Sunday, April 20, 2014

Farming Is A Bloodsport !

Another blog writer (Jenna of noted the farming is a bloodsport. Boy, I totally agree! And it is because of this violence that many people get turned off to the idea of small homestead farms. 

First of all...I've decided not include photos of blood, gore, wounds, dead animals. So feel free to use your imagination. 

It's not just what the farmer does that makes this a bloodsport. Take a good hard look at Nature itself. Livestock live by their own natural rules of behavior, not ours. Rams fight, sometimes killing one another. Same with goats, bulls, even horses. Include even cats and dogs. And small animals such as chickens and rabbits. Many a farmer has had animals injured or killed due to fighting or harassing. Have you ever thought where the term "henpecked" comes from and what it refers to? Hens will literally peck another low ranking hen to death! ..... then eat the victim right down to the skeleton. {insert photo from your imagination} Yup, the peace and joy of farming. 

"Livestock vs the Farmer" sport...... Often the farmer gets the bloody end of the stick, though the animal may ultimately end up losing the game by going to slaughter. Plenty of farmers have been badly injured, even killed, by livestock. I'm no exception, though I don't think I've been killed yet. I've been knocked about and thrown around by horses, sheep, pigs, and goats. Spiked by roosters. I've been clever enough not to own a cow so far. Been bashed, foot stomped, squashed, and bitten more times than I can recall. And I've got scars to prove it. As a human, I should be clever enough to out think my livestock, but somehow that doesn't always happen. So I tell new farmers, it's not a matter of "if" you get injured but "when" you will get injured by your livestock. And when it finally happens, it will be your own fault. Afterall, the animal is only doing what Mother Nature made it....a cow acts like a cow, a ram does what rams do, etc. 

Ah-ha you say, be a farmer without livestock. So, ya think that keeps farming from being a bloodsport? Think again, brah! Instead of doing battle with warm, fuzzy (or feathery), living things you'll be discovering that tractors have the nasty reputation of being the number one farmer mutilator and killer. Start adding in augers, harvesters, combines, shredders, mowers, and all those others items that plant farmers use and you have one highly dangerous occupation. {good spot to insert another imagination  photo} And don't forget the non-mechanical items that can injure, maim, draw blood : ladders number one! Getting injured harvesting crops using a ladder has ended more than one farmer's career. 

Firsthand I've seen action in this game, even excluding the livestock. Luckily my ladder falls haven't resulted in injury. But I've cut my finger with a hand sickle in the exact same location so many times that you'd think I'd have a tough band of scar tissue there by now. Or you'd think I'd be smart enough to wear leather gloves or stop using a hand sickle. Well, it took almost 10 years but I now put a glove on my left hand about 90% of the time. I'm 10% stupid. 

I'm not the only one letting blood flow. My neighbor hit himself in the head with a fence pounder so hard that he knocked himself out. Woke up to find that his head wound had already stopped bleeding and that the cut needed numerous stitches to close. {great photo opportunity} Another farmer down the road almost lost a finger to a fence pounder, defleshing one side of his finger. In fact, it's not uncommon for a farmer to be missing part of at least one finger by retirement age. 

More non-animal bloodletting that I've seen happen (happily not all to myself)........
{pick and choose your photos for this list}
...bloody skirmishes with barbed wire
...hand picks bouncing sideways into one's foot
...cut fingers from pruners and harvesting knives
...falls off of truck beds
...falls out of trees
...injury, and even one death, from silos
...scalp tears from hair getting caught in equipment belts
...toes amputated by haying equipment
...hay fork through the foot

So if you want to take up farming, a first aid course is a grand idea. Keep a well stocked first aid kit. Keep a cellphone with you for calling 911. 

I won't let the blood aspect of farming keep me away from this sport. I love it. I get a deep sense of satisfaction working a small farm. 

1 comment:

  1. Reading about the injuries and accidents serves to remind all of us to think twice when we are doing things that might go awry. I also have been bitten, stung, kicked, foot-stomped, thrown in different directions, stunned (carelessly "forgot" to duck things), and bled from assorted causes, but I had a part to play in every causation. Especially when I'm hurrying, tired, or thinking about something other than the task at hand. Thanks for omitting photos as proof. No Doubting Thomases around here!