**Wendy here! I was supposed to post this yesterday but because of our event I am just NOW reading my emails! Don't tell Joel! :) So...sorry for the late post about her visit. I was lucky enough to pick her up in DC Tuesday eve and return her Wednesday after the event. We talked and laughed and told secrets and found out we like so many of the same things. She's brilliant and kind and loves chocolate. We cried when we met her - yes, Joel got choked up introducing her to the crowd (watch for the video on social media lol) - and we cried when she left. She took a little bit of us with her and we cannot wait for her to visit again. If you ever have the chance to see her, take it. It's truly life changing. Thank you Temple from the bottom of our hearts. **
She's here today, on the farm, doing a one day seminar. What a grand lady. At 72 years old, she's got her stripes. She's been knocking around the sacred cows in agriculture for a long time.
A couple of things she's said that are simply zingers. "Engineering can't solve all the problems." She says it's easy for folks to buy expensive infrastructure, but another whole deal to manage it well.
Here's another: "Diet is acquired." Predators learn what to eat; if they have plenty of wild natural stuff to eat, they won't attack livestock. But let their natural wild diet diminish, and you have problems. Ecological diversity is necessary.
How about this one? "Kids aren't learning how to use scissors and needle and thread anymore." She was with a physician last week who said interns can't manipulate these things anymore, so they can't put in stitches. It's like a westerner picking up chopsticks for the first time.
A theme running throughout our conversations is this: even if you're a Temple Grandin, some animals are just rogues. They need to be taken out, whether they're predators with a taste for chicken or a cow that has a wild streak. Get rid of them, period.
We talked about vegans and the militant animal rights movement. Here's a broadside: "I think most dogs have a terrible life. They're pack animals, and to be left at home all day without any companionship and just get a few minute walk every day is horrible. Pets by and large don't have a good life." Wow.
Animals are far more aware of their surroundings than humans. And they don't like change. But you can teach them to tolerate change. So wearing different clothes or coming into their presence with different people can help train them to not go ballistic when they head off the farm to the abattoir.
She's convinced that a lot of special education students and kids playing video games in the basement are latent manufacturers and engineers for the future. Last night, her refrain was "we don't make it here anymore!" And she's nuts about kids playing video games in the basement. They need to be building things, repairing things, constructing things. But we have a victim mentality that says if someone is handicapped that's just the end.
She's a believer in self-help and early responsibility for kids. Get them out of the video games and get them out, in the soil, on the job site, building, repairing and engaging in real life. Wow, what a message. Certainly appropriate for our day.
I first learned about Temple Grandin 40 years ago when Farm Journal carried the first article about her. She was 30 years old and just beginning to break down paradigms in the cattle handling industry. I'll never forget the profound affect that article had on me. She said cattle want three things in a handling facility: turn to the right, go out where they came in, and head toward light but not direct sunlight.
I immediately went out and tore out our old head gate and handling chutes and reconstructed them along these lines. That was 40 years ago and we still use the same handling pens today. They work like a charm and we've sent thousands of animals through there since. She literally revolutionized our understanding of stress-free handling.
Where have you heard about Temple Grandin?