I may have shared this before. I hate change. It makes me anxious when I must get used to something new. It does not matter if it’s driving a different car, changing jobs, or having my children start school with a new teacher I have never met. It is dumb to feel this way, I know. But I really like for things to stay the same. The older I get, the harder it is. But change really is GOOD…sometimes.
I think it’s because I love traditions and knowing what the expectations are in most situations. I get used to people in our personal, professional and school life, and just assume they will always be around. This is not the case.
We have undergone a LOT of changes this fall. Two of our neighbors put their houses up for sale. When you live in the country, and you have great neighbors and friends, you really hate to see them leave. But the brighter side of this has been having new families move over to Round Mountain and meeting new friends. I am trying to focus on the positive.
The hardest changes are losing people you love. We lost a dear friend and neighbor this summer. We are so blessed to have retired neighbors to look after and who look out for us. This special neighbor was never seen without a smile on his face. He had the most immaculate yard on our road. His vehicles were always clean. His garden never had weeds growing up over it. He exhibited the joy that one only finds with contentment and the Lord. We are going to miss him. It is our honor to look after his wife. I have been so proud to watch our family and other neighbors rally around her to do the things we can do to help.
Finally, we have made the decision (reluctantly) to disperse our cattle herd this fall. We evaluated our work schedules and the kids’ activities and decided we did not want to feed cattle over the winter. This change is not permanent, but it stings. I have beautiful memories of when we moved to Northwest Arkansas and buying out my husband’s father’s herd of cattle. At the time, we ran them over at his family’s farm in Stillwell, Okla. We had great times taking my father-in-law over to the farm with us to fix fences and work cattle. He liked imparting his wisdom upon us and we miss hearing it.
The calves went to the sale barn last week. My husband separated the herd, and they went to the Benton County Sale Barn. They brought a good market price and we felt content. A few days later a couple different cattlemen came to the farm to look at the rest of our bulls, momma cows and cow/calf pairs. One buyer left a deposit check and reality began to set in for me. What will our farm look like with no cattle on it for a few months? I know we will get used to it. I won’t miss winter feeding or the flies for sure.
I am looking forward to springtime and starting our cattle herd over again. Even when things change, there is always something new coming. It’s often better than what I expected. Until then, I am going to savor the change in seasons and look forward to new friends, livestock and neighbors.
Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’