My sister called a few days ago from the farm.
"Don't freak out..."
You know it's going to be good when the conversation starts that way.
Seems that Alicia, Ethan, and my father had been sitting at the dining room table when they noticed two figures walking around in one of our cattle pastures. It is getting on toward hunting season, but this is unusual, and the farm is pretty well posted.
My father and Ethan flew out the door, nary a word between them. It's not that we don't like people, it's that we don't like unannounced people wandering around our property. Dad caught up with them as they wandered through our barnyard. Come to find out, it was a few elderly dairy farmers that Dad knew and had once delivered sawdust to. Dad had polite words with them, and in the end everything was fine.
Alicia's first instinct (and mine) to seeing strangers in the field was, "Great. Now they are here for us."
There's a weird battle being fought by small family farmers and folks who don't understand farming. Not too long ago, a gentleman on the other side of the mountain range had charges leveled at him for animal abuse due to conditions that all farmers suffered last winter.
When we see strangers on the property, she and I don't think, "overly friendly local eccentrics", but rather, "meddling, dangerous, potentially litigious trouble makers who don't know the first thing about our cows". It's kind of a sad state of affairs, when you think about it. Our cows are some of the best loved, an best kept that will ever hit your plate. But farming is a messy, muddy, smelly, sometime gross affair. Well meaning people have lost sight that our cows are not pets, and can not be reasonably kept as such. Given recent events though, it's a very real concern that now we have to live with.