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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Why Are We Going This Way?

I really should know better than to ask that question.  Growing up with a dad who was a farmer and now being married to one, you just know that sometimes you are along for the ride.  And sometimes they are the best rides.
  
We were coming home recently from the lake and he turned a different way, well a new way that I had never been.  “Why are we going this way?” I asked.  And I got the classic farmer answer, “I want to check some fields.”  “Great,” I thought, another road for me to learn in this county that I’m still getting used to.


 Much of what you learn growing up on a farm are from things you observe.  Growing up, I would patiently wait in the back seat or next to my dad in the truck.  One thing I learned pretty quickly is that he could drive on the road without actually watching the road!  It was as if he had eyes on the sides of his head as he looked out the windows to check each row of corn and soybeans growing in the fields.  When I first started to notice this, I was scared.  But then I realize that it’s just part of it, we were safe, it is just part of the farmer way of life and something they do. 


The second thing I learned was not to ask where we were going.  He was going to get us home or to our destination even if it took a little longer which I learned was okay.  We got to explore new ways of getting somewhere; we learned new things along the way about the history of our county or the family that once farmed the land.  Our parents never let us have a TV in the car and we rarely read or played games, we looked out the window at the fields or roads or towns along our drive and explored the world on a different path each time.


 The third lesson I learned from these unexpected drives was to listen.  Once you get farmers in their element or on a topic they know, you learn a lot.  I basically learned much of what I know about farming, the crops we grow, weed and pest control, the markets, the weather and the land I love by listening to my dad on these drives.  And now I’ve continued that tradition with my husband.

I’m not one to question God about the way things are going or the path he has set forth before me.  So I’m not sure why I asked the farmer because I am certain he was taking us along a path that would lead us to where we were going, we would get there safely and 
I would even learn a thing or two along the way. 



With today’s ever present questions of “why this way?” and “why that way?” about so many topics and issues, I feel pretty lucky to know why I am going a certain way and down a certain path.  And even if I don’t, I know everything will be okay when we get there.  I hope you have that confidence or luck and if not, maybe you should take a drive with a farmer.  

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Commit to the Clover

It’s a long standing tradition, one that has been around for over 100 years.  It’s about hard work, commitment, education, responsibility and development.  For many people it’s about “summer homework” and hot, summer days spent committed to something other than yourself culminating in a week of fun with friends you may only see once a year. 

I am sure you have grasped that I’m talking about 4-H and imagining the green clover.  It’s a long standing tradition that empowers and teaches our young people and reminds us alumni of the power in our head, heart, hands and health.

I will admit, just like most people, that I hated homework so filling out my 4-H project books wasn’t my idea of fun.  And the hot summer days really got to me especially working with the pigs.  We shaved our pigs one summer so they would look nice, and I will never, ever forget that day, what it felt like and what I looked like in the end.  And fair week, while it seemed like hell for my parents, was a mini-camp or vacation with my friends from around the county I only saw once a year with many great memories I think of often.


 One of the great things about 4-H is that it’s not just for the country kids.  It’s for all kids of all kinds to be a part of something special, something greater than themselves, which has been a part of people’s lives for three different centuries.

Sometimes I think about what would happen if more of our children experienced 4-H, and had the summer homework, the commitment needed to get through the summer day and had the lifelong friendships and network from just one week a year.  What would happen if every child of ours was able to learn, recite by heart and commit to the 4-H pledge for a lifetime? 

I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
My heart to greater loyalty,
My hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country, and my world.


I personally think we would be a better community, country and world.  So as we approach fair week in our community, I am recommitting myself to the 4-H pledge.  And as a 10 year 4-H alumnae, I want my daughter to experience a long-standing tradition and commit herself to positive change through her head, heart, hands and health. 


I hope you will do the same for the program, yourself, the children and our community. If you never experienced 4-H, it doesn’t mean you can’t support the program with you contributions or skills.  You can and you should, just as the alumni, encourage our young people to be a part of a tradition that will stay with them for a lifetime.  When I see the 80 and 90 year old men and women still visit the fair because of their commitment to the 4-H program and to our youth, I can only imagine the memories they have and their reasons for still showing up.  With their aging heads and hearts, their worn and callused hands and their dwindling health, they are still committed to the clover just as we all should be.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What Have We Done?

