“Ya, well I remember when you rolled around hay bales prickly with insect corpses and squealed like a little girl when the mice in the bales crawled across your face. You were scared of tiny mice!
“Come on, bro, remember when we were lost in the 10 foot high corn stocks and I held you up to see the pathway out?
Listening to my adult sons top one another with embarrassing stories and fond lifetime memories, I recalled their farm days of hay lofts, cows, and corn fields.
But, I never drove the tractor,
Milked the cow,
Or plant rows of corn seeds.
Unlike children taken on yearly school trips to pick their own pumpkins or to puzzle through a corn maze at a local farmer’s field, my sons were taken to a working farm for years. Those frequent times seared into their city souls a tender patch of farm soul.
My friend M. is a cradle dairy farmer, a friend for nearly 30+ years, long enough for her children and mine to bear children of their own. M was born with an farmer’s innate knowledge of the weather and flow of seasons, perceptive to almost imperceptible shifts of climate. Often enough my visits with my sons to her Farm were interrupted for weeks by hay harvests, calving and fixing broken machinery. Her year began not on January 1, but with the seasons, listening and monitoring changes of weather and air temperature.
Best cut hay today, two days of sun to bale it before it rains;
Best plant seed today, sun lasts before rain can flood them out;
Best harvest corn today, sun without rain for days makes it too dry.
All these chores are done interspersed between twice daily scheduled milkings. Dairy farmers can’t stay overtime at a friend’s afternoon lunch or all the farmers in the area hear their cows , desperate for relief, bellowing their mooing clear down the long driveways.
M’s family farm is one now held for generations, passed onto M, and now onto her children. A Farm family comprised of hardy enough individuals to survive droughts and disasters are highly independent individuals, and yet, the Farm is the true task master.
Everyone heels to its needs and time sensitive pressures, which requires a diplomacy and a dependency on one another little seen in other workplaces. Without that, the Farm would not endure and thrive. But, to run a Farm is more than to simply do a job. It is to live in tune with the mystery of the soil, the land itself and nature’s elements. Yet, the Farm infuses every farmer’s day with a satisfaction of their life choice, well conveyed in this video/commercial.
Unlike non-farmers who may be annoyed it is going to rain on a picnic, weather is the deciding partner sitting in on every conversation, deciding when weddings, a party or babies ought to be born. Only in winter does a Farmer count on rekindling social connections less unhampered by Farm’s unrelenting demands, for the rigid schedule and sternness intersects with the beauty of being connected to the land in ways we city people only barely understand.
With the musky smell of hay scented sweat permeating the kitchen, they quickly gulped water and food standing up, laughing at that day’s farming trials of tractors clinched tight in mud. Finished they’d head back to hours driving a tractor, their necks craning to watch bales of hay lifted in lofts.
Perhaps my friend M’s twilight years will be filled writing memoirs of her family heritage within a farming community, while she witnesses her children living her harsh but satisfying life over again; they’ll know both the burden and joy of being a Farmer. More likely, M will pitch in during family illness or harvesting, providing eyes to monitor a sick calf or extra hands for milking.
Today’s Farm has the modern conveniences we all have within a city, running water, gas powered machinery, and stores close by them. There is less homemaking skills necessary as in days of old: the jamming, canning and meat stocking. Yet farmers profound pleasure producing nature’s bounty exceeds even those of us who boast of our one small patch of home grown tomatoes.
Yet, hidden within every glass homemade jam jar and factory produced tin can and freezer stocked in grocery stories is a farmer, for all food is birthed on a Farm.
Unique people with dedication live this intense leisure-limiting life of farming.
This year, let us raise a glass of wine or milk or juice at our Thanksgiving dinner and celebrate the heritage of farms that dominate our land.
Let us celebrate the farmers of the past and those today who’ve graced our laden Thanksgiving table with a conspicuous abundance of food to consume.
Without their endurance and diligence, we’d have so little to enjoy.
Related Article : Farmers harvest hundreds of acres in one day
Related Book: This Old Farm is full of fascinating old farming stories and available is many libraries .