I didn’t always live on a farm, or even a mini-farm like we have now. In fact, most of my life has been spent inside, in an office, developing software in the financial industry. But I’ve always loved God’s creatures – all of them (except flies, roaches, and mosquitoes – I can’t figure out what use they have). As a kid, I would catch tadpoles, snakes, lightning bugs, kittens, puppies – pretty much anything I could catch – and bring them home. When we would go visit my grandparents, I would spend more time sitting on the ground in the chicken coop than visiting with the folks.
This is not to say this is the first time I’ve actually experienced raising or caring for animals. I’ve raised, shown, and bred dogs (Evening Sky Labradors) and horses most of my adult life. I still miss the smell of a clean barn; the scent of fresh cut hay mingled with the musty scent of horses. I can still feel the power beneath me as a horse gathers himself for a jump and the wind in my hair galloping across an open pasture. I’m not entirely convinced those days are over; but if they are, I have many wonderful memories of exciting and satisfying times with my horses over the years.
Barry did grow up on a farm in NW Iowa. He and his family knew and lived the real meaning of self-sufficiency that so many of us are seeking today. He was farrowing pigs, milking cows, and scooping poop before he was as tall as the fence that kept the livestock safe. When his father wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and start training horses; Barry and his brother were right there. He learned so much about horses, cows, pigs, and other livestock at his father’s side. His Dad could look out over a paddock full of cows or horses or pigs and could tell you which one was about to deliver, which one was starting to get sick, and how much dressed out weight one of the cows or pigs would deliver after processing.
As an adult, Barry owned a feed and soil testing Lab and was the Dairy Herd Management Consultant for the county. If it weren’t for Barry’s knowledge and experience, I would not have attempted to go down this road. It is to his credit that we are where we are now and it is with his guidance we will achieve our goals.