It's a question we ask ourselves regularly these days.

"What have we done?"
"Why did we do this?"
"What are we going to do with her?"

I guess expecting your first kid when you both have been single and independent for so long will entice these types of questions.  And it all has seemed to go by so fast but yet soooo slow at times.

I've learned you can't really prepare fully for having a kid so I guess we are ready more now than we ever will be.

We already grow grain, have planted a few trees here and there and are now ready to grow people.


I'm a tad bit worried our daughter will think we are crazy.
And she may wonder how her parents ever got married because we are so different.
I like to get dressed up and go to fancy parties while the farmer doesn't like that so much.
He would rather sit on the back porch with a beer, cigar and a good novel.

I give daily presentations to my husband, and he doesn't seem to mind.
However, one night recently we were quietly reading for a few hours and I apparently seemed to give lots of many presentations in that time frame.  When I interrupted silent time to say something, yet again, he took a deep breath and looked up from his book.

I said, "I'm sorry, what's wrong?"
He replied, "you have been talking for two hours."

I almost started crying, actually I did, because I didn't realize how much I had been interrupting and for how long.  However, he quickly interrupted my mini-pregnancy breakdown to assure me it was okay and really not to worry.

In the end, it's all about "compromise and love". 
And I think our daughter will learn that from us and we hope she does the same thing with her significant other in the future.


In prepping for baby, I have been all about making sure she has nice and fancy things but also that her family and heritage is a part of every step of this process.

My late father-in-law loved columbines.  
And my sister-in-law, made sure there were some at our family shower.


I love my roots and celebrating, so I made sure to plant a Tulip Tree on my family farm in honor of my daughter and Indiana's Bicentennial.


And I love all things fancy in the country and this diaper cake really brought that all together.


Many people have asked how I have been and if I have gone off the deep end or been more demanding than usual (not really sure why they would think this!).  My husband will honestly say that I have been pretty good through this whole process even if I hate being pregnant.  

I have been keeping a baby journal and it asked to write all the things I love about being pregnant and the things I don't like.  Let's just say the love part had 1 thing and the other side had several.......

I am a people person, so not having the energy to socialize as much has been difficult for me.
I got really upset during the Indy 500 activities and said, "I should be at this event and that thing and really should go to the race."  He looked at me and said, "that's what you used to do.  You are at a different stage of your life now.  Accept it."  My response with a few tears, "you are right...."

When we were checking cattle recently, all the cows gathered around the truck except for this cow and her calf.  She stayed away from the crowd, feeding and caring for her calf while she watched the chaos that ensued in the distance.

I realized at that moment that I am going to be that cow.  


And my husband, who would have much rather been up on that ridge alone like the cow may have to deal with the chaos more than he would like in the near future.


Everyone says that parenthood will change your life, and I have no doubts about that.
But there are some things in our life that will not change when our daughter comes, well they may change slightly.

The ambition to be active and involved in our industry, community and world.  (Don't worry, she already has a suit jacket for political fundraisers.)
The love for quiet, reading time but now it may be with baby books instead of the 
Foreign Affairs Journal and Vanity Fair.
The dreams of travel and planning trips that we will continue to take, now with our daughter.
The desire to learn something new every day but now we will have to teach her along with each other.
The passion for our work and our family farms that we hope she observes every day by our actions, 
love and hard work.


Every time my husband touches my belly to feel our daughter, she stops moving and kicking.  
I think she likes him better which is just wonderful.
But recently he felt a kick and said, "I just took a direct hit!"
I replied, "No, I did.  You just got the aftershock."

In the many years we have ahead of us in our marriage and raising our children, I know that we will be able get through it with our love and support and everything will be okay in the end.  It won't matter who takes the direct hit or expereiences the aftershock because the compromise and love will have made us stronger.

And in several years when we ask ourselves, "what have we done?", we will be able to answer confidently that we did our best to raise our children to appreciate their roots and wings, live with ambition, kindness and passion to prosper for generations to come.








Thursday, June 9, 2016

Lessons of Life & Death on the Farm

A new baby will be arriving on the farm in 4 weeks or so.
No, it's not a calf or another animal but our baby girl.
The time has flown but yet I am so, so ready (physically, not mentally).
During the entire pregnancy, I have thought of things I want her to learn, know, do and be a part of.

Father's Day is soon and there have been plenty of advertisements to remind us of that.
This year will be the last year we don't celebrate Father's Day.
With both of our dad's gone to heaven above we don't celebrate,
but with the little one on the way, we will next year!

Here is an article I recently wrote for Farm Indiana.
There are lessons I want my daughter to know and it's about the two grandfather's she will know of
but will never meet until she gets to heaven.

***

I am sure I have written about this before but now that we are about to welcome our first baby into the world, I have been thinking about it more often.  
I have been thinking of things I want to tell her and stories I need to share. 

Our daughter will be a part of two farm families that have been around for generations.  She will understand the seasons at an early age and how much Mother Nature is a part of our lives.  She will run around in the dirt that will produce a crop that will help feed a growing world and sustain our family farms.  And our daughter will know a lot about life and death at an early age, just as I did. 


I have been a part of many celebrations in my life—birthdays, weddings, graduations, welcoming life into this world, career successes, sharing love, laughter and accomplishments 
with friends and family and finding the love of my life. 

However, I have also been a part of a lot of negative things and death.  I was in preschool when my paternal grandfather collapsed at the county fair surrounded by family and friends and was rushed to the hospital.  I remember the chaos of the day, the days that followed, and I vividly remember his funeral.  My great cousin was playing the piano at the end of the service when I turned to look at my dad and he was crying.  My maternal grandfather passed when I was a sophomore in high school.  My mom took me to the nursing home to see him often, and I would sit in his room while she talked to the nurses.  Grandpa was a firm believer in education and being involved in your community.  So as I watched him wilt away from this earthly life, I studied my vocabulary words and planned student council activities.  At the funeral, I saw my dad cry again. 

I only saw my dad cry a handful of times in his life; at those funerals and a few times during sports movies and westerns.  I also saw him laugh a lot and celebrate with family and friends.  When he died, I cried but I also celebrated because that is what he always taught me to do.  There were signs that came in the weeks after his death that made me realize his life was worth celebrating and laughing at even after death. 

Our daughter will never know her grandfathers, maternal and paternal, as they have both have gone to heaven above.  My dad and my husband’s father died on their farms, where they worked and lived--a place they called home. 



However, our daughter will know them by the stories we tell and the lessons we teach her.  One of our family beliefs is that “God will take you when he wants you” and really there is nothing you can do about it. 

At a young age, she will understand that sometimes baby calves die of complications or you have to end your animals’ lives to prevent them from suffering more than they have to.  I learned at a very young age on the farm that the killing and caring of your own animals makes you more connected to life.
You understand life and death better when you are living it every day. 

I hope my daughter lives a long, happy and prosperous life.  I hope she understands just how precious it is and how quickly it can be taken away.  I hope she sees us cry some and laugh a lot on our farm where we live and work and stay connected to life and death.  It’s a wonderful lesson we learned from our fathers on our farms.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Calm in the Storm

It's been raining a lot lately on our farm, too much.
The days of sunny skies that bring dry weather to soak up the moisture 
in the fields have been few and far between.
(But this week has been great and with a few long nights, we are finished planting!)


I came home one night to my farmer who I knew was stressed but didn't show it.
"Let's go check some fields and cows," he said.
I obliged, didn't change out of my dress and hopped my pregnant self in the truck.

I love checking cows with my husband.  
It seems so natural to him to stand in an open pasture with the cattle.


I love standing in the pasture too, but they don't seem to like me as much as they like him.
I get these stares quite frequently when I'm with the cattle.  
Maybe they know I'm not the one that feeds them.


As he continued to walk through the pasture, I just starred at him and watched the cattle follow him calmly.  Everything was so peaceful even though a storm had just come and gone and another one was about to arrive.


I looked away for a few minutes and all of a sudden, I seemed to lose him.
But he was there.....in the middle of the cattle acting cool, calm and collected just as he always does.

I, on the other hand, was standing near the bull who wasn't really pleased with me.
While I did and always stay calm with the cattle, I felt like the bull this time.
The one that can cause havoc and disrupt the peace.


Pregnancy has made me realize how much I love and appreciate my husband.
While I may be the bull in the china shop with sudden bursts of emotions and tears, he is the calm in the storm.  

When I yell, "honey, I'm pregnant!  Look at me!"
He responds with his calm demeanor, "yep, there's a baby in there."

He's the one with the steady hand that deals with my crazy requests, 
my constant need for cuddling and pregnancy shopping habits.
I talk too much and disrupt his peace, but after all of that he still loves me.


I've pretty much accepted that I am like the bull and can hang with him as we try to keep our emotions intact.
And when we do cause a storm, the peaceful cows and my calm husband will be around to bring us back to reality and remind us to chill out.

Even my husband's steady, calm hand can soothe our baby and she's not even here yet.
Maybe they both will be the calm in my storm....let's just hope!


Friday, May 6, 2016

Motherhood on the Farm



It's almost Mother's Day and it seems to be a bit different this year.
It might be because I will be a mother soon and I can feel the child moving around all the time!
Or it might mean that I'm totally freaked out and really have no idea what to expect.
And you know what that means, I will be calling my mom.....a lot.

She knows it because I already do.  
I still call her from the grocery asking her where things are, so she gets it.

There are so many things I want my little girl to know and do and hope for.
I want to tell her a lot and teach her a lot.
However, I need to realize that my daughter will pick up on things from me just being me 
and living a full, happy and wonderful life.

Kind of like I picked up my love for polka dots from my mom without her telling me.



My daughter will grow up on a farm just like I did.
She will be a farmer's daughter and a part of two family farms that have been around for generations.
I want her to be proud of the ground beneath her feet and the dirt that feeds her life.

I want her to realize she may have to run to the field to help her dad or her family while she in her high heels.

I want her to realize she may have to chase cows in a fancy dress or while she is wearing pantyhose but it's okay because her mom and grandma did.


I want my little girl to be able to look in the distance at a storm cloud and see the rain coming, 
not to be oblivious of it's arrival and the impact it may have.

I want her to understand when life starts and when it ends and everything in between.
I want her to realize that sometimes life is hard and we lose some--fights, animals, crops, friends, family, etc.--but to still have optimism.


I want her to embrace each moment of life--the good, bad and ugly.
I want her to surround herself with wonderful women and role models (men included).
I want her to fall down, get some bumps and bruises, cry some and then get back up and live it all over again.

I want her to not be afraid to express herself through her words, actions, wardrobe, career and involvement.  
And if she wants to be Fancy in the County, that's great!

On this Mother's Day, I hope my daughter is okay living in the country and on a farm even though many people don't think working farms exist anymore.

Someday, she will learn of the love and sacrifices her mother, sister and grandmother made for our family farms.  She will know that her father and grandfathers were the salt of the earth that gave much of what they had to her without even knowing she would come along.

I hope motherhood on the farm is just as amazing as my childhood was, and I want my daughter to pick-up life lessons by watching the wonderful women in my life.
And if it's not that great and she doesn't do what I say, I'm calling my mom!
Farm moms always make things better.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Farmer Optimism

It’s a tough road at times, this life we live and the work we do.  But there is always something to be positive about and grateful for, even in the darkest of days.  I recently read that they say a farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer, and it’s absolutely true.

As a farmer’s daughter and farmer’s wife, I’ve been a part of a lot of optimistic rituals in my life—praying, positive attitude, rain dances hard life lessons and more praying. 

In the 1990s, I was devastated when we sold all of our pigs.  The market was bad and we had to invest and concentrate on other areas of the farm.  This was a lesson in economics at a young age, I guess you could say which has helped me in my adult life.

In the flood of 2008, when I watched my dad look out over our flooded fields I thought all hope was gone.  Then he took us home and said, “Mother Nature is not very kind sometimes, but there isn’t anything we can do about it.  It’s just part of it.  We are safe up here on the hill with good people, food and beer.  We will figure it out.”

In 2009, my dad died during harvest and my family still had to go on.  The local family farmers brought optimism back to our farm as they arrived with their trucks to fill up loads of grain to take to market.  That dark day turned out to be okay, even without him.    


In the drought of 2012, I experienced heartbreak on a daily basis when no rain would fall or heat lightening gave me false hope for a storm that I would have gladly welcomed.  I asked my husband if he wanted to do rain dances like I used to do when I was a kid.  I got “the look” if you know what I mean, but I danced a lot when he wasn’t watching.

And today, it’s the commodity markets.  Prices are down, inputs are high, there are too many regulatory and trade issues that farmers are dealing with, and it’s all a dark reality each day as we approach the planting season. 


For the farmer, planting and harvesting is inevitable.  No matter what Mother Nature will bring, how the markets will pan out or what obstacles God will lay before him, our farmers still have to wake up each day to face the day because there is no other way or another life they would rather live.
It’s really hard to explain to someone that doesn’t live on a farm that your daily life revolves around the ground below you, weather, market, crops, animals and the daily work around you.  It’s a constant worry and a constant blessing that I don’t take for granted because as dad would say, “it’s just part of it”.


There are so many people these days that lack optimism.  It’s not surprising with all the political rhetoric, daily negative stories on the news and more.  However, when I sit for just a moment and look around me, there is a lot to be optimistic about.  I hear the new calves bawling in the pasture behind our house—a sign of new life.  I see green, lots of green (finally!)—a sign of a new season.  And I am reminded of the positive things in my life—which bring me happiness and hope.  The optimism is there, we just have to slow down at times to see it and feel it.

I don’t know where or when I found this quote but it sits on my desk as a daily reminder, 
“The one who cultivates and lives always in the optimistic, cheerful, hopeful habit of mind and heart can never fail.”


As our farmers face a new season ahead cultivating the land and caring for the crops with little known to them about what Mother Nature may bring, how the markets will go or what the crop may look like, they will still try to find a way to remain optimistic.  They have to for their livelihoods, their families, future generations and for you. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Tradition of Trash & Treasure

It’s been a spring tradition in my family for awhile.  It’s something I have never complained about, usually enjoy and am always proud to do.  I wear my most worn boots, that just happen to be covered in green and pink flowers that have faded from the cow manure and mud.  And each time before heading out the door I put my hair up, find my gloves and grab the white bag. 



As I make my way down the drive, I say a little prayer that I won’t find much.  I mean surely people remember what we learned in school, have some decency and respect other people’s things.  However, I am usually wrong.  Each time I bend down to pick up that beer bottle, fast food bag, the old cigarette butts and much more, I am disappointed.  I am disappointed that I have to pick up someone else’s trash on my family’s property.  

Yes, picking up trash is the tradition.  It has become a farm chore it seems as people pass through the countryside and enjoy the beauty but empty their trash along the way.  They have no care about maintaining the land or respect for who might care for it. 

My love of the land runs deep. I’ve written before about a favorite quote of mine that I was taught at a young age, “The land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, 
because it's the only thing that lasts”.



So when I see that someone has discarded their trash in our fields and pastures I get angry, upset and disappointed.  When I sense the laziness of the people that discard waste onto someone’s property, it makes me want to work harder to protect our land and advocate for agriculture more.  A lot of people don’t think farmers work to preserve the land, but they do in so many ways.  We are the ones that want the land to last for generations to come.



As we were passing yet another field with trash in it recently, I went on one of my rages.  My husband is used to it now and let’s me get it all out before asking, “are you okay?”  He then calmly puts some thoughtfulness and sense to it all.  As he pointed to one of our fields he said, “People don’t understand that that's our garden. It's just massive. But we still care for every seed and every plant.  I can’t go pick every weed by hand but we try to do the best we can to take care of the land, our garden.”  I reacted with some crazy hand gesture and yelled, “Yes!  The fields are our gardens and the pastures are like our yards.  Why can’t people understand, respect and appreciate that?!”  He gave me that “I’m sure you will figure it out” look and turned up the radio. 

I thought, maybe they didn’t learn about this beautiful earth and abundant land in school and that we should care for it on many levels.  Maybe their moms and dads didn’t teach them about respecting other people’s property.  As a farm girl and agriculture advocate who loves this land, maybe I can be a greater example this spring when I walk more pastures and fields to collect the trash. 


I’m sure picking up a few more pieces won’t hurt me, but I do think I need a new pair of boots so you can see the bright flowers as you pass me and enjoy the fields full of sprouting crops and the bright green pastures.  I’ll help to make it last so your kids and grandkids can enjoy it too.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Such A Different Life

I was recently visiting with some sorority sisters chatting away at what was going on in our lives.
It seemed very normal and then one of them said it,
"such a different life!"

I had started to ramble about our life, which includes the farm and all the lingo that comes with it.
Sometimes I forget that not everyone knows what farm life entails and the difference
that exists between city life and country life, until they say something.

I used to live in the city, so I get it.
But most people who live in the city have never lived in the country, so they don't get it.

They don't understand that my high heels never last as long because they get ruined
by the gravel, the mud and the dust.


They don't understand that having medicine and syringes in your house is totally normal.
I came home one day and the farmer told me a story about a cow that had some trouble delivering her calves and she had to be given some medicine.
"You'll just have to deal with this syringe being in your drying rack," he said.
(I like a clean kitchen.)
"Honey, I don't care.....glad the cow and calf are doing well."


City folk don't understand the farm laundry situation.
It's constant and never ending.
It smells....like manure and dust and hard work.
And the strangest things can be found in pockets, in the washer and on top of the dryer--change, knives, ear plugs, and castrating bands.  But when I find money, it's mine!


Folks that live in the city don't come home to a trailer full of cows in their driveway.
And understand where they are going (to the market before sunrise) and where they will end up (on my plate).



Most city folk don't get to eat the food they planted, nourished, watched grow and picked themselves. Unless they have a garden, which I commend them for, they just don't get to eat sweet corn standing in the middle of a field.


City folk don't understand that life and death can happen in the same place 
you live and work on, the farm.
And when you lose someone or something on the farm, "it's just part of it" and you must move on.  

Farmers and their families aren't really that different than city folk.
But in the grand scheme of things, we do lead such different lives.
I try to explain it the best way possible, explaining my lingo, the laundry, calving, 
the long hours, dirty floors, life, death and more.

However, this different life is one that I would never want to change, for better or worse, 
because I get to stand on heaven and below heaven with my loved ones every day.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Celebrate the Women of Agriculture

Today, March 15, 2016, is National Agriculture Appreciation Day.
It's a day when all of us in agriculture promote our way of life and our work to others while getting some national recognition.  However, I won't lie, every day is agriculture appreciation day.  

I was raised in it, work in it and live in this way of life each and every day.
And the older I become, I realize just how much my parents sacrificed for our way of life.
My dad was the farmer and my mom was the farmer's wife who wore heels and worked in town.
However, she sacrificed just as much as he did.  

See below for an article my sister Sarah and I wrote for our local newspaper to celebrate agriculture and the women who raise their kids in it, work in it and live agriculture each and every day!

*****

Many things change over the course of a year and even a decade; kids grow taller, the wise gain more wrinkles, we celebrate new life and praise lives as they depart this earth.  However, some things never change, like the core values of agriculture.  It's been the same for centuries.  As our first President George Washington, once said, 
“Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful and most noble employment of man”.


Sure there have been significant changes and positive strides in the way we raise our animals, produce a crop and care for our land but the values are the same.  Farmers produce more with less land, less water, and less environmental impact.  But the core premise of agriculture has been a mainstay and tradition forever--work hard with integrity, provide for your family, grow a good crop and trust God knows what he is doing 
(especially with the weather).


Farmers work hard with their worn hands and calluses that stay with them for a lifetime.  They rise before the sun and many times don’t come home until the moon is high in the sky.  As kids, we liked to sleep in but our dad would come in and say, “Girls, you’re burnin’ daylight”.  He, as a farmer, was always ready to get up and take on the day.  
Working hard and long hours has always been a part of farming.

