Catching photos of birds has always been a joy and pain at the same time. It seems my camera is always not on me when I see a great photo. Forget about running into the house to fetch it!
Bird watching has been a wonderful pastime for years, learned from my dear Aunt from many a walks in the woods. I started keeping a ‘life list’ of the species in my 30’s. I only have about 130 species checked off so far. The last, very exciting species I saw (and have only once) was the Bobolink!
Our feeder is filled daily with sunflower seeds. The bird bath is next to the feeder. Watching a bird take a bath will make one laugh! One day I’ll catch a photo of it. BTW, sunflower seeds attract Goldfinches as well (some folks insist thistle seed is the only feed to attract goldfinches). Truly, life is not the same without the beautiful, cheerful Goldfinch in it.
Another fun discovery for us with sunflower seed is how easily they grow all around the house and garden! We have beautiful sunflowers from the seeds the birds drop all around the house. We leave them on the stem and enjoy watching the birds, especially the Goldfinches, eat on them all through the fall and winter. Bonus! If your zinnias are left to dry out in your garden, you will see the birds eating them as well, plus they will re-seed themselves next spring. Double bonus!
There are many other birds around here on the farm than posted on this blog. These are the few that just happened to turn out rather nicely. Thought it would brighten the day to share a few of these lovely, happy neighbors that are all around us.
Thank God for birds. A friend of mine recently told me where she read “of another service rendered as the birds sing their praises in the morning…that somehow the vibrations of their voices actually affect and aid in the awakening of God’s creation for the day.”
Two of my favorite subjects. That they go so well together is a big plus for this primary farm operator who runs around the farm with a camera in her hand.
Children make animals better. Provided they are taught properly how to behave around them. The very first step is respect. Some children are afraid of animals. This is a good step towards respect of the animal. I have found that children who have no fear of animals are a bit harder to manage. Mostly because they want to get “in their face” too quickly. This can make an animal very nervous . Animals of prey, such as dogs, and cats may strike at them in defense of this nervousness. Preyed animals, i.e., horses, chickens, pet birds, will run or fly away in fear to get away. However, always keep in mind that any animal will strike out if cornered. Never corner an animal unless you are looking for a fight.
It is always smart to move slowly and quietly when meeting farm animals for the first time. Extending a hand so they can smell it is a nice way to say hello. Look them in their eye and smile. Give them a soft pet on their nose or ear. Talk happily and kindly to them. They will respond positively to all these actions. Should they look nervous, take a step back and get out of their space. Let them check you out! Sit quietly, and they will most likely come to you. Yes, a budding friendship has begun!
Animals make children better. There are any number of positive qualities animals give to children. The first is responsibility. A child must be responsible for the way they manage themselves around the animal. If we want animals that are nice to be around, we must first be nice and good to them. We are their stewards, not visa versa. Teach your child to “read” the animal, for this is how they “talk” to us. This is learned by simply watching the animal.
Children know their own comfort levels around animals. Go at their pace. You, the animal, and your child will be happier and more confident. This is our goal out here on the farm. We want the children to know how to handle themselves and the animals. So much of this learning is carried into their adulthood as they work to manage gracefully their own lives.
You are invited to come out to the farm and meet our animals. You may end up wanting one for yourself and your family!
What a silly question you may be thinking. However, it may not be so silly after all. Years ago, while at a homeschooling convention in Richmond, VA, my friend and I noticed an excited bunch of folks gathering outside the mall in the courtyard. We asked the food service fella what it was all about. He said there was a milk cow out there for folks to see! Really? All that excitement over a milk cow? How odd we thought. Everyone knows what a milk cow looks like, right? Actually, no.
A lot of years have gone by since that day. It seems a milk cow is not the only thing folks think comes from Costco, the local grocery store, or farmer’s markets. So here is another insight into our lack of food source knowledge:
Beef does not come from food markets either. Neither does chicken, pork, lamb, duck, or fish. Or anything for that matter.
This seems like a no-brainer to the majority of us. But please do not ask a youngster if chocolate milk comes from a cow!
This is not to say we all should have our own milk cows or grow our own beef. However, we would do well to remember that all these grocery store items and meats are grown with care (mostly) by many farmers. However, growing a few vegetables regardless of home location is rewarding, not to mention delicious.
All this comes to my mind today because our Herefords went to the slaughter house two days to be processed. It is one of the hardest times on the farm for me. Death is hard but it is a part of life.
Why not visit your local farms? Many farms are open to visitors. It is fascinating to experience a working dairy, or cattle farm. Have your child help gather eggs with the local egg lady. A summer spent working on one of the farms would have a lasting impression on anyone. Donning a pair of muck boots and getting down and dirty on the farm gives everyone an appreciation for the farmer that works to bring us all this good food.
Our children need to know where our food comes from. It helps us understand the hardships of growing food and feeding this big country of ours. Perhaps, just perhaps, we would cease being so wasteful and careless with our sustenance.
You are welcome to stop by our little farm and meet these critters that live here. Hold a chicken, pick a bean from the garden, toss some hay out to the animals, take a tractor ride, sit on some sweet smelling hay. You and your kids will be glad you did!
