If This Old Farm Could Talk

Caitlin

If this old farm could talk, it would tell of the years gone by. It would tell stories of the six generations in our family before us who poured their blood, sweat, tears, and heart into the land. It would tell of the droughts and the hardships, and of the bountiful harvests and the family celebrations. And of the handing down of responsibility, traditions, and trust from generation to generation. We would hear about all the lessons learned throughout the years, mostly through the hard way. It’d tell about chores, water hose fights, and grease gun wars.

Probably about 20 years ago. The combine was stuck clear up to the ladder.
Jake and his sister feeding a bottle calf at the farm.
Jake when he was a baby, riding in the combine and tractor with his mom and dad.

These worn beams in the barn would tell of the young kids stacking hay through the long summer days. They would tell the story of a snake hiding between the bales and being thrown at a friend as a prank. They would tell of the laughter to make the work load seem a little lighter, and the water breaks that turned into dirt clod fights. It would tell about the harsh winter storms, and how they spent the night braving the cold to bring a momma cow and her fresh, still wet calf inside to warm up. The headstalls remind of a time when the milking was done by hand every morning before school, and then again when the kids returned home.

I love this old barn. These are the stalls where Jake’s Grandpa Gary and Great Uncle Richard would milk the cows every morning.
After Gary and Richard left for college, their parents got an automatic milker.

 

The land would tell about the years when it thirst for fresh rainwater, and of the years that the rains wouldn’t stop. It would tell about all the families that its yields had fed throughout the years, and about the farmer’s frustrations with the pests and weeds. It would tell about how that young kid who once bucked hay, had grown and had his own boys who had inherited the love of the land. That the love of the land ran so deep, that when the farmer’s time had come much too soon, his ashes were spread on the same soil that he’d poured his whole life into. That it was now the next generations turn to steward the land and animals to the best of his abilities. It would tell the story of two kids who fell in love and said their vows on that same land. And that now this seventh generation was doing their best to instill that same love and respect into their children, that had been passed down so many times before. That the responsibility was big, but the honor was even bigger.

Their first harvest without their dad. That’s Casey showing off his awesome muscles.
Harvests from years ago.

 

The farmhouse would tell us about the ears that perked up when they heard the bell signaling dinnertime, and of how the family would gather together at night, bowing their heads and thanking the good Lord for another day. It would tell about how Jake’s grandpa who was born in the back bedroom, still spends his days at the farm over 80 years later. His knees don’t let him climb in a tractor anymore, but he’s still just as vital to the operation as ever. He offers guidance and wisdom that could only come from decades of experience.

Grandpa Gary and Jake’s brother Casey during harvest the month after they lost Donnie.

The sheds would tell about the precious time spent between multiple generations of fathers and sons, passing on knowledge of machinery and of life in general. Where there were wrenches thrown in frustration, and apologies and grace given. Where the children have put miles on the tricycle as they would ride in circles watching their dad work. My favorite story that it might tell is of the husband and wife who took a few minutes when their song came on the radio to dance on those dusty shop floors.

Gary and Donnie at the farm

It tells about the pride and the joy that run so deep that nothing could take it away.

It runs in their blood and it consumes their hearts. They strive everyday to keep it going and to weather the hard times and low commodity prices. They hit their knees and pray to make it through another season of drought. What they do doesn’t make sense, but it’s who they are. They’re farmers.

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