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Monday, Jan. 16, 2017

Giving thanks for the wealth of farm blessings

Posted Thursday, November 29, 2012, at 9:08 AM

It may be a few days late, but I decided better late than never. As we dive into the Christmas season, where we tend to think about all we need, perhaps it's even more important to acknowledge those things we already have and appreciate.

So I've decided to create a list of the many things I am thankful for:

Indoor plumbing -- When I married my husband, an uncle told me I must not have married a "real" farmer, because we had indoor plumbing. Apparently in his mind, farms hadn't and shouldn't become more modern since my aunt was raised on a farm in western Kansas. As much as I loved my husband, I'm pretty sure if his farm had lacked indoor plumbing, it would have been a deal breaker.

Cows -- I just like them. I like the looks of them. I like watching the newborn babies. I even like the way cows smell (weird, I know). And of course, I like the products that come from cows: for dairy cows that includes milk and cheese. For beef cows, which we raise, well I like beef, especially steak.

Happy farmers -- I like a farmer's laughter and the look of satisfaction after a hard day's work. (I don't enjoy the dirty laundry which comes from that day -- but I digress, this is a thankful column.)

Spring -- Nothing is more satisfying than spring on the farm. Green grass starts to poke out from under dried brown mounds. Baby calves bounce through the pastures with tails straight in the air. Small spikes of corn start to peak out in straight long rows in area fields. When you take time to actually enjoy the scenes nature provides us, how can you not be thankful?

Winter -- It's the view from the inside I'm thankful for during winter -- the satisfaction of having our majority of work finished for the year and the ability to enjoy regular evening hours with my farmers. The cold weather and snow, well, I'm really not thankful for that, but as I found out last winter, without it my farmers would be outside working long hours.

Cabbed tractors -- Without cab tractors, my children wouldn't have been able to safely ride so many hours with me. There were times I wanted to pull my hair out -- answering endless questions, listening to loud renditions of "Achy Breaky Heart," or thousands of recitations of the FFA creed. Today, as the parent of grown sons, who would never admit such occurrences ever happened, I wouldn't trade the memories for anything.

Automobiles -- The thought of having to drive a horse to work fills me with dread, and makes me cold, hot or wet, depending on the weather. I am definitely thankful to have a car, gasoline and enough money to fill the tank.

Scenery -- Like most of us, I tend to ignore the beauty around me. But when I make a conscious effort to look around my farm or neighborhood, I realize the view is breathtaking. For that, I am thankful.

Cell phones -- I think cell phones have changed the family farm more than any recent invention. Although I am sure ag mechanics probably hate them, the truth is they have probably saved a few trips out to a farm. A farmer can talk directly to the mechanic to identify a problem. Of course, that is just one small way cell phones have improved our communication skills. To be honest, I can't remember how we managed without them.

Cattle dogs -- I'm thankful for all the animals on the farm, but most of all for our border collies. Not only are they great pets, but they save thousands of steps everyday. Their uncanny ability to herd cattle can only be described as a gift from God.

Opportunities -- I am more and more thankful for having the opportunity to continue to watch my family grow, our farm bloom each spring, gather harvest each fall and find the beauty in the simple things.

Good health -- I'm thankful for the good health of myself, my husband and family. Now that I'm older I've started to realize I am more and more like a car with mounting mileage -- breakdowns are inevitable and trade-in isn't really an option. So I'm thankful when we can be patched back together and put back on the road, older, wiser and with more appreciation of day-to-day good health.

And last, but certainly not least, I'm especially thankful for our abundance of food. I am thankful for all the people who have even a small role in growing, processing and serving the food on my table each and every day.

A belated Thanksgiving to all of you and may your Christmas holiday be filled with blessings.

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