So God Made a Farmer

Every year presents with its own unique challenges, struggles, and rewards. Every year, I find some new adventure, some new hardship, some new sorrow. One of the things that didn’t necessarily draw me to farming, but continues to make me glad to carry the label “Farmer,” is that no day is like the last. I cannot say that any two days that I’ve been a farmer have been the same, at all. Sure, I feed the animals, tend the vegetables, collect the eggs. It sounds pretty much the same, doesn’t it?

It’s not the same at all. Even from year to year, things are always different. The weather challenges me. The critters, whether livestock or insect, challenge me. The soil itself challenges me! Everything is a challenge; a learning experience; a chance for growth. Digging potatoes this year was different than every other year. Seeing the difference in fertility that the pigs brought to the ground was extremely evident in the potatoes this year. You could have guessed where they spent most of their time by the size of the potatoes alone!

I had a lot of challenges this year, but I also consider this one of my best seasons yet. This season marked ten seasons since I came home with chickens and the farming woman inside of me suddenly came to life. It’s taken ten long seasons to get to this amazing point in my farming life. For the first time, no hogs crossed their fence. For the first time, I didn’t lose a single broiler to predation or heat. For the first time, my calves are growing exactly as they should be and doing amazingly well. For the first time, the pigs loaded themselves into the trailer on butcher day.

That’s not to say that nothing went wrong this year. I’ve had my share of bad days and more colorful words probably left my mouth than intended. If you’re a mover and shaker, if you’re getting out there and getting it done, things will absolutely go wrong. My grandfather made a statement about an employee of his who always broke things and why he never fired the employee: “He’s the only one doing anything!” So, lots went wrong this year, like every year, and while I never want it to be that way, it’s okay. Really, it’s okay.

I had problems with my chicken plucker. I had two separate cherry trees fall on my fence this year. That alone was bad enough, but to make it worse, wilted cherry leaves are toxic and they were suddenly in reach of my whole flerd of cattle and sheep. Thankfully, I got there in time before they wilted and everyone was safe! My cows escaped at least three times, maybe four…I start to lose track after a while. Due to electric issues, my turkey poults and half of my baby pullets (laying hens) died on a cold spring night when their heat lamp lost power. I had to say goodbye to my ram, Sam, when he continued his aggression to the point of causing me serious concern for my well-being.

Sometimes, the bad days in farming are enough to knock you to the ground. The bad days are enough to lay you out and you find yourself ripping grass out of the ground in total frustration. I’ve sat, tears welling up in my eyes, knowing there was nothing I could have done at the time with the information that I had and slicing every last piece of wisdom and knowledge out of those bad days. Some days, it’s a sigh and a mutter of “What a way to start the day” as I head up the hill with a bucket of grain to lure two ornery calves back to the pasture.

Every step in the wrong direction, every “failure,” every mistake that made me fuming mad or agonizingly sad, and every success that made me glad to wear the label “farmer,” these were all times that I gained something, earned something, learned something. No moment in my farming history has been without a lesson, most often with a test at the beginning! No, the class never starts with a lesson, always a test first! Sometimes I’ll get a passing grade; but the lessons that teach me the most usually start with a failed test.

I have learned how to herd chickens, coax the wary calf back through the gate, run from a hog to get it where I wanted it, and how to sit down a sheep. I’ve learned how to have patience with creatures that don’t speak my language, to speak with my body language rather than my words, how to ask for help, and to manage my emotions despite the circumstance. I’ve gained knowledge, empathy, patience, and strength. I’ve laughed, cried, screamed, and sighed.

At this point, ten years in, I can easily say that I would not trade farming for all the salt in Utah, all the tea in China, or all the gold in Fort Knox. It isn’t just a trade, a job, or a hobby. It’s part of who I am, what I love. And I seek to share the good, the bad, and the awesome of my day to day because farming is an incredible journey. It wouldn’t be right to keep the crazy stories, the unbelievable tales, or the sad experiences to myself.

So now I leave you with Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer.” It never fails to move me and I hope you feel as I do.


One thought on “So God Made a Farmer

  1. That was awesome Lauren. Of course the parts of you being sad or crying hurt me as well. I know you love what you are doing . So, if you are happy above all else , I am happy too! ❤️

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