The smell of freshly mowed hay makes this farm girl smile! Summer is just a few weeks away, and my three sons have already finished the first cutting. That fragrance of green and growth is intoxicating! I’m so grateful not to suffer from hay fever because I love everything about hay season: the warm sun on my face, the crickets chirping, and the birds singing. Just listen to the hum of that tractor as it crawls over the rolling hills.
Like everything worth doing, a lot – I mean a lot – of work goes into what seems like a simple ritual on the farm. We must clean, oil, gas, and sharpen the tractors, implements, and wagons before they roll out of the farmyard and cut the first blade of alfalfa. I have driven tractors, stacked hay in wagons, loaded hay onto the elevators and up into the barn lofts, and used that hay to feed the livestock. This city girl went country long ago.
However, I wasn’t the only one who needed to learn how to farm. My husband had never driven a tractor before we bought these sixty acres. During our early years on the farm, we spent more time on the road getting parts to repair our old tractor and mower than we did in the fields – at least, it felt that way to me.
Some of the stories about life on the farm seem so unreal that many listeners wonder if they are fiction rather than fact.
For example, the year I was pregnant with our second child, who was due in July, I made so many trips down these bumpy and hilly roads to the John Deer dealership that the sales staff announced that if my husband needed any more parts, they would only sell to him. They were afraid I would deliver my baby in their shop!
Life on the farm is very real, very dirty, and very smelly. But I can’t imagine raising our sons anywhere else. The farm taught them how to make do, to think creatively, fabricate parts from broken pieces, and grow and raise anything. But above all, the boys learned the interconnectedness of all things in nature, and they learned to appreciate every one of life’s cycles. Thanks to those lessons, I know they will not only survive in life but thrive.
This year, my sons purchased some new equipment: a tedder, a rotating rake, and a newer baler. What a difference from our first years of hay production! We will still have breakdowns and weather to contend with because life on the farm is never dull, but every day is an adventure. As David writes in Psalm 96:12, NLT: “Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!”
Only when we spend time outdoors – walking in spring rains, relaxing in the shade of a tree, digging in the dirt, planting, and harvesting fruits and vegetables – can we truly appreciate the beauty of God’s world.