This is for all the senior goat farmers and ranchers out there who are stubbornly farming. Rock on. You forty year old youngsters haven’t got a clue what grit it takes to be goat farming as a senior. When Art Linkletter (and don’t say “who?” it just shows your age) said, “Getting old isn’t for sissies,” he hadn’t tried goat farming at a mature age.
Those of us who are aging like a fine wine, though some compare me to a compost heap after I have spent a day in the barn worming bucks. Just remember compost heaps are still very productive and useful, and we in the mature years of our lives can still potter along and get our work done. Well, reasonably done, if given enough time and maybe a short nap in between. But, the grit and the determination to goat farm as a senior is outstanding. Let’s see these 40-50 year old youngsters walk the fence, haul hay, haul water, grab hold of a goat and hang onto for dear life to doctor it, and all the other wonderful projects these goats think of for their care, especially when your knees keep locking up or going out. That old joke “My back goes out more often than I do,” is oh so true. And, even when your body is making surprise attacks on you, you still keep on working. Ha! Let’s see those youngsters do that.
Rock on. And, you wonder why this old goat farmer keeps saying, “Rock on.” The other day Lee and I found ourselves running short on hay. This isn’t unusual, we are always running short on hay. No matter how much I figure what we’ll need, I’ll always figure wrong. Even when I have added a couple hundred extra square bales I’ll forget about something like, winter decides to linger on into June and nothing is greening up fast, or penning up a couple groups of goats for breeding early and needing to hay them the month they are penned, things like that.
We found a farmer who was wanting to get rid of the hay in his barn at a reasonable price in order to make room for the new hay he would be filling it up with, got directions, and headed out with the truck and flatbed trailer. We traveled a ways up little twisty hilly roads and spotted the barn wedged tightly between two steep hills. Even before we turned on to the road to the barn, we heard it. Hard rock music. Played the way most hard rock is usually played, full volume.
The windows of the truck were pulsating in and out from the music as we drove up to the barn. We looked for the owner and what should our wondering eyes see appear, but a little old gray headed fellow, older than us. Was this an old hard rocker turned farmer? He motioned to us to shinny on up the ladder behind him to the second story of the barn and showed us the hay he had for sale. It was acceptable and we made a deal to fill up the flatbed trailer and the bed of the truck.
Now, all this dealing was made by shouting over the loud hard rock music still going strong. Not once did he turn the radio’s volume down. At least he was playing the good hard rock of Kiss, Alice Cooper, Janice Joplin, Doors, etc., but still I was sure we all weren’t that hard of hearing to need it quite that loud.
Trying to make friendly conversation at a shout is not easy. Shouting, “NICE WEATHER WE’RE HAVING,“ just somehow sounds aggressive. But, I valiantly soldiered on shouting the niceties of friendly conversation, particularly after I picked up one of the bales to toss down to Lee to throw on the trailer and discovered the bale weighed almost as much as I did. You got to remember, I’m not exactly a petite person either.
Since I really didn’t want to embarrass Lee and the old farmer by having a woman of a decent age as myself out work them, I opted out on hauling hay to shouting out friendly conversation over the hard rock music, in as non-aggressive a manner as I could make a shout sound. Usually a good conversation topic for farmers around here are hunting and dogs. I chose dogs so I could brag on our livestock guard dogs. Well, I wanted to enjoy the conversation, too.
In order to brag on our livestock guard dogs, I asked if he had any coyotes around the area. He rolled his eyes and shouted he had a pack come in and take a calf while the cow was down calving and she couldn’t protect it. At the next Cattle Expo he went to, he mentioned this and a fellow told him to play the hardest rock music he could find and at top volume and that would drive the coyotes away. And, he proudly said, he hadn’t had any calves taken since he had started it.
I couldn’t help but think that maybe when he was at the barn he needn’t play the radio, just when he was away from the barn. But, he may have been new to hard rock, so I didn’t want to confuse him and have him accidentally lose some calves on my say so. Anyway, so much for an old hard rocker turned farmer. It was an old farmer turned hard rocker. Rock on.