The doo-gooders in Washington felt the need to save farm kids from having to do too much and were ready to pass laws that would save them. They changed their minds when the backlash grew overwhelming. I suspect they are just waiting for a time in the future when they think that no one is looking.
I grew up on a farm and did chores. I’m not going to tell you how they formed my character and improved me as a person. They did, but the main point is that family farms require all-hands-on-deck and for those who have this bucolic, green only, organic, rosy vision with only the adequately-compensated doing all the work, blink and rethink.
My “job” on the farm–a 20 acre corner lot that housed my family, numerous chickens, calves, and at times pigs–was to feed the calves. My dad bought them from a small dairy up the road. Step one was me riding home in the back of the truck with the little ones. Yes, IN THE BACK OF THE TRUCK. It is dangerous. It was the 60s. Choosing between the sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll of Haight Ashbury and Woodstock, which led to the reemergence of fungi normal to the third-world, I’ll take riding in the back of a truck.
Being just a few weeks old, the calves have only taken an udder so they can’t drink from a bucket or a trough. My dad was a great guy, but I get all my cheeeeeeeep genes from him. He refused to spring for big plastic bottle or buckets with a nipple that they sold at the co-op. That left it to me to teach them to drink.
Here’s how you teach a baby calf to drink from a bucket. Mix the milk replacement in a bucket. Let the calf smell it. By the next morning they are hungry and ready to climb over the fence to get to you. Let them sniff, snort, and realize they can’t drink it. Then, here’s the magic, you submerge your hand in the bucket, let your wiggling fingers break the surface and tickle their soft little nose. They will latch on and suck. (At this point, you are made acutely aware of their sharp milk teeth and strong jaws.) After a day or so–morning and evening feedings–you can pull your fingers out of their mouths and they will drink on their own. Now they can drink the milk replacer from a bucket and drink water from a trough.
And yes, I AM horrified by both the glasses and the pants. Thanks for asking.
Have a great week. Go out and teach someone something!
Take care–Susan Kaye