Friday, April 27, 2012

For the Love of Livestock

This last week Luke learned the first of many hard lessons as an animal lover. Hazel was sold! After finding out she was probably past her kid-bearing years, it was time to say farewell. Luke's little tender expression as he described his goodbye to her is a scene I hope to never forget. (I thank my lucky stars I wasn't there in person for their goodbye!)

In a momentary lapse of judgement  a few days before Hazel's departure, I completely stepped out of my true character and began to suggest to Mike we find someway to keep Hazel. Mike's response, "It is LIVESTOCK. You don't fall in love with LIVESTOCK."

He's wrong. If you are a young boy named Luke, you do. And if you are that young boy's mother, you do too by default.

As any tough young livestock lover would, the next afternoon Luke did his best to forget Hazel, and went to his local 4-H meeting to pick out his new project for this summer...

Meet Lily, the goat.
Luke picked the goat up on a Saturday afternoon. She didn't have a name until the next day. A few hours after Luke announced the name to us, I found a book of mine titled, "Naming Your Baby" on the floor by his bed. It warmed my heart at the thought of Luke using a baby name book to name a goat?!?

Luke had talked for weeks about how boy goats sell better than girl goats because they are bigger and have more meat, so I was very surprised to return home and discover that Luke had a girl goat.

Finally, I decided to flat-out ask Luke why it was he had chosen a girl-goat. I really thought he was going to tell me he had no-choice and the girl was all he could pick from. With a solemn and serious face Luke looked right at me and timidly said,

"The reason I didn't sell Hank last year was because I knew he would die for someone to eat his meat. Rob (the 4-H instructor) told me girls are popular because people get them to breed. They don't kill the girl goats as much for meat because they want them to breed. It will be easier to sell Lily knowing she won't die."

I'm not sure who was closer to tears during that little dialogue, Luke or me.

Even though we have already had (and will continue to have) many a conversation about Lily having to be sold at the County Fair later this year, I'm beginning to wonder who exactly those reminder conversations are for. Luke or me?

Not sure whether it is the goats that have captured my heart or my little boy, Luke.

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