My grandma is 97 years old. She is amazing, not just because she's 97 and still with us, but also because she's still lovely, loving, kind, caring, and offers opinions on everything from politics to education to agriculture. She's a life long farm kid/wife, living in the same house she was born and raised in still to this day.
I love her.
One of the things I love the most about her is considering all she has seen in her life time. She rode a horse to her one-room grade school. She taught school in a one room schoolhouse in between times that she needed money to go to college. In a time of the Depression, she went to (and finished) college. She was a WWII bride, sending her beloved to Europe only after marrying him in Tennessee, far from home. He came back, and they raised kids during the 50s, and in the 70s, watched her daughter (my mom) send her new husband (my dad) overseas to another war in Vietnam. She fought for her community, trying to keep a landfill out of the area, when it was coming to town. She gardened and canned and "did corn" when it wasn't cool and hip. She still makes one heck of a pie. She has purged her house of unnecessary things, and has written on the backs of photographs so we won't forget our family.
Can you tell she's amazing?
Anyway, I fear that this time in which she is currently living, although she has lived through a lot of changes and tragedy, is upsetting to her. We live in a fast world, as we all know, full of folks giving opinions and suggestions about things they know not a lot about. My grandma reads up on this through her US News and World Report and Time Magazine subscriptions, and is generally horrified at what the text on the page has to say.
Lately, I have tended to agree.
While I love my iPad, my Facebook friends, and my cell phone, these things have made me lazy, opinionated about folks and their lifestyles when I have no idea what it's really like, as well as allowing myself become more informed about things that I don't understand. I find myself googling things on a daily basis, trying to WebMD myself when I should just go to a doctor. I think (note the word, think) I know a lot about the world around me, but I tend to just gloss over the headlines that Yahoo! offers me. I think myself informed, but am not, really.
In a world where information is at our fingertips, we have taken advantage of this and become opinionated and so open minded that our brains have fallen out. I myself need to simmer down, take a step back, and learn a lesson from my wise grandmother. While she is educated, opinionated and knowledgeable, she is trusting of the world around her.
Not blissfully ignorant, trusting.
This is a big problem that is hurting American agriculture, particularly livestock farming. No one is trusting of ranchers and growers such as my husband. No one cares that although we were able to get away for less than 24 hours last weekend, we were only gone 24 hours, having to get back in order for the cows, calves, bulls and steers to be checked and fed. Why is it okay to attack our livelihood from a talk show or newspaper or blog when the writer/producer/star (who most likely is advocating "natural" methods all the while smiling a Botox enhanced smile) has never walked a pasture in our shoes.
In the wake of Burger King authorizing purchases of chickens and pigs who are raised only cage free, and a, thankfully, contained case of BSE (Mad Cow) in California, farmers and ranchers are taking a hit from the media blitz that has caused markets to go down and poultry and pig farmers to heave another big sigh as they watch their industry take yet another hit below the belt. Why are these folks having an opinion that makes such a crazy impact on people's lives?
So what do we do? I don't want to ride a horse to school, nor do I want to live without my husband...or my iPad for that matter! However, shouldn't there be a balance? Shouldn't we be informed, entitled to our own opinion, but trusting of those who are the most qualified to make the decisions? Grandma didn't win her battle against the landfill, and it came to the area. Instead of making stink after stink after stink, Grandma (although she doesn't like it), noted that they did put up lovely fences around the property.
She trusted that they knew what they were doing, and hoped for the best.
I guess I am not being like Grandma still, offering my opinion to tell the people who have no idea about agriculture to shut the heck up. My hope, however, is that through opinions like this, you, dear reader, will know that we're trying our best, some times to the sacrifice of our own fun, comfort, and bottom line to produce quality products for you to enjoy.
Trust is not ignorance. Trust is faith. Trust is respect. Trust is allowing us to do what we know is right so you can enjoy a steak dinner.
Trust us, life on the farm is fun and hard and rewarding and labor intensive, but trust me, not everyone can do it, every day...I hardly can!