We work in pairs a lot around here.
Just now, Anna and Joe left in the farm truck, just 2 peas in a pod. It's chilly and damp this morning, so Anna decided to don 2 sweatshirts, in lieu of her bulky work coat, so she could move easily as she works side-by-side with her dad this morning. They'll spend the first few hours feeding and checking the cows, making sure those who are enjoying snacking on stalks in a newly harvested cornfield adjacent to the pasture are where they should be, thanks to 2 nicely strung lines of electric fence.
2 is a necessary number on a farm, specifically a livestock farm.
There are the obvious tasks that are easier with a partner: closing gates behind the truck or tractor, moving cattle, working calves...those are all better when you have a buddy. However, it's the side-by-side working relationship I see that makes this "2" the best part of living here.
Often times, I curse the dirt road, dirty clothes, late nights, unpredictable income and lack of flexibility that comes with farm life. However, as Anna left with her dad this morning, chatting away as she skipped down the steps of the deck about next week's 4H meeting, working with her show heifer, and what it would be like to go goose hunting (we have a lot of hunting traffic today), I thought how lucky Anna-- and all my kids are for that matter-- are to spend this precious morning with her dad. It's different than being coached on a team by your dad; different than having your dad just play with you as a kid. In our time as a livestock family, and this short time Anna has become more and more involved, I see a tight bond being formed. One that is forged by using her 2 hands side-by-side with her dad.
Working with someone bonds you together, but it's not just the sweet, tight bond that's formed. Socially speaking, it's an exercise in get over it. You don't have time to hold a grudge, continue to be grouchy with each other. It amazes me, as someone who gets irritated easily, to see Joe and Anna in action. They can holler at each other and get aggravated, but then have to quickly get over it, because there's a lot more work to do than to just sit around and be irritated at each other. It's truly a good lesson in social skills. Get over it. Move on.
Working in a 2-some makes you appreciate that person when he or she is not there. When Anna started back to school in the fall, Joe lost his buddy, his sidekick. She didn't just open gates and help load feed, she added sunshine and companionship to a rather lonely occupation. Joe and Anna have a bond as a father-daughter team that only those who worked with their kids can understand. I don't fully understand it, still, but I can see it in action.
Anna is only 8, but her work ethic rivals those double, or even triple her age. That kid spends days off of school, Saturdays, evenings, whenever, working. She's never been a "player," always wanting to DO something useful, help, be productive. Her sisters and their silliness drive her crazy at times. She's my worker bee, and I attribute that to working with her 2 hands from the time she could peer over the dash of the farm truck.
Pairs, partners, buddies, whatever you call it, groups of 2 just work better. We're all better when we have a partner, right? I'm hopeful that this 2-some will eventually turn into a 5-some with all my kids learning the ropes of livestock, but until then, the peas in a pod will continue on, one cattle pasture at a time.
Linking up with Holly's 30 Days series here.
And here's the rest of my 30 Day quest: