Living in rural and small-town America is not a challenge, or a burden. I love living in a small town, having the ability to know my neighbors, and a genuine feeling of connectedness to the land and natural world. I can look out of my window at our garden, our flowers, the birds (and squirrels) at our birdfeeder. If that isn’t enough, in two minutes I can be in the countryside.
All that is not to say that there aren’t challenges in rural and small-town America. Of course there are, and I get to spend my days working with people from small towns all across America to address those challenges. There is nothing wrong with rural America that rural Americans cannot fix, given a fair chance.
I was recently reminded, however, about what I love best about rural and small-town life by an essay in a new journal that was delivered to our office. The Farm Girl Journal, brought to us by Editor-In-Chief Rosie Hipps, discusses the 2016 lambing season at her farm near Lyons, Neb.
Rosie doesn’t shy away from describing the hardship of lambing in a blizzard, or the challenges of working with livestock. But she does make it possible to see life from a different perspective, with reverence, responsibility, a lot of maturity for someone who hasn’t been around much more than a decade, and the unfettered joy that only a farm kid can know.
Here is an excerpt:
Lambing season is upon us, and there are adorable baby sheep popping out everywhere. Lambing season is a very big thing for us considering that we own a considerable amount of sheep. When lambing season starts we have a lot of responsibility, but in the end it always works out.
If you own sheep or are thinking of starting a herd, one thing you need to know is that sheep have an obnoxious habit of lambing in the coldest weather possible. Our sheep started lambing at about the middle of December. But after one mamma had her baby no one else went until the blizzard. Then we had lambs popping out of our ears!
The lambs we have are bigger now and we only have two pregnant moms who haven’t lambed yet. But we had some hectic weeks that is for sure!
Right after the blizzard at the coldest point possible, all of the ewes lambed. We ran out of pens, it took almost an hour to feed and water them all, but we had fun, running on the bars separating the pens while holding chucks of alfalfa about seven pounds each.
Banding the girls was easy because we only needed to band the tails, but the boys, WOW that was tough! They would wiggle and run away! But now almost all of them are banded and I have several lamb friends.
Even though it was hard I would not take back any of it. Now we are almost done and have had an amazing lambing season, barely any losses and lots of fun.
– Rosie Hipps, Farm Girl Journal
Feature image: Rosie Hipps and her brother's sheep started lambing in mid-December. Photo above, it's lambing season at Rose Hipps' farm just outside of Lyons, Neb. | Photo submitted
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