Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hibernation

Oh, it was so necessary :).
I just spent the entire day up in my room, doing nothing of real importance. I didn't wake up until 11, then I was waiting to hear when Julie wanted me over. Rain was downpouring all afternoon, and nothing wound up happening with friends.
Instead I downloaded music, caught up with everyone's posts, and just basically vegged out. I don't think I've spent a single day of summer this way, until now. No work, no leaving for town or for a friend's house. I just hibernated like a little bear :).


Country Roots.
I've mentioned this before, but without much elaboration. I live in a small town as the farmer's daughter. I can recall being not much more than three feet high, navigating around the barn searching for kittens and jabbering on to calves in the nursery. I practiced to become a tight rope walker on the cement feed trough. Thankfully, never falling. Hmm.. maybe I should conjure up that old dream, eh? Kidding ;). Recently I've even discovered that I don't despise all country music. I loved it growing up, but then I deemed it stupid and uncool. Alot of it kind of sounds the same, and isn't too fantastic. There are plenty of songs in the genre that I cannot stand. But I'll admit there's a few songs I'm partial to, including "She's Everything" by Brad Paisley, and "Big Green Tractor" by Jason Aldean. When you live this kind of life, you can relate to the music :P. These are my roots, this is my life, for the time being.
Needless to say, I know how this whole system operates. Farmers have got to be in the running for the hardest workers there are. It varies from farm to farm, but for example my father wakes up around five o'clock in the morning to round up the cows from the pasture. Then he milks them in the parlor, releasing them to eat in the freestall barn, lets them out to wander in the field again, and cleans the barn. In the meantime, there are plenty of other chores to do, taking care of the calves, fixing machinery, (which always breaks down), tending to crops, and whatever else there is to do. It might seem like I'm exaggerating, but there is always something that needs to be done. Unless it's for a meal, I never see my dad inside of the house during the day. Around five in the evening, it's time to milk the cows again, so he rounds them up, takes a few hours to milk them himself, and sets them back out to graze.

So.. why does this matter so much? Because the income they make for the work they put out could constitute as a joke. Compensation is determined by hundredweight of milk. So, for every 100lbs of milk we produce, we make approximately $10-11. That might not seem bad, since cows produce a good amount of milk. However, if you compare this payment to the production costs and the revenue loss through taxes and taking out loans, it's pure insanity. Farmers are receiving the same prices that were in place back in the 1970's. But everything required to efficiently run and maintain the farm has risen to jaw dropping levels. Gas does not cost the same as it did in 1970. Neither does grain, fertilizer, veterinary bills, machinery, ect. The cost of living has escalated from that time, but the milk prices continue to be low. Sure, sometimes they fluctuate, and we get a glimmer of hope that we finally have a fair price, but it never fails to descend back into its slump, where it remains the majority of the time.

Something's got to give. Family operated farms are slowly becoming a thing of the past, with factory, industrialized producers are the only ones who have the financial means to stagger on.

I know that if we lost our farm, our entire livelihood would be drastically changed. Agriculture is who my Dad is, he's spent his whole life on this farm, which my Grandparents had before him. Both of my parents would be considered too elderly to really join the workforce. If they happened to land a job, it wouldn't be one truly capable of supporting them, helping me with college, and paying off our debts. The only option that sheds an ounce of hope is if the government takes action. That's how this is all regulated, anyways.

The federal government sets the prices, that's how it has been since the days of The Great Depression. The link I'm missing is how they can demand the taxes they do, understand the cost of production, and still set these pitiful prices with a straight face. These people, small scale farmers, are being cheated if you ask me. I've done research on this lately, but I still have plenty more to do. I think I might try to find a way to take action, on some level.

I apologize if this was boring to read, but I thought I should take a break from just rambling on about myself and talk about something more...crucial. Hahah :).


