This agricultural life is hard. It’s all we’ve ever known since we were married. Farming and ranching is not for the faint of heart. It is not for people who want a Monday through Friday, 8-5 job. It is hard. You work sun up to sun down with a lot of days starting before the sun has risen and finishing long after if has gone to bed. The job is never done. There is always something more to do. Fences to fix, fields to plant, hay to bring in, animals to be fed. I wish I could remember all the nights that work continued on by the light of tractor or truck head beams. It is hard to leave work at work when you get off and come home because, well, it is home.
|Waiting their turn to come in the the milk parlor.|
You have to be smart. Able to crunch numbers on a whim. Know the feed to weight gain ratio for your livestock. You keep up with sales and bookkeeping. You’re a businessman, a welder, plumber, vet, electrician and mechanic. You know when to plant, when to sell and when to buy. You can be covered in sweat and manure one minute and the next you’re down town, clean, pressed and dressed- addressing potential customers and selling your product. You’re a jack of all trades. You have to be.
It can be lonely, sometimes you go without seeing people except at church on Sundays. You freeze in the winter and fry in the summer. There is no employee of the month or bonuses. Just back braking work and an occasional ‘good job’ pat on the back. Sometimes money runs out and a job ends. So we move again. Another ranch, another farm. Life is hard out here. Tractors brake down and hay gets rained on. Animals die and crops burn in the relentless heat with no rain. No one told us it would be easy. In fact we’ve had several people encourage us to get out. But it’s a part of us. You might say it’s in our blood. Call us crazy but we love it.
Sebron and I have had moments when we talk. What are we doing? We could do something else….. but what?
It does have its rewards. We fill our plats with food we grew and raised and it fills us with satisfaction and pride almost as much as it fills our belly. There is no feeling like when you haul that last bale of hay to the barn, beating the black storm clouds and rain that have been threatening all day. No reward like when you work to pull a calf and see it stand on it’s own for the first time. The feeling of accomplishment when you stand along a tall field that you plowed and planted with your own hands and prayed each night for rain and are now reaping the harvest. When you load up those cows or pigs you raised from babies to take to market. You come home each night exhausted and yet fulfilled. We are the backbone to society. Some people look down on us. But without us they’d be naked and hungry. =)
No, agriculture is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes things don’t go as planed. Three other raw dairies in the area opened right after Yellow Rose did. Our milk sales never picked up and we found ourselves throwing out hundreds of gallons of milk a week, or spraying it on the fields. The operation just wasn’t paying for itself. So, last week I said goodbye to the ladies of Yellow Rose Dairy. They were sold to another dairy in West Texas and our last milking was last Sunday evening.
It was sad to say goodbye. I enjoyed milking, but I also knew it was time. Milking was getting harder and harder since I had to take the kids with me. Trying to keep milkers going, kids and cows happy and keep the kids entertained was a full time exhausting job. I am so grateful for the dairy. It allowed me to help out financially while Sebron was down with his back. But it wasn’t meant to be long term. So Sunday evening I milked for the last time and said goodbye. We still have one Holstein we are milking and giving the milk to the pigs, but I’m only milking on Saturday mornings and when they need me to fill in. It’s not the same.
We are looking for work again as it was the dairy that brought us here to begin with.
I do not know what the Lord has in store for us but I know He will provide and it will be good. We are trusting Him and as always I know He will show Himself Big!