I think it was Wendell Berry who said that those who want “the simple life” shouldn’t expect to find it on a farm. It is much simpler to buy your food at Walmart than it is to grow it yourself, for example. It is much simpler to lay on the couch eating Doritos and watching television, than it is to go outside in the snow and sleet to tend to chickens and goats. Farm life offers many rewards, but simplicity really isn’t one of them.
We’ve had plenty of joyful moments holding newborn goat kids. To have that joy, while living the “simple life,” we could visit a petting zoo. To have that joy while living a real farm life, however, means accepting the fact that there will be plenty of unjoyful times to go with them.
Yesterday morning Cherie bundled up and went out to the barn to feed our guard dog Joey and to check on the goats. Very sadly, she found that overnight Marla had delivered triplets and that all three kids were dead. As hard as that would be for any normal human being, it was especially painful for Cherie, who loves our animals like children.
We don’t know what happened. Possibly all three were stillborn. Maybe they were weak and unable to survive the cold night. We’ll never know for sure.
Unfortunately I was stuck away from home yesterday, and wasn’t there to help Cherie deal with it. But she’s a seasoned farm girl now and has long ago accepted the reality of the death that is an inevitable part of farm life.
Farm life is good life. But it is not simple life.