Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Bravery despite Imperfection

I love the farm. And I love my husband, but...

Today, the weather in Wisconsin is cold. Icy rain cold with gusts of winds strong enough to knock my youngest off his feet and into the muddy freezing puddles. A few of our sheep are unlucky enough to be stuck outside without shelter temporarily, as we assumed Spring was on its way (no lambs, no pregnant ewes, don't report me to some animal welfare agency!)

My lovely husband sort of halfheartedly mentioned on his way out the door this morning that he thought we should find a way to get them in the barn today, but didn't have time to worry about it before work. And off he went. And left me here with freezing cold sheep AND children I am in charge of tending. I put my battle gear on before his truck even left the driveway. 

On my own, I went up to the barn to attempt a pen rearrangement. Knowing that I would obviously not excel at this task. I am no farm woman! This involves moving gates, water, feed, but worst of all jobs....It involves literally moving sheep around. I'm talking about CATCHING the sheep. With your arms!

One pen has a couple of lambs that we are weaning from their mamas. So they're not the happiest lambs. And we haven't really worked with them at all yet, so they are not friendliest lambs either. Cold, tired, and grumpy already, I begin my attempts at catching said lambs. By myself. Children I'm supposed to be tending are down in the house. One lamb literally leaps over my head, through one of the gates into the water pail. I can't make this stuff up. It's freezing and she JUMPS INTO THE WATER TUB! This is not a heated jacuzzi, this is freezing cold 2 feet deep water. 

Don't worry, I finally do catch this lamb (incidentally, her name is actually trouble. How apt!)

The next lamb I'm up against is a large ram lamb. I don't know how he got this big already. His mom is a crazy milk machine. And he is wild. I'm doing all of the things the man has told me to do... don't look directly at them. Wait until they are facing the corner of the pen. Move slowly. Grab a leg. Ugh. I won't go into details but this story ends with me on the ground with the buck in the arms, barely. So now I'm not just covered in icy rain or snow, I also have manure and hay stuck everywhere. I won't bore you with the rest of the details, but suffice to say that I am dirty, smelly, cold and I have a huge cut above my knee that's bleeding.

But, I did it! By myself! ALL by myself! And everyone is in the barn, warm(ish) and with shelter.

I didn't even get out of the barn before I start hearing in my head all of the things that my husband will say.  I got the lambs too worked up. Too much stress on the ewes. I shouldn't have put the weaned lambs where I put them. I forgot some important piece of the puzzle that will destroy the livestock. But do you know what he said??? He said, "Good job. That's what I would have done."

Besides amusing my family with tales of the woes of farming, which they are always asking for, I have been mulling over this all day. The way I went into the conversation with my husband looking for a fight. The way I went up and did a job that I felt under qualified for. 

A lovely friend of mine today said we should be teaching our daughters to be brave, not perfect. Brave.... Not Perfect. My fear of failure was almost big enough that I would have left sheep out in the freezing rain, for fear that I wouldn't get them in the barn the right way. My fear of failure has been so large that I have quit things, so many things. Gymnastics, piano, computer science, volleyball... if I couldn't be perfect, I didn't want to try.

What a sad legacy to pass on to our children. So whether you live on a farm or live in a big ol' city, let's find ways to teach our children to be brave tomorrow! After all, the worst that can happen is you end up covered in poop.

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