Country Living Series

Friday, August 26, 2016

Farmer's instinct

Sometimes it amazes me how much instinct farmers have -- an intuition or sixth sense when something is amiss.

A few years ago I noticed a calf lying down on the farthest side of the pasture. He was just -- lying there. Nothing wrong. Yet there was something that piqued my interest, especially when he laid there a lot longer than calves are wont to do. Turns out his hoof was tangled in a wire.

Another time, my concerns about Polly's hunched posture tuned me into a close call with hypothermia.

A few days ago we moved the cattle back to the wooded side of the property. Shortly thereafter we had a windy day (wind is nothing unusual around here), and of course during wind we hear all kinds of clanks, bangs, rattles, and other normal sounds.

So what was it about one particular clank that caught my attention? Through an open window in the house, I heard a chain clank against metal from a direction it shouldn't have. I stepped outside and saw the feedlot gate...


...had swung wide open. The wind had pushed the gate back and forth just enough that the single link holding the gate closed had worked its way out.


Inside the feedlot (still littered with debris from felling trees) were several cattle lounging about.




A few minutes longer, and the temptation to explore the open gate would have propelled the whole herd into the driveway.

This was just a trivial incident, but it does drive home how important it is to pay attention when your gut tells you something is wrong.

It also makes me ask: where else do people respond to their gut as part of their job? One poster mentioned nursing (true). Another mentioned hunting (also true). Others?

27 comments:

  1. This is true not only in a rural setting. You can't teach it. Years ago, hypervigilance (earned in the RVN) was a problem. Now it is tuned down to an elevated awareness of things around. See where trouble is coming from before it causes a big problem. Funny how most the old wives tale axioms are true. (i.e. a stitch in time DOES save 9; an apple a day..., et al)

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    Replies
    1. My mother used to say "before telephones there was intuition"
      And as we know, ALL mothers have eyes on the back of their heads!

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  2. That's something that hunters and farmers have in common. ANYTHING different should be investigated.

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  3. Comes with added responsibility and experience. I remember sound sleeping with no worries as a young teen, then came the military, the birth of my 1st child, a farm and 27yrs as a corrections officer. I see and hear everything. Three more years to go and nothing but a seasonal u-pick berry farm, no children at home, no more raising animals, just berries and they don't move or make funny noises. Yeah!!! I really enjoy following your life's happenings, Thank You Patrice and Don, Your fun People..

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  4. Our Great Pyrenees notices anything that is out of the ordinary around our homestead. We have learned to listen when she barks because it isn't just to hear herself. I wish I was this vigilant and am trying to be more so.

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  5. You require a good gut instinct (and a sensible head) to be good in any crisis situation.

    Also, finance. Got to have a good sense of which way the wind is about to blow to make that money.

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  6. Replies
    1. "Silence is Golden....unless you have children, then it is suspicious."

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  7. As an electronics tech, I work in a huge basement full of racks upon racks of assorted gear. Every one has a series of cooling fans pushing air to keep things cool. There are also about a dozen huge air handlers along the walls. Every day I walk my rounds among the racks. Each rack sounds different. So do the air handlers, which also run my hand along the sides and feel the vibrations. When a fan goes out in a rack, or is about to fail, I can usually hear it first. Same for the air handlers; they start vibrating differently and I call for maintenance. Once, they told there was nothing wrong with the sir handler - until the belt failed a week later.

    Steve Davis
    Anchorage, Alaska

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  8. Veterinarian. Responding to my gut all day long...can't always trust what pet owners say.

    Fran

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  9. Motherhood? Mother's have eyes in the backs of their heads. Wives that 'gently nudge' (nag) hubby to order enough firewood to let it fully season and not burn green .. oh my! Mrs. Mac

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  10. I notice low tires- because I have had sooo many flats (bad gravel roads). We wear out JACKS! Vehicles in front of me, behind me, in parking lots if I get NEAR them the radar kicks in. Yesterday was mine. I got NEAR it in the parking lot at work. It wasn't flat, but I could SEE the 20 or 30# it had dropped in psi. So I called and got it in. Side wall, grumble grumble. $340.00 later I left with two new fully road hazard covered 10 ply truck tires. Don't worry I usually get about $20-40 back per tire as the road hazard fixes flats for free. Last repair was two months ago(free)- they took an OLD worn 3" carriage bolt out of the inside dual on our 10 ply pickup tire. Same thing with livestock-you watch for the abnormal. Natokadn

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  11. Several mentioned military which was the first thing that came to my mind.

    A year in the jungles & rice-paddies led to an ability to often know "something" was going to happen --- sometimes a day or two in advance. It was creepy, like it hung in the air, & you couldn't ignore it.

    Some sensed who would survive & who would not. And some knew that they, themselves, wouldn't make it.

    This comment might be out of place here but --- Hey! I think many or most here sense what's coming &, sadly, might experience it themselves.

    Guess my latest oddity was sitting in front of the TV one evening & "something" told me to check the laundry room. To my surprise, the 220V dryer outlet was smoking but hadn't yet gone up in flames.

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  12. Teaching! I always (usually justifiably) worried when certain students were too quiet.

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  13. Being a mother trained me to be aware of things, sometimes just before a catastrophe. It carried over into my older age. I sometimes just know something is going wrong or about to happen.

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  14. Just everyday living: sound of pool cage doors opening/closing when no one is outside; neighbor's dogs barking; high wind - it was a tornado and we'd never had one; the way rain hits the window; no bird sounds or too many bird sounds, vehicle sounds that don't belong on my deadend street, tires squealing on the nearest main road, people walking and paying too much attention to open garage doors (ours have screens but you can still see in. Some neighbors consider me a little too nosy but anything out of the ordinary and I'm aware of it - has saved me time, energy and money many times and maybe even my life once or twice.

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  15. Looking at your pic of the gate I have to offer a bit of advice that I also learned the hard way.When using those chain locks on a gate always pull up. I know this is clear as mud so I will use your pic as an aid. Wrap the chain around the rail below the one you are using. You probably already know this but it might help some of your readers who are starting out.

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  16. Noticed a hair that didn't belong on my chinny chin chin. This led to a trip to the dermatologist, then to the gyn, then to surgery for ovarian cancer. A complete cure with only surgery, just because I noticed a hair. Praise God!

    Jo

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    Replies
    1. Wow. Just..wow. Praise God indeed!

      - Patrice

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  17. I am watching the plane as it picks up water and heads off to drop it on a fire over the ridge "across the way".
    Hoping and praying you are safe.

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  18. In that wonderful spare moment that is often hard to find please update your link to this wonderful site:
    http://www.paratusfamiliablog.com/ (old)

    http://www.paratusfamilia.com/

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    Replies
    1. Done. Thanks for the reminder!

      - Patrice

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  19. In my family, we call it "knowing." Knowing with certainty something will happen. The big ones only happen a few times in life. Little things, all the time.

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  20. this may sound strange, but your third eye is a real thing and some people have more natural use to it than others my mom and I shared a ability to feel things about each other, did not always know what it was, but usually could tell good from bad feelings, she is gone now, don't have the connection to anyone else, that i can feel. BUT i still get strong beforehand knowledge for many things, has saved my bacon many times!

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  21. You writing about your cows and farm problems made me think of this song. Enjoy!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKoYT4febHM

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  22. In buying a house! I kid you not.

    Learning in NY

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  23. After riding the same BMW motorcycle for 44 years ( bought it after VietNam) I can sense when something is "not right". A number of problems first manifest themselves with odd noises or sensations....

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