As farm girls one thing we have learned is that on the 8th day God created the farmer, but on the 9th he created the farm girl, the farm wife and the farm mom.  While our mom didn’t grow up on a farm, the values she taught us alongside our dad were the same--work hard with integrity, provide for your family, grow a good crop and trust God knows what he is doing.  As a young girl she wanted to own a piece of farmland just as much as our dad and she eventually got the chance to do so.


This month we dedicate and celebrate not only the farmer but the women on the farm.  We know they may not be the face of the farm or at the forefront of decisions or farm chores.  However, they do need to be appreciated for raising the farm kids, caring for the farmer, doing chores when needed, caring for a baby calf in her house, running errands in town, and feeding the family.  She is the woman who realizes her floors will never be clean and the laundry will never end.  She needs to be thanked for working with her children on their 4-H projects last minute, running kids to club meetings, and for buying their 4-H showing outfits while she watches them work hard with the integrity she taught them.



As we celebrate Agriculture Appreciation Month this March and National Ag Day on March 15th, we encourage you to learn something new about agriculture or reach out to those working in agriculture.  And as you are eating each meal, thank a farmer and pray for the farm women who also sacrificed to bring food to your table. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Celebrating Farm Life….Every Day

It's National Agriculture Appreciation Month!
However, we celebrate and appreciate agriculture and our farm life everyday.
Below is my most recent article from Farm Indiana.
Enjoy and remember to thank a farmer this month!

***

I was asleep in bed, enjoying the quiet on one of our cold, winter mornings when I heard the door open and boots stomping mud and manure all over the floor.  I was sure he had forgotten something—his coffee, extra coat or paperwork—and my peace was disturbed.  

“Hello dear,” he proclaimed “sorry to bother but where can I find some old towels?”  I took a deep breath, “We only have one and you used it on the dog.”  “Oh,” he stated “I found a newborn calf half frozen by the barn.  The mom had twins and I have got to warm her up.  She’s in the front seat of the truck now.”  

I sat up in bed, my peace no longer a priority, and yelled, 
“Oh no!  Just take our bath towels, however many you need.”

I worried about this calf all day and constantly asked for updates which I am sure were a bit annoying to my farmer as he tended to the herd and other daily chores in the freezing, windy weather.  However, I got a picture that afternoon that helped bring the peace I had felt that morning back to life.  Our niece and nephew were holding on to the newborn calf who was standing tall and looked warm and healthy.  
They had appropriately named her Frosty.


Frosty lived through that dreadful morning and now runs around the barnyard with the kids like a pet dog.  However my friends’ calf, so thoughtfully named Baby Flowers by their young daughter, did not make it through a similar dreadful day.  She stated that her little girl would be devastated by the loss of this calf who she had grown so fondly of in just one day.  I reminded my friend that her daughter would be okay.  Her daughter would come to understand the concept of life and death at an early age that many people don’t teach their children about until they grow older.  Her daughter would be stronger for going through the grieving process and learning to understand the emotions of what it brings to her outlook on life and the strength that sits within her.


We celebrate and grieve in one way or another on the farm almost daily—the loss of an animal, the ups and downs of the commodity markets, the joy in growing something on the land we own and the weather, oh how we celebrate and have grief about the weather.  

Life on the farm is full of both celebrations and griefs and it’s all very much worth it.  In my short life, I have seen calves and baby pigs die, diseases strike our family’s cattle heard, the fall of crop prices, river waters flood my family’s fields too many times and the sun’s heat dry up the crops.  I have watched my dad die on the farm that he sacrificed so much of his life for and celebrated his life on the same farm that his family continues to work on today.  I have witnessed the hard work our farmers give daily to their family farms and the strength and endurance to keep them operating for generations to come celebrating the good and bad each step of the way.



As we await spring to arrive and pray for a year full of good weather, steady prices and safety for our farmers, I am excited to celebrate Ag Appreciation Month in March and hope you will join me and learn something about agriculture and farmers.  And I thank Frosty and Baby Flowers for their enduring life lessons and reminders that farm life is worth celebrating every day.