I really love road trips.
Every farm along the roads I travel gets their own story. In thirty seconds I can make up some story about how their house is perfectly decorated in French farmhouse style, their animals come up to be fed at the same time everyday and they always look fat and sassy.
The story I don’t tell myself about these farms is the real one. The heartbreaking, gut wrenching, blood curdling true stories often are not brought to mind. They are however, a common occurrence on every farm. Whether a farmer has one cow or one thousand, they would be counted pretty lucky if they have never had a bad situation occur on their watch. If you miss these seemingly unattractive parts of the stories, you miss what makes it different from any thing else in the world.
Picture this: The cows are out (someone left the gate open) and you and your spouse along with two young children are trying to herd them back onto your property. Finally, after hours of negotiations the cows finally all return to their rightful paddocks. By this time not only have you made a few misread but you may have made a few sentences under your breath or out loud about how worthless and clueless your spouse is. This was not met with a joyous reaction from your spouse (even though they were the one who left the gate open).
In the corporate world not only would you have fired your spouse but you would have told them to pack their things right there on the spot. But not on the farm. Let’s face it, even though they are the source of many headaches, you literally can not survive without them. There is no time for grudges or avoiding the boss. Things have to be done and the farm cannot thrive with out the help of all of the family.
Speaking of family, those pesky kids that dove right when they should have known to step left to cut that cow off? Yeah you are going to need that “free” labor too.
The good news is that all of these less than ideal situations aren’ t going to be the things you, as a farmer, remember most. What you will remember at family dinners years later, is the time dad was so mad that he wasn’t watching where he was going and ran into the light pole. And that time your daughter, after months of you keeping her in line, won showmanship at the county fair.
You see, those situations that are less than ideal, create an attitude of perseverance. They draw the family together to hold each other up. So in the happy moments, they are far higher than they would be alone.
The bad news is, life really sucks some days.
The really awesome news is, somedays are really, really happy. Because of the lessons learned on the farm, farm families will be there to support each other, and they know how to make fertilizer out of crap.