By Michele Payn
It was a steamy 95% humidity day when our heifers got out. You
can imagine my joy as I walked out to find a knocked down fence
that had stood for nearly a decade, a 4x4 corner post busted clean
off and three strands of wire on the ground. Even worse - the
heifers were nowhere to be found.
It was the week between our county and state fairs - and
panic doesn't adequately describe my feelings. My daughter's
beloved homebred show heifer Lucky, was gone and the thought of
something happening to Lucky filled me with dread. I couldn't find
a hoof mark anywhere or any clues that they had entered the
cornfield next to their pasture.
The heifers' party included me shrieking through the house in my
boots to place a panicked call to my neighbor and jumping in the
Gator with my laughing office manager to search. We could not
find the ornery moos until we were at the very back of the
property, where they at least acted relieved to see me. Thankfully,
my fear of them getting on the road or having broken legs was
unfounded; I herded them home with no problem. However, their
antics were a reminder why farm animals are kept in a fence or barn
- their safety.
While it's still a little hard to admit, chasing those heifers
is pretty funny. It makes for a great story at the dinner table.
Every time I've told my friends about the heifers' party and my
resulting panic, they laugh. The story brings to life how annoying
animals can be and how hard it is to care for them, especially when
they are stupid.
What stories do you have to share around the dinner table? We
get so wrapped up in work that it's hard to remember to share
happenings of thefarm or ranch. While I really don't really
need to relive the heifers' party, the story does amuse people -
and helps give insight on some of the challenges of dealing with
Sharing of a story isn't the only important thing around the
table - it comes secondary to the sharing of a meal (whether you
call it dinner or supper). Food should be a celebration, a time to
bring people together. Meals are about connecting, whether
it's a hot dog or gourmet feast.
"The fondest memories are made gathered around the table" is a
sign that hangs over our table. I believe preparing and
sharing a meal is an act of love - a time to connect with friends
and family. Sharing a meal is important throughout the year,
and even moreso around the holidays.
Getting people back to the kitchen to enjoy meals together is
not only important for families; it also can bring more reason to
the conversation around food. USDA has some resources to help with
family meals at
in case you'd like to share with others.
While you're at it, consider what farm and ranch stories you can
tell your friends or family when you share a meal . Bring some
levity by way of animal antics or tractor trouble to Thanksgiving
or Christmas. Yes, we work in a highly technical business, but it's
also pretty funny when you consider the amount of manure, dirt and
comedy of errors we handle. Look for those stories each day, but
keep your fences up!
Michele Payn lives on a small farm in west central Indiana,
where she and her daughter enjoy all things pink while working with
their Holsteins. Michele speaks from the intersection of farm and
food, helping thousands of people around the world through her
keynotes, books and training programs. Visit www.causematters.com
or connect with @mpaynspeaker
on social media channels. Her second book, Food Truths from Farm to
Table, is expected early 2017.
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Reproduction granted for PinkTractor.com.