At Home in the Barn

Yesterday my mom shared with me something that made me so nostalgic. You can find it on my Facebook Page, but I felt just sharing wasn't enough. So, last night I started to write about why I feel so at home in the barn. I got a couple lousy paragraphs in and found it so hard to continue. Why? Because those feelings and emotions are nearly impossible to capture…

How do you explain the feeling of rolling out of bed every morning to feed before school, walking to the barn, half awake, in muck boots and pajamas?

Or what it’s like to sit in school wondering for hours if your goat decided to kid? Then, lying to the office ladies the next day because having a headache was a better excuse for being late than bottle feeding a baby goat to make sure it survived the day. And when they don't survive? Well, I guess that's life and we farm kids learn that early. 

I found it so difficult, to share the bond between FFA members, that started out in 4-H together and grew to be family after years at the county fair.

Help me friends, to explain the excitement of bringing home a new show animal. Or witnessing birth on the farm. Then, watching it grow day after day. Working hours on end to condition skin and hair. Feeding just the right combination to ensure just the right amount of muscle expression and the perfect touch of cover (though we all know that’s harder than it sounds). Taking another turn in the never ending cycle of cleaning out pens. Making laps around the yard, daily exercise for the animal and yourself.

Then at a show, how can I possibly grasp the pure joy or the devastating blow, that simply comes from one man’s opinion?

How do we explain to our nonfarm friends that the time, money, energy, and dedication is absolutely worth it? Whether we win the whole show or walk out of the class empty handed, every single time, it is well worth it. If I make a large profit or none at all; it’s still worth it.

It’s impossible to capture the moments shared with friends simply looking at livestock. My friend Jordan often jokes about what the normal people would think of us, just standing there, looking at pigs. It may seem odd. But some of the best conversations, laughs, and memories start out that way.

Finally, how can I put into words the peacefulness of the barn after sundown? When the work is done, the floor’s swept clean, the livestock are calm, and you can’t help but just stand there for a moment. Now that I’m at college, away from the barn for a while, I know, I can’t find that kind of peace anywhere else.

Though much of it can’t quite be explained, it’s safe to say, we feel at home in the barn. It’s the one place that combines our accomplishments and losses, our early mornings and late nights, best memories and hard times, decades of hard work shared between generations on the farm, and our most valuable possessions, our animals.

I know one thing for sure, I can’t wait to get back to the barn. 

Comment and share with me where you feel most at home! What's your "barn"?


Julia Grace

Julia HayComment