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 :).
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.
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..
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 :/.
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.
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.