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Four seasons

Agriculture.com Staff 12/05/2006 @ 8:07am

Maybe it is because the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. Maybe it is because it is the month of December and another year is ending. Maybe it is because in seven months, I will be 60 years old.

Considering that my parents who both died of natural causes, my dad at age 82 and my mother at age 87, would indicate that I could expect to reach a similar age, barring some drastic change of events. In the gas tank of life, my gauge is pointing at about one-quarter. My son is at three-quarter.

Farming is about seasons. Looking at life through the four seasons, I am at late fall, with much of my harvest behind me. The decisions I made long ago are in place and the results are in front of me. My son is in late spring with a growing season and harvest well ahead of him.

Whatever the reason, I have been thinking about life and where I am at in life. Had I been told about 40 years ago, that I would be where I am today, I would have been surprised and pleased. I did not decide to go into farming until I was about 29 years old. I tried working for a corporation and an individual and as good as they were for jobs, they still were not quite right.

Farming appealed to me because I saw my dad working for himself as a farmer. I liked the freedom and lack of supervision he had always had. His days were a mix of work and pleasure. He was always in charge and could work at his pace. It was the independence that appealed most to me about farming.

I cannot say I am a natural born farmer. It was more a matter of growing into it. Being raised on a farm made it second nature so learning it was easy. My dad was natural born farmer and in watching my son make his decisions about farming, I can see he is a repeat of my dad.

My dad and my son both take each day with a sense of purpose. Their attitude is "I have things to get done today." They both have a sense of duty and time means nothing when it comes to getting the job done. They can be very single minded in their work.

This means I do not share their single-minded dedication. I can be easily distracted. I enjoy farming but I enjoy many other things too. A year or so ago, my son and I were talking about things and I referred to the people around us as the best part of farming. My son replied, "I thought it was running machinery."

Running machinery is the best part of farming for him. I look at machinery the way a carpenter looks at a saw and hammer. They are tools necessary for the job. I do not need the newest and biggest as long as they are dependable, so using older machinery is very comfortable for me. I also get a sense of accomplishment getting another crop from machinery that others have decided is not good enough.

For me, farming is a way of life and a business, probably in that order. My dad and my son could say to me, "Why are you thinking about this when there is work to be done?" They do have a point. They know that in order to have a future, you have to take care of today.

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