If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Farm Living Is the Life for Me!

I grew up on a farm - a working farm.  We were the workers!  My dad rarely had a 'regular' employee who came every single day, day-in-and-day-out for years.  We were the employees.  Oh, he had a brother and father who would swap work when I was really young.  Then, we had high school or college boys who would help in hay or silage season during the summers.  But, the steady workers were Daddy, Mom, my sister, and me.  It was a great way of living and I did love it.

Like most parents, mine wanted life to be easier and better for us than it had been for them.  They insisted we go to college and become educated so that we could earn a good living and live the American Dream without having to work as hard as them.  So, we did.  The thing is, both of us have pretty much come back to our roots - living on a farm.  Now, neither of us work hard like the folks did and earn the living solely from farming.  My sister is a nurse and her husband is a machinist; however, they still have a farm with livestock and crops.  I never had the chance to miss farm living because I worked with Daddy for several years.  Then, when he semi-retired from farming, I still could go wander the fields and look over the steers he was petting - ahem...ah - feeding out.  I really liked have a one-acre lot with little responsibility beyond my flower gardens.  Then, I married Mike.

Like me, Mike grew up on a farm.  His farm experience was a little different but still they had cows and responsibilities and work.  So, rural living is something he has always cherished.  Plus, he has some acreage here and that means somebody has to do a little work and at times somebody has to do a lot of work! 

Yesterday was a work day here - oh, not a work day for me.  It was my first day of summer vacation!  Mike's Uncle Frank had cut the grass down in our front field on Sunday. 

Notice that the photographer (me) is standing on the shady porch to take the photo!

For some reason, having farm work going on really excites my precious husband.  He called me from his workplace no less than five times before lunch just to see if the hay crew had showed up to work yet.  At one point, I went out on the porch and noticed that a tractor had pulled into the driveway.  This added to Mike's excitement and he wondered if the implement hooked to the tractor was a tedder or a rake.  I told him that my eyesight is too poor to be able to tell.  Then, he asked who was driving the tractor.  Like I could distinguish the driver if I couldn't even discern the equipment!

As it turned out, the implement was a rake and his Uncle Frank was the tractor operator.

(This is a closer photo taken of Uncle Frank with my phone so I could send it to Mike yesterday.)

Soon, the field was abuzz with activity as Uncle Frank continued raking the hay up into windrows and his son-in-law, Mark showed up with the hay baler.  

Here is Mark working on his second round bale of hay.  See that first one sitting in the middle of the field?

It does still amaze me to watch the machinery work.  I always wonder who was so smart to be able to figure out how to make all those gears and wheels and cogs and tines and things work in synchronized fashion to get the job done. 

Here is a closer shot of Mark meticulously watching his machinery to be sure nothing gets broken and that all the loose grass is picked up and swept into the bale.

At the same time all of this was going on in the front field, Mike's son, Stephen, had one of the young high school boys who works for him at the store (and here on the farm sometimes) using a pitchfork to clean out the old hay at the barn where the goats shelter.  What a juxtaposition!  A pitchfork and a young stout back and arms compared to the fine-tuned machinery operating in the front field.

My job was really the best of all of them - supplying something cold to drink!  Here is Mark taking a break for a glass of southern, sweet, iced tea.

I 'toted' a cold glass of tea to the workers and they paused only long enough to swallow this before they were right back to work getting the job done.

What beautiful, uniform rolls are lying on that cleanly swept field now!

This phone picture turned out a wee bit better and I was lucky enough to catch Mark dumping the finished bale!

While I did enjoy watching the farm work, I realized that there is nothing about working in hay that I miss from my days as a farm hand.  I far prefer the job of drink provider to that of any of the hot, sweaty, dusty tractor work.  I know that I have grown soft and spoiled and I'm not going to pretend I haven't.  I'm also not going to be nostalgic and say I miss it - because I certainly do enjoy standing in the shade and watching it all happen instead of being in the thick of it on a day when the thermometer looks like this:

It is a bit nostalgic and makes me feel wonderfully blessed at the end of the day, though, to look out across the field and see the finished product.

Thomas Edison once said, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."  I guess I appreciate the demanding work of farming because my parents were good enough to me to require that I don the overalls and recognize work as opportunity.  So, today, I'm thankful that my overalls are still hanging in the closet and Uncle Frank and Mark willingly stepped into theirs.  I'm also thankful for the person who was smart enough to figure out how to make those implements which made the job easier and faster for those guys.  Mostly, I'm thankful for the opportunity to live in a place where folks are free to choose their life's work and their hobby works as well.  For what more could a person ask?