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Cow Agenda

Cow Agenda

cow agendaYou think you get the cow agenda and then you don’t. This post is a little peak into some of the great insight we have into the lives of animals. It is so enjoyable to get to know the various species that we have. The cows are peaceful and placid and stand around and eat a lot. They really, really like routine and really, really detest change. That produces a stubborn streak that rears its head just when you are least prepared to receive it. This happens particularly when you have in mind the other tasks of the day that await your attention. In other words, your attention is in the future and not in the present moment. Frustration ensues because, at that point, the cow agenda becomes one of suddenly losing all sense of what they do every day at 9:00 in the morning.

Cows are, as many other ruminants, creatures of habit. Once you have them trained to a particular path or “agenda” they will pretty much follow it without too much effort on the part of the farmer. This holds true until you, the farmer, have another agenda. Being efficient in nature, you are already there in your mind taking care of business. You expect the cows to follow along with your plan. In reality, cows will follow your thoughts pretty well. Or perhaps it is body language and other communication cues that make up the other 93% of communication that humans provide that is not speech. Who knows. What I do know is that if I am not fully present with them, things begin to get a little dicey and do not go according to my human plan. The cow agenda, which is not mine and completely unknown to me at this point, takes over. I believe they must chuckle or signal to each other, “Silly human!” Once mindfulness returns, cow orderliness returns. It’s pretty simple really.

It goes like this. The cows walk up to the milking parlor everyday. The two milkers automatically go into the milking area and the rest pass by and go to an adjacent area where they get fresh hay and perhaps a small treat. On the day in question, one milker goes into the milking parlor, the other goes on around with the other cows. We have to chase her back. Then she wants to play tag or perhaps hide-and-seek or maybe catch-me-if-you-can. Following that, she decides to manifest her mule personality. Now she refuses to move at all. Sighhhh.

It is at this point I realize I am not fully present. I’m on to the next task. I am getting really frustrated. So I stop, take a deep breath, focus on the present moment and give the cow my full attention. I look at her. She looks at me. I stand back and give her room to move forward. She moves forward, giving me a larger girth than usual, and proceeds to enter the milking parlor and puts her head into the stanchion. That’s all it took.

Cows are creatures of habit. Anything different can upset them. Even if it is a simple change in the farmer’s demeanor and attention. Farming is a learning experience every day. It’s learning about the animals and it’s about learning about me.

May peace be with you always.


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Permaculture — I Gotta Start Somewhere


pond-bridge“I gotta start somewhere” comes from the realization that months have passed and Yikes! It has been forever since either of us posted on the website. Scott keeps everybody up to date on Facebook with daily goings on at the farm with the animals. And I will leave that to him as he does a fantastic job with the photos and videos.¬†What I want to do here is begin a dialog on our philosophy of farming / living life.

You know people always say about getting back to the land that it is always about the lifestyle. That is so true. Yes it’s work, work, work. But who says that work and play have to be opposites? I love the work that we do. It fulfills me like nothing else can. Being a part of the natural world is an amazing experience. If you haven’t heard the term “Permaculture” you will.

peaceful heart's doraThe basic idea is building a sustainable environment using plants and animals that already live and thrive in our particular environment. Each has a place and each supports the rest of the farm. And that includes us. All of us — our physical selves, the animals, the plants, the buildings, the water systems, the air, the earth, the critters in the earth, the fungi and bacteria — yes all of us share a symbiotic relationship. Harvest is based on what that particular piece of land can provide. No more and no less. Abundance is shared with the animals, the people and the earth. Our journey on Peaceful Heart Farm is to discover more and more about how we can support and grow that effort. We are all in this together.

bee hivesThe concepts of permaculture can be expanded to include larger land areas. In fact, I’d like to see an entire village of permaculture. There is so much that can, and needs, to be accomplished for all of our well-being. No one person or farm can provide it all. It takes a village. It takes a community living, working and supporting the whole. And I don’t mean the village that Hillary talks about. What I am writing about here is a village where each and every individual takes responsibility for and cares for their own land and people. They produce and abundance and join that with others who are also responsible for their piece. Then we can all freely look after one another. It becomes part of our culture to simply lend a hand when needed. And to ask for a hand when needed.

cashmere goat bucksThe three ethics of permaculture are:

  1. Care for the Earth
  2. Care for the people
  3. Limit the “footprint” to produce abundance for sharing and returning to the earth and people

Scott and I are getting ever closer to building the creamery and providing lots of wonderful cheese to our friends, neighbors, and fellow humans. And the additional plans for building a permaculture farm, family, and village community are bubbling under the surface. I’m so excited about my life. There is so much to do and it’s permeated with joy.