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Everyone Deserves A Soft Place To Land

Retirement is the goal that most individuals work toward. Retirement is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. When one retires, one ceases to work. Retirement means you have put in your time, fulfilled your obligation to be a productive citizen, and met your lifelong quota. When we think of retirement, we envision the remainder of our days spent doing what we want. Retirement means one has no more obligations, no more alarm clock, no more punching a time clock. It's a lifelong goal to spend one's time in a state of rest, relaxation, and contentment.


Here on the farm, retirement means a life spent in green pastures, with herd mates and family, resting, relaxing, being fed a perfectly balanced diet, living the good life, and not having any more babies or making more milk. As my original six girls age out of production, the girls who were born here step into the roles of milk producers, and the OGs spend their days eating, napping, playing, and maintaining their place in the herd hierarchy.


 This year, two of my girls retired from motherhood and milk production. Big Red, aka Honey Belle, has been removed from the breeding roster. Red, by far, gives birth to the biggest, most beautiful babies. Unfortunately, most of Red's beautiful babies are boys. However, we have a few of her daughters here in the herd. Red has been moved to a private pasture with a small hut where she has access to all the good hay, nutritious feed, and mineral blocks her little heart desires. This pasture is safe from amorous billy goats and offers protection from unwanted pregnancies. Red has reached the age where it is no longer safe for her to have babies. She has spent her life in service and has earned a gentle retirement.


Joining Red in the retirement pasture is her daughter, Lily. Although Lily has a few more years of making babies and producing milk, she has suffered from meningeal worms, and her neuro issues are a concern. Lil's back legs were affected by her fight with the meningeal worm. She has a wonderful quality of life, but we see no reason to stress her body with pregnancies and milk production. Lily has given us beautiful babies and gallons of milk over the years. She, too, has earned a soft place to land and will spend her days in quiet retirement with her mama.

We all feel a special connection to our first six girls. These girls are the reason we do what we do. They are why we get to stay together as a family, working to build something that will hopefully serve our family for generations. We could not do what we do without the help and service of our girls. We do not take a stereotypical farmer's approach to our "farm animals." Instead, we view our girls as part of our family. First and foremost, our girls are pets and well-loved. Their health and well-being are the focus of our lifestyle. We don't have a business if we don't have happy, healthy girls.


We don't skimp on caring for our girls, just like we don't skimp on our products or providing customer service. Our farm has a hierarchy, and the girls are at the top. Many farmers would send the girls to auction or market once they have aged out of production. This will never happen to our nannies. Once they reach the age where they can no longer produce babies and milk, they will move to the retirement community, a.k .a. the private pasture. Here, they will receive the best care, quality food, and all the love and cuddles they want until their time with us ends. It's the least we can do for the girls we love who have given us so much.


I view us as stewards rather than farmers. We have been given a wonderful opportunity to spend time with these gentle, loving individuals. They give of themselves without making demands or expectations. The least we can do is honor them in their golden years and provide them with all the love, care, comfort, and nourishment they need. It comes down to appreciation, respect, and decency.


This year, I plan to have a third event here at the farm. We will offer our annual spring and fall events. However, I also have plans to add a retirement party for Red and Lily. I am still in the planning stages of this event, but trust me, as soon as I have the details ironed out, you will be the first to know. It only seems fitting that we celebrate the retirement of these two beautiful creatures and all they have done to enrich our lives. I will keep you posted on the celebration's progress.


On this chilly, overcast January day, stay safe, be smart, celebrate all lives well lived, and keep washing your hands.

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