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Young Writers Project: Living by a Farm

Saskia is one of the winners of this year's Farm Project, which is awarded to young writers for artfully depicting the importance of farming in Vermont's communities.

Living by a Farm
By Saskia Kiely
Grade Seven, Vergennes Union High School

The drive down the luminous dirt road when I was moving away from my childhood home was torturous. I knew it was going to be a big change, moving to West Addison, and not necessarily a good one. Gone was my lush yard and surrounding mountains that were the backdrop of my childhood. I arrived to see a bland town, no trees, and fields flatter than a pancake. The only thing I could smell for the first week was manure. My parents told me it would be a great experience and change, but I wasn’t convinced.

My new home is surrounded by farmland all around; there is no escape. My first encounter with the farm was with the cows. One day I had some extra cake that I normally would have discarded, but I decided to give it to the cows. I went outside, walked over and cautiously dropped the cake over the electric fence. The excited cows came forward and licked it a couple times.

The next day I went back out and came a little closer, allowing them to suck on my fingers. Day after day I would walk to the barn and interact with the animals, and Rob and Suzie, the farmers. I could see when the pigs got out from my living room window, and would rush over to chase them back in. The place had started to grow on me, and I wanted to be of help in any way I could.

Prior to moving, my stereotype of dairy farmers was strong. I thought that farmers were gruff middle-aged men who didn’t care about anything — they just had the jobs for the tractors. But I realized how incorrect this stereotype was when I met my neighbor farmers who are kind, generous, and always helpful — and their kids are also creative and engaging.

Amazed by how much effort and time they give to producing milk, I started thinking differently about the farming lifestyle and the passion and dedication it requires. These people sacrifice so much time to wake up in the morning at 5 o’clock and take care of the calves or milk the cows. They don’t just do it because it’s their job, they do it because it’s what they love to do.

Something I would like to make less of an issue is “judging a book by its cover.” Each time I judge a person or situation without all of the facts, I come to realize how stupid it is. You have to get to know something or someone before you discover how breathtaking it/they can be.

The farm I live next to shows an immense amount of love and care towards their animals. They name almost all of their pigs and many of their cows as well. So much of Vermont’s specialty produce is dairy-related and farms play a big part in that. Vermont is lucky to have so many farms to supply milk because it’s always available and fresh.

Within a week of moving to West Addison, I knew it was going to be so incredibly fun. I feel so lucky to live next to this amazing farm with outstanding farmers. I think what they do is very important for our state and I am so lucky to be able to have the privilege to connect with the animals whenever I want.

I love how when I drive down my street I can see the beautiful sun setting over the Adirondacks in the distance, and I am greeted by the pleasing smell of the farm I have become very fond of.

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