On a sadder note..
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Rest in Peace, Toby.
I can't even remember how long I had this cat :(, we rescued him from certain death in the barn during my childhood. He was a mischievous little kitten, playing far too close to the mechanical gutter cleaner, so we brought him in. There he became the typical housecat, lazing about, getting nice and plump :). He always had a character about him, like I kind of felt like he knew what was going on, but maybe I'm just crazy. Either way, I adored him. Awhile back we were forced to send him outside, because he was destroying furniture, but I think he wanted to be outside. He was thriving out there, becoming losing weight, without starving because we did leave out food for him. But the outdoors just gave him more room to roam, and he mingled with the barn cats. His coat was shinier, and he was still friendly when approached. Just the other week I was out on my hammock, and he came strolling by, rubbing his tail against my fingers, scratching his face on my knuckles. The cause of death we believe to be injuries from a car. My dad was him hunched over next to the road, looking miserable, but he didn't think much of it. Later that day, he found him outstretched, lifeless, by our woodshed door. A car might have knicked him, maybe causing internal bleeding, I'm not sure. Either way it was terrible news, and I shed some tears over it. I'm going to miss that cat :/.

Well,
I don't really want to end on such a depressing note, so here's a video from the fall of Amanda and me riding a rollercoaster at the local theme park.
video

I hope everyone's having a lovely week. I'm considering tonight's post as the second of August, even though it's techically Monday morning since it's past twelve. Oh well, I'll attempt to write again tomorrow anyway.

Olive

6 comments:

natalie said...

Oh, lucky! Your day of hibernation sounds like the majority of my summer unfortunately, haha :P But I guess it is nice to just be able to sit back and relax all day every once in a while. The bear picture was pretty adorable :D

Even after all this time, I still find everything about your life living on a farm so interesting! It does sound like extremely hard work, which I could probably never, ever do, and your dad must be superhuman or something :) But that's terrible that farmers are being cheated out of their money after all of their hard work, and I really hope that everything with your family continues to run smoothly!

Awwww, R.I.P. Toby )': He looks so adorable in his little costume :) It sounds like he had a really great life with you guys though, from becoming a pudgy house cat to going back out and living in "the wild". I'm sure he was a very happy kitty, but that's still so sad about his death )':

The video was awesome though :) All of the colors of the leaves on the trees were so pretty! And yay for super frequent posts :D

Hannah said...

Mmm...hibernation. Isn't it glorious? It always makes me feel murky and even more sleepy, but I never regret doing so :P

As Natalie said, your life on the farm still fascinates me. Living in Kentucky has allowed me to be around agriculture and the people that surround it, and I've even had the pleasure of living in a little farm house for several years; however I've never really had a taste of the life itself.
It's such a shame that the government overlooks farming and the families that run it, for they really do backbreaking work and deserve some notice and appreciation.
That's absolutely ridiculous about their wages. An outrage!
I really do hope things turn out for the best. I know it will, for you all deserve it.

I'm so sorry to hear about Toby!! I know how that feels, and I know it feels awful.
He looked so cute in his little costume. I know he's in a nice little kitty place now :)

Love the video :D

xo,
hk

Georgie said...

May your kitty rest in peace. :'(

Helennn Louise said...

Now that describes the best day ever. A day of chillaxing. HEAVEN.

And oh no, Toby! I'm sorry about him because i remember that blog when you were panicking about him being lost! *huggles*

And wow, going to theme parks seems to be what everyone is doing!! I wanna go *pouts*

Helennn Louise said...

P.S I love the new makeover :)

Nicole Linette said...

I love your new blog layout very much, down to the quintessential olive for your signature :).

That must have felt good, taking a break to bum around since you're always on the go. Ah, summer ♥!

I agree that farming is probably one of the hardest, yet most honorable, professions there are. I know for sure I wouldn't be able to handle the farm life! I mean, I have a few miniature horses but that's not the same, haha. I've been mulling this over a lot lately as well, like why do you the people that run America earn so little? Not to be overdramatic, but the way you explained how the government has set wages that haven't increased with the times, is cruel. I thank you, your parents, and your family for contributing so much!!

I'm also really sorry about your cat :( It's always tough, but from what you've said he had a beautiful life. May he rest in peace.

The video was great, especially the panoramic view of the gorgeous autumn leaves throughout! I guess that's a reason to like New York ;) Hahaa I've considered taking a video on a roller coaster, but I'm too afraid that I would let my camera go or something awful like that.

Now for your next post! I love how often you're writing :D
peace&♥,
nicole.