently attended was really focused on fighting big agribusiness and concentrated animal operations. These are not farms – as we think of farms – these are corporations running farms and paying a non-living wage to the workers, as well as polluting the surrounding rural environment. Unfortunately, a lot of people want cheap food and don’t ever stop to think where that food comes from and why it is so cheap.

    We heard a lot about genetically modified seed too. I’ve been following this issue for several years now – and the thought that people can’t save the seed from year to year just outrages me. Large corporations shouldn’t be able to ‘own’ our food supply.

    1. marriedtothefarm Post author

      It is my hope that people like you and I can pull together the two sides of this issue that desperately need to be brought together.
      Part of my frustration was that as I sat and looked around my table the people I saw were not part of the operations you’re talking about. Everyone I knew at the conference owns their farms and are not contracted by giant corporations. I felt like standing up and pointing that out, why should we defend those big companies when they are our competition!? On the animal side of things I obviously want people to seek out their own food sources and buy from local farmers like us so I’m not going to ask them to have unquestioning faith in the food at the grocery store.
      It is a little tougher when it comes to crops and the GMO seed issue. I am exactly like you in that my blood boils when I think about people not being able to save seed, the seed varieties being lost, and innocent farmers being prosecuted. That part in Food Inc. has Brian and I both pretty worked up. However, we do grow GMO seed on our farm. I hate it how the anti-GMO side of things makes it out to be like this horrible choice that farmers make to grow this stuff. You have to be fairly well educated on the topic just to be able to tell if the seed you buy is GMO or not. Frankly, there are not many other options any more. We’ve talked about doing non-GMO but there are very few options for weed control. Companies are not researching or developing products for the non-GMO crops because there is almost no market for them. Also, it is hard to say whether the multiple treatments needed with non-GMOs are better then the super efficient Roundup applications on GMO crops. At this point I feel the effect GMOs have on seed varieties/saving/etc is by far the worst part about them.
      We do have friends who attended the same conference who farm organically and keep and sell seed. I’d like to talk with them in detail if I do indeed delve into these issues more thoroughly. I’d like to know how all this affects them and what they plan to do to protect themselves. If we convert to organic I would be greatly relieved to be free of Monsanto. I hate them so much, it makes me feel so good to know they are getting our money every year (NOT). I think other farmers feel the same way but Monsanto has backed us in to a corner.
      Hope all this makes sense, I didn’t take much time to organize my thoughts so I may have rambled on. I’d love your feedback.


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