Monday, January 16, 2017

Why unsolicited advice sometimes is more detrimental than helpful

This has been an issue that plagues me regularly. I'll start by explaining a couple things about me personally.

Years ago, I dreamed of having a farm. I also really wanted to do good and wanted to eventually get to the point where I could work for myself doing something that I loved. I think that part at least is everyone's dream.

So we searched high and low for a house with some land. We spent over a year living in a bedroom at a friends house, while renting a storage unit for our belongings. We lived in that room for what seemed like an eternity. While we lived there, we were also paying rent there, rent on a storage unit, and a mortgage on a townhouse that we had to "stage" so it would sell. We couldn't live in the townhouse because we have large dogs, and large dogs are not conducive to showing houses at all hours. There was frustration as we watched every house we fell in love with sell as we couldn't buy another until our town-home sold. There were tears and heartbreak. It was a very difficult time for us. Adding to that, that was the year we planned and paid for our own wedding. (which is fine, but the timing of everything was enough to make anyone a little nuts) I'd also like to note that during this time, I was also a full time student while working full time.

This is when in every other aspect, my life felt like it had no momentum. While I was working at a million things and dreaming of the freedom of the country house that didn't quite exist for us yet, I read. I read everything I could. Every night, I stayed up for hours reading books, magazines, online forums, blogs, you name it on livestock. I wanted to know everything from diet to land requirements.

 Of course during my searches, everything else under the sun came up too. Much like googling your symptoms when you get sick, a mild cough will turn into typhoid in a matter of mouse clicks.

 I learned that neutered goats are called wethers, and they can't have sweet feed. Sweet feed is a popular feed for goats. If wethers have sweet feed they can get kidney stones and DIE. Horses can colic from ANYTHING and DIE. There is something called white line disease and hoof-rot. There are dozens of different kinds of hay and everyone has a different recommendation. Grain for horses or no grain? Don't feed too much. Don't feed too little. (but everyone's ideas of too much or too little are different) Don't share grooming tools because rain rot. Don't let the hay touch the ground. Don't feed together, don't feed separate. Don't put anything in the pasture within 6 ft of the fence or the goats will get out. Put things for them to climb on in there because they'll get bored and get out. But don't put anything in there because the horse will trip, go lame, and die. Blanket the horse because she is cold. But don't blanket her because she won't ever get her winter coat. Goats cut grass, they don't kill it. but those rascally horses, they kill it. WAIT, or do they?

I still read every night. For at least an hour I seek out someone's opinion. Someone with more experience than me, someone who specializes in goats, or donkeys, or chickens, or horses. Whats the difference between a horse and a mini horse vs a pony and a mini pony?

Please, for the love of everything holy, give me the benefit of the doubt. Don't tell me that I need a bigger pasture. I am well aware. Did you know that the 28 acres of land attached to mine may come available soon? That is what I am waiting on. If it doesn't for some reason, we will obtain acreage elsewhere, but we would rather hold out for the attached land if possible.

If I rescue another animal, and you have something negative to say, instead tell me it is cute and move on. Offer help instead of unsolicited advice. Tell me how you'd like to contribute instead of telling me what I need to do. Tell me you are proud of me for dedicating myself so fully to animals. Tell me that I am brave because often I am terrified of the mythical Typhoid that popped up when I was researching farrier scheduling.
Instead of telling me it is "bad luck" to rename a horse, suggest fun names for her.  Instead of spouting bad omens of renaming, ask me why. Perhaps it is because the mini pony's current name rhymes with the full size horses name. The full size horse is food aggressive. (we are working on that) I can't call one by name and have them both come for feeding time. It is not safe.

I'm wise enough to know that I will in fact never have everything figured out. I will always be learning something. If I have questions, and I often do, I will research and reach out to ask. So thank you to those that are supportive and who bring carrots over. Or show up to help unload a mini-pony. horse... no one knows which.

As for those of you who judge instead of offer a hand, I'm sorry that my glass doesn't seem full enough through your eyes. Its perfect for me.

This journey is mine and it is beautiful.

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