Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Wooden Hay Bunk

One painful moment of my childhood was a confrontation I had with my father in an episode that has played a major role in my life from that point forward.  If you look in the picture to the right, you will see the wooden hay bunk for my sheep that became the source of contention between my father and myself.  I was only about 16 or 17 years old at the time and my sheep were my life.  I was fast becoming an experienced learner in how to raise sheep.

As the days went, I had nowhere to feed hay to my sheep except on the ground.  Throughout the winter months, you would feed bales of hay to them since there was no grass to eat.  Often you would throw out extra ears of corn that we picked up from the fields to help give them protein and calories.  They were often pregnant and so to help their lamb mature inside the womb and to help them weather the harsh Iowa winters, this feed was vital for them to survive and produce viable lambs.

Putting hay on the ground was one way to feed them, but that often meant they were eating whatever was on the ground.  In a sheep lot, there are things that just aren't healthy for them to eat and sometimes they can pick up parasites from the practice.  Plus, if the hay was on the ground, a lot of good food would be wasted from being trampled by the sheep, which means it gets more expensive to feed the sheep.


A hay bunk was a good way to solve many problems and so I wanted to build one for my sheep.  Every day I would bug my dad to help me because I really am not very good in building things with wood.  Each day, he was always too busy, too tired, or would rather watch TV than help me.  After awhile, I grew frustrated that he just didn't care enough and so after supper one week, I started going out at night and working on my hay bunk in the shed.  I didn't say much about it because I knew he would be very angry with me if I did this on my own (even though he wouldn't help me).  This is how my dad operated.

My sheep's needs came above the unpleasant confrontation that I knew would happen with my Dad.  At that point, I didn't care any longer because the sheep needed somewhere good to eat.  He could beat me to a pulp for all I cared, because this hay bunk had a greater purpose to it.

I finished the hay bunk and asked him to help me move it into place.  Well, all hell broke loose as he stomped out of the house to help me.  He was hurt, offended, and did not like having his authority questioned.  When he saw my finished product, he laughed at me and scoffed at everything I did.  He claimed it was a piece of junk and wouldn't hold up.  There was not one ounce of praise for an attempt on my part to do this.  It was all negative criticism.  While I know it probably didn't look perfect and it wasn't perfect, I tried to build it using old pieces of lumber that I could find.  It wasn't the greatest looking thing in the world, but for many years after that it served its purpose for the sheep.

To this day, I don't always care if something I do is perfect or not in the eyes of other people.  Yes, I tend to be a perfectionist or at least I have in the not so distant past. I didn't allow imperfection in my life.  However, if there is something that needs to be done, I'll figure out a way to do it and find a solution.  That solution may not be the best thing out there, but if it is using all the skills I have, then in my mind it works!  I have a strong independent streak when it comes to solving a problem like this and at that point, I don't care what others think of it.

There are people that sometimes push me one way in life as if that is the way they expect me to go in order to accomplish something in life.  I've fallen into the trap of acting as if they have the answers and solutions when they are not the ones living my life.  I get defensive and I almost throw a tantrum at times that I will do it no matter what, even if it looks like crap.  Sometimes I take the long way around to get to something that works, that someone else might have done in an easier and quicker method.

The thing is, my solutions are something I can say that it is a result I created.  I can be proud of it and yet at the same time, I learn so much from doing it my way.  Now, please don't mistake me that I am above learning from other people.  I learn from others all the time, but sometimes it isn't in the same way that they think I should.  Sometimes I don't understand what others are trying to tell me because their communication is so poor, it is like a mystery you have to decode.

Throughout my life, I've approached so many moments in my life in this way.  Sometimes I think they most likely take me a thousand miles out of my way, but in the end I find the point where I need to be.  Sometimes my methods look strange to others, and yet they are what works for me.  I think the most important point out of this is that we must follow the beat of our own drum.  It isn't what others think we should do that matters, but how we follow our heart.

The wooden hay bunk was a difficult moment in life for me as a kid, but in many ways my life mimics that scenario.  Sometimes I just say to heck with those that try and force me into one little box, while I test the waters out on the solutions that work for my life.  Fortunately I have enough courage, will power, and determination to keep kicking in life, until I get it figured out.  Otherwise, I don't think I would have made it this far.

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Blog Post And Images (c) 8/9/12 by Don Shetterly

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2 comments:

  1. Hello Don, you know what this is a great memory, although Dad's behavior can be interpreted as negative and he was probably a negative energy in your life, however, look it encouraged you to take charge of things and do it your own way. Life is like that sometimes, and whenever we want we are capable of changing anything we want, by changing our thoughts to things we experienced. And, I am proud of you for prioritizing these sweet creatures, as they are an important part of creation. I try to remind myself, memories are memories, but it is the thoughts that I attach to them make them either positive or negative, and I am the master who creates those thoughts and when they are not serving me I have the potential to change them. Blessings to you Don, I've been out of the picture in my human cave doing human stuff..but, little by little my spirit is awakening again. blessings in this nice fall season.

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    1. You are correct that it is the thoughts or the feelings that we attach to the memories. While this is something that is biologically built into us, we can make the choice to see it differently (like you are suggesting). Glad to see you emerging from the cave after doing the human stuff.

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