I just finished up a Thanksgiving morning run, just me and dog, 3 miles. I found a lot of parallels between this year farming and my run this morning, and learned another lesson from my dog.
This has undoubtedly been my hardest year farming, a cold wet spring made planting late, a cold summer delayed crop maturity, and the wettest fall even the old farmers can remember. They say we will be saying "this is nothing compared to 2009" to the next generation of farmers. It could really get you down if you let it.
Like most of this year it was cold, windy, and blowing rain this morning. I had hoped to start harvest again Fri or Sat but this morning reminded me it was going to be another wait for a dry window. I would not have gone running except I have been out of town for a few days and not run, and the dog had been staring at me since I got up-guilting me into running. If not for him I would have went back to bed or just stayed in the house.
As we headed out I tucked my head into the wind and started down the road. Once we got past the neighbors house I let Earl off the leash and he was tearing up and down the road like it was the perfect spring day. I could see the joy in his eyes and he jumped back and forth across the ditch-looking for the perfect piece of grass to whiz on.
As the run went on I finally got warmed up, began to feel better, and remembered there are many who would give anything to be able to run, or have a dog, or even walk.
It made me think that I need to stop whining about challenges and focus on some things I need to be grateful about on the farm.
1) That my Grandparents made the sacrifies that enabled me to have a farm to start farming on-without that base I doubt I could have started on any scale.
2) That my Parents and Aunt and Uncle bought another piece of land a few years ago.
3) That I have a landlord who had the forsight to rent not just for the highest dollar-but to someone who will take care of the land-and to give a fair deal on rent-and give a beginning farmer a chance.
4) That I have the physical ability to farm, I know there are some out there who for age, disease, injury or whatever would love to farm but cannot.
5) My family, they get to put up with a lot of the stress of farming, without recieving as many of the rewards.
6) Friends and neighbors, who have helped drive trucks, offered equipment when they were done, etc. That support system gives such mental comfort knowing you aren't alone, and allows one to take chances on growth that I would not take without that fall back.
7) Having a regular job that is flexible enough to let me farm, provide insurance, and stability for my kids futures.
8) That I live in a country that provides the opportunity to and freedom choose your own destity.
9) Advice from experienced farmer friends with nothing to gain-just willing to help a rookie.
I could go on and on, unless you are a farmer some of it may seem trite-but to me it is all pricesless.
And like Earl, who at the end of our run was just as happy as at the beginning, and ready to go again-instead of focusing on the challenges am going to remind myself to be thankful for just having the ability and opportunity to farm and will look forward to doing it again next year!
Edit: I am also thankful that my favorite uncle (who totaled his car last night) is unhurt and able to spend Thanksgiving with us.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone, God Bless