This post contain affiliate links.
Farming and Our Family
With Father’s Day approaching Sunday. I have been thinking alot about my dad and all that he has taught me. If you ask anyone that knows my family, they would tell you my mom is the rock of our family. She keeps it together. She is a fixer. There is never a problem that my mother cannot solve. Once when I was in school, I left early one morning and arrived home that night and my mother had torn down a shed in our yard with her BARE HANDS. Oh sure, she may have used a hammer or two, but NO heavy equipment! I am not kidding, ya’ll. My mother, all 5’2″, 115 pounds soaking wet, (Sorry, Mom!), had literally torn down a building by herself. My husband, then boyfriend, still loves to tell that story.
Let me Tell You About My Dad….
Then there’s my dad. He’s is a precious one, too. He is the most hardworking man I know. While those that know him know that he can be stubborn at times, but he is also gentle when needed. He is a perfectionist about his crop. Weeds bother him. Crooked rows-you won’t find in his fields. My dad would, and I’m quite certain has before, give the shirt off his back to someone who needed it.
My dad is a farmer. His stepdad, who he was raised by from an early age, was also a farmer. My grandfather on my mom’s side is also a farmer. My brother is a farmer. All of my uncles are farmers. Farming is what my family does. Farming is sometimes portayed in the media as a simple job. I will tell you, it is not. Here are some things I have learned from being a farmer’s daughter:
9-5 does not exist in farming.
Most days when I am arriving at work around 8:30, farmers have been working since around 6:00. We arrive home, get supper, baths, homework, and bedtime, before my husband (now a farmer), arrives home. It’s normally 8:00 (on a good night) when he gets in. My dad does the same or more. Days are long.
Farmers don’t get to see their families alot in the busy seasons. But you know what? From all the times growing up, what I remember was my dad always having time for me. Even when he would arrive home at dark, dog tired, dirty from head to toe, he always had time to play a quick game of ball with me, watch me do my latest gymnastics stunt, or just listen to me talk. I don’t remember him not being there. When he was there, he was all mine.
What’s funny about this to me is that when I went to college, I considered boys who didn’t know about farming or come from a farming background to be a little bit strange. Your dad didn’t work 16 hours a day? What’s that like? Was he lazy? (Huge disclaimer: I no longer think this way and understand that people who work 9-5 jobs are NOT lazy. That was just my sweet little small town mind not ever having been exposed to much else…..Secretly, though, my dad is still cooler than yours. Wink, wink….) I have always been extremely proud of my dad, his profession, and especially his work ethic.
Seasons are not spring, summer, fall, and winter.
In farming, seasons are typically called planting, watering, and harvest. All equally hard with equally long days. Watering is probably the most intense. This is where all the crops must be watered in order to grow. Arkansas summers can be brutal, and the crop must be taken care of if we expect any yields. Which brings me to my next point…
Poly Pipe is not the name of a cool new Shopkin
The way most fields here are watered is with Poly Pipe. This is basically just tubing hooked to a well in the ground that looks like a sprinkler. The “pipe” has to be rolled out all across the fields. Then the farmer (or farmhands, usually both) must punch the holes. There is no machine to do this. Sounds glamorous, huh? If you want to get your 10,000 steps in, just hang out with a farmer during “rolling” (a subsidiary of watering) season.
Vacations only happen from December to February.
Once all the seasons are finished, December is fabulous. If you ever get to go on vacation with your farmer, it will pretty much be one of these months. My mom, grandma, and aunts have been taking summer trips to the beach without men for as long as I can remember. Even if a farmer does get a free minute or week during one of the busy times, his mind will never fully be there with you on the vacation. True relaxation typically only happens once the crop is in and the loans are paid off.
Callused Hands are the Best Hands.
My dad’s hands won’t ever NOT have calluses. I love this. Forgive me as I sing that old Judds song…..
Rain is a Good thing.
Another song choice inspired by farmers. Rain makes corn, but it also makes farmers be able to turn the wells off and go home for a while. Whether it’s a day, or just a few hours early, rain is a good thing. To a farmer, rain is a blessing. Some of the best sleep a farmer gets is after a good rain. His mind and his body relax knowing God is taking care of his crop.
Tractor Cabs Make For Good Conversations.
There is just something about being holed up in the cab of a tractor/combine/cotton picker (always John Deere-the green ones for you non-farmers), that makes the words flow. Some of the best conversations I’ve had with my dad happened there. I remember coming home from college on a rare weekend and riding with Dad to spend time with him. He would solve all of my problems just by listening. Now, with two boys of my own, I still like to ride with my dad. The older I get, the more I cherish it.
The Weather Channel is the only channel.
My dad still does not own a Smartphone and probably never will. He does not “check the radar” on his phone, as my husband does, so he listens to the weather on our one local radio station, and then watches the weather on tv. (My parents do have internet at their house, but my dad will never learn to use it. He also refuses to learn to text.) What can I say, he’s old school. I like it that way.
Faith in God isn’t optional.
Last, but most important, is this one. I’m not sure there is a farmer anywhere who doesn’t believe in God. Some of the most faithful men I have ever known have been farmers. This profession requires it. The whole family’s livelihood depends on God blessing the soil and seed they have diligently planted and tended to. I feel so blessed that my dad is a faithful man and I have learned from him to have faith, even in hard circumstances.