Our discussion revolved around pigs. A family member that is vegetarian expressed an interest in ‘saving’ all animals from slaughter. It sounds very noble to not want to kill farm animals for food. It is a hard, dirty business to be sure. The problem is it is not practical.
Twice a day, everyday of the year regardless of weather or personal inclination, livestock needs tending to. These are the realities of having animals be them house pets or farm animals.
But consider these ideas. Our society is transient. How many of us live in the same home our parents lived in, or even the one we grew up in ourselves? How many hours are you away from home everyday? How often do you travel? How long are you gone when you do travel? Do you have a summer home separate from your winter home? How about a summer cabin? Summer vacation?
So, who is going to feed the pigs? Day after day, year after year for all their long lives? And that is just pigs.
Yes, it is hard sending our cattle off to slaughter. I was thanked by a man recently for raising cattle for beef. He said that because he recognizes the fact that if cattle are not used for beef, they would be extinct! Because—who is going to feed the ‘pigs’?
Sometimes it is hard to tell. Most especially through the tiny viewfinder on the camera. I have taken photographs all my life. Which is now turning into a long time. I thought getting old would take longer.
The camera has no opinion of my age, though it does have a way of telling me my eyes are not what they used to be. Lighting can be manipulated, color, tone, etc as well. But not focus. On days I am feeling especially smarty, I tell folks I meant for that photo to be out of focus!
I took a photography class not long ago. The instructor said if our photos are not shared, but most especially not printed, our photography is incomplete. So I have decided to regularly post some of the photos that folks seem to like.
It would be a great joy if you would comment and share some of your photos as well. Include stories associated with photograph, if you like. Which one do you like, and why? I appreciate the feedback.
This is a legitimate question to one who is not familiar with this procedure. It seems so awful, and cruel towards the horse at first glance. Sometimes not everything is as it seems. In the horse world it is called “floating a horses’ teeth.” It can be a life saver for neglected horses because these painful, sharp tooth points interfere with eating and drinking.
Horses teeth do not stop growing over their life. The expression “long in the tooth”, comes from the horse world. An old horse is described as being ‘long in the tooth’ because their teeth grow longer as they age. Because of this growth, horses need regular dental care. This procedure is called ‘floating the teeth’. In simple terms it is like filing one’s fingernails. Floating grinds down the sharp, uneven surfaces of the teeth. Many times sharp, painful points are formed on the teeth. In the above photo, Dr. Rhode is feeling around Duke’s mouth to find the sharp points. These points are what need grinding down. They can cause pain in the mouth when eating, and could cause problems with digestion as well.
Horses are sedated before the procedure is started. In the above photo Duke is obviously not feeling too much pain. A bright light is attached to the mouthpiece that holds his jaw open. In the below photo, it has been circled in a green marker.
His heavy, sedated head is resting on a sling. A close look in the above photo shows Tracy’s gloved hand holding the pole steady. Tracy said Duke was very good because he did not shake his head from side to side, which makes for a very difficult job. I was very thankful.
After the points had been ground down, tarter was removed from his canines. This was the last thing to do. Duke’s dental appointment was over. Good, good horse. Great vet and assistant.
I am not able to post the video for some reason. It can been seen on my Instagram account @primaryfarmoperator.
History Note: Before hand tools were available for this job, it had to be done by the vet with big heavy files by hand!
I tell folks I like to take photographs. That is about as far as I dare myself to go. To call myself a photographer is just too big. To be a photographer one must know what one is doing, know their camera inside and out (not!), and how to get just the right image.
It is a big title—a photographer. Same as calling oneself a painter—oh my! It is true some of my photos have won prizes, in small shows. I do sell note cards with images I thought would look pretty on cards, and a couple photos hang in the homes of kind folks.
So the main reason I take photographs is because I cannot paint it! This post is to share with you photos I have taken. It will be a joy should they bring a smile to your face or recall a pleasant memory. Please let me know the ones you like! It is always fun seeing which ones ‘speak’ to folks. They all tell a story of some sort, yes? Share your thoughts with this amateur you-know-what.
Note: This blog was written on Saturday, May 12, 2018. In my haste to get it out, I failed to press the ‘Publish’ button. I was out of town and was not able to get it out. So, I send it now with belated Happy Mother’s Day wishes. Though late, the wishes are still heartfelt for mother’s everywhere.
Motherhood. Not the popular, most celebrated occupation; pay is not great; hours are long, and many times lonely; no gossip magazines producing glamorous photos of it; or waiting in line to interview those working diligently in this occupation. Yes, it seems to be a rather unpopular profession. It takes guts to be a mother.
Yet for those that want to embrace it to the fullest, it is an occupation of joy, riches, and times never to be had again. Life is ephemeral. Childhood is too. It is an exciting way to go into a time one will never see. That is through our children. So as you celebrate being a mommy or grandmother today, enjoy! Give this not-so-popular profession a thank you for all it has offered to you through your momma and to all it offers to your children because of you!
Happy Mother’s Day! Here are flowers from our farm sent specially for YOU! Happy Mother’s Day!!