RURAL REFLECTIONS: Go to the field
No kid is closer to a sex education than a farm kid.
Oh, yes. I remember asking my mother some questions about babies. She didn't give me a lecture. No, she didn't offer a book to explain it all. Nope, not my mom. Her assistance in learning about the process: "Go to the field and watch the animals."
Mom was a treasure. She knew that we would learn much more than she could ever tell us. We learned about life, suffering and death.
So, Brenda (my best friend and neighbor) and I went to the field. We finally understood that the cows were not trying to play leap frog. We found that a ram came to visit the ewes once a year. Our rabbits sometimes spent more time with the buck.
The lessons on the farm were truly enlightening.
I learned that giving birth also meant accepting responsibility.
Sometimes the ewe would not take to her newborn lamb. Those sweet little ones were removed for their own safety and placed on a bottle.
Pamper was my pet lamb. She waited for me each day by the back gate. Maybe Pamper's mommy didn't like her lamb, because she smelled like that old ram who came to visit. Our farm lessons came with little explanation.
That time in the field indeed gave me life lessons. I saw lambs and calves born. A calf would plop down onto the ground, wet and confused. Brenda and I waited for the mother's reaction. She turned and licked her newborn. Before long, the little one struggled to stand, then walk, then nurse. Now that's an education!
I saw mothers reject their own. An old ewe died because she just would not get up. Her stupidity killed her.
I halter trained a calf. Dad informed me that when it was time to take the cow to slaughter, mine was easily loaded onto the truck.
Lessons were not always easy. I saw my horse suffer from her careless trek into the cornfield. She developed colic and died. Lessons were learned when I didn't even know it.
Those sex questions repeated when I had my own children. I wished with all my heart that I could send them to the field.
Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl."
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