Our four-year-old grandson does his part to herd the cattle down the road by waving his cap in order to encourage them along. His dad takes a bit more active approach as he runs along behind the critters!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back on the Farm

In year 37 of our marriage we are still smiling.  From left:  Farmer John, Annie, Farmer Linda.  
When my husband and I were married in 1974, I thought I would become the quintessential farmer's wife. That first summer of our marriage I hung laundry on the line and relished the scent of hay-sweetened air. I accompanied my husband, John (aka "Farmer John") as he did farm chores each morning. My rosy view of our future saw us as partners in work and in life.

However, it soon became apparent that our little farming operation needed a financial boost. And so I became a school secretary, then a teacher, and finally, a mother. I loved my career and I loved raising my two beautiful children; but I missed the farm. There was no longer time to ride with my husband in his old pickup as he drove into the green stillness of a spring morning to care for our cattle.

When budget cuts took the special reading program I'd run for years, I thought the end of my world had come. I suffered through a tunnel of grieving before I finally accepted the inevitable and retired from teaching this past spring. But a funny thing happened a few weeks after my official retirement; I woke up and realized that I am still living on a farm.

Farmer John welcomed me back to the passenger seat of a slightly newer pickup than the one I'd abandoned 37 years earlier. The air still smells sweet, the cattle still rush to feed on the grain we bring them each morning, and I'm loving riding down a country road with the windows rolled down and the wind blowing through my graying hair.

God is so good. We may forget a heart need or a prayer, but He doesn't forget.

I'm back on the farm.

I snapped this photo one morning last week as we drove through a pasture.  I expected to see a hobbit or a wizard pop out from behind a tree in this secret, rocky space.  It felt as though no human should enter. 

John's been feeding the cattle corn chop to give them a pleasant association with him so they will cooperate when he wants to load them.  It must taste like candy to them.  They rush to it, and then toss their heads and lick their chops as they gobble it down. 

I always think John looks like he's pontificating to a congregation when he counts cattle. 

 There were just two of us in the pickup today, three drinks.  Farming is thirsty work. 

Annie loves being a farm dog.  You should see her sad face when we have to leave her at home. 

I helped to lift each one of these panels and put them into place.  Very proud of myself. 

John filled sacks with corn chop this morning. I slid that panel out for him and pushed it back on his command.  I pulled a bit hard the first time and caused him to say, calmly, "You don't want to pull that all the way out--all the corn chop would pour out on the ground."  Glad I didn't do that.  He's been very patient with me--so far. 

We are having FUN. 

This is our brand.  It is an open A over a backward J.  We have a neighbor who calls it an umbrella, which just doesn't sound nearly as cool. 

I have angst about my footwear.  I feel I should wear boots, like a real farmer.  
Postscript:  This entry is the first post of my "new" blog, Back on the Farm.  The blog was formerly titled Swansong, and chronicled the final days of my teaching career.   That blog was about grief over a chapter of my life that was coming to a close, but this blog is about a new song the Lord has given me to sing.  I am very grateful to Him.  This quote from Jan Karon's Light From Heaven describes how I feel about this new time in my life:   
“I’m reminded of something George Herbert wrote, that lovely man.  ‘And now in age I bud again…’ I sense that God has set you on a wonderful new course, that you’re entering a kind of golden passage”  (Light From Heaven, by Jan Karon; from her Mitford series--read 'em all if you haven't yet!). 


  1. Awesome! Awesome testimony to our Lord's faithful care and wise ways. Awesome post full of fun and joy and hope. Awesome pictures of your earthly homeland, your love, and yourself! I look forward to reading this often.

  2. Leanna Love said...

    Love this farm life blog. Congrats to you, Linda, on entering a fun new phase of life. I have learned life takes on many different phases, most of which happen for the better. I know we will be experiencing a very exciting new phase of life--grandparenting. Keep on enjoying--it is so refreshing to see and hear that people are happy with their lives when most of our news on TV is so negative.