November 12, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
I grew up on a beautiful farm in Chepachet, Rhode Island, that has been in my family, the Steere family, since the late 1700’s. Growing up, I loved this farm. I made forts in the woods, I played on rocks in the cow pasture, and I rode my pony for hours and hours around the property. And then one day I left for college thinking I would never look back. My journey brought me to Boston first, then Ireland, and eventually California. I studied International Business and worked in marketing/communications for Specialized Bikes and then a small commercial bank in Silicon Valley. But I was not content. I craved connection to life and to the earth. I wanted to be making a difference in the health and happiness of the planet and all the creatures on it, including us. I wanted to lessen the hold that big agriculture companies and pharmaceutical companies have on the government and the lives of the American people. And I realized, finally, that farming could provide all of those things. And I just so happened to have a farm calling my name.
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November 12, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
The other day at Polyface I spent the majority of the day working with the cows. In the morning I took part in the sorting. We were sorting out eight steers to be processed next week and 16 cow/calf pairs to move to a rental farm. The sorting corral is made up of three different areas with gates in between and a holding pen. The idea is to separate the easy from the hard. What that means is that instead of trying to get eight steers separated from the herd, we separated the herd from them. I worked the gate and had to let the right cows through but not any of the wrong ones. It sounds simple but when there are 70 cows moving around and multiple ones coming toward you at the same time, it’s a little overwhelming to not know what you’re doing. In the beginning I was nervous to make mistakes, hesitating, but as we went I had a few moments of getting it right. Moving to face the cow at the exact right moment and getting that reaction I was looking for. Communicating with the animal in that delicate dance is pure magic to me. The only thing I can compare it to is riding a well-trained horse. You’re sending subtle messages from every point of contact with the horse at the same time, and they are responding to all of them. The world around you blurs and all you can feel in that moment is you and the horse and the perfect connection. Those moments are rare and magical and the few I felt with the cows were incredible.
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