I’m not sure why, but it usually takes this long for the nervousness to set in. I’ve known for a while now that we are growing; expanding our operation to include some local sales and some donations. Plus, we’ve always had animals….though we’ve never actually had a “herd.” I’ve even known for a while now about the incoming herd of Scottish Highland cows and their calves. So why now? Why is it that exactly 24 hours after their arrival on the farm, I get incredibly nervous about the whole endeavor? It has to be more than the pressure I feel to find the precisely appropriate Scottish name for each cow and each calf, more than the pressure I feel to keep them properly fenced and grazing just enough and not too much, even more than the pressure I feel to turn living beings into a viable business…. Yes, in fact, it is so much more than all of those things combined. I am nervous because I am committed to upholding the integrity of the process and, to me, that means putting the herd’s needs before my own. It means respecting the animals and gaining their trust, even if I use that trust to lead them to my dinner table. It means providing a product that consumers can respect and enjoy, giving them a firm understanding that the once beating heart has not been carelessly taken for granted. It means learning how to constantly do things better; keep an open mind, keep your eye on the destination, and know that straight lines are not always the easiest way to get there. And, most of all, it means making mistakes. Yes, the part that makes me doubt myself and my abilities the most is knowing that I am not immune to making mistakes. I have to know that it will happen, and when it does, I will not be stagnant. I will continue on in a forward motion; nervousness will fade to make way for hopefulness which then gives birth to pride through accomplishment. It happened with our first chicks on the hardwood floor of the living room, it happened with our first wild goats in the paddock with the bright blue shed, it happened with our first cow in the wide shelter of the Pinon forest, and it is happening now with the small fold on the banks of the creek. Welcome home girls, we’re running right on schedule.