As we begin to wrap up an insane 2020 this year, a thought came across my mind today. Do we ever give enough Kudos to not just the farmer who kept us going this year, but also to the farm kids who really had to pitch in and help more than usual? I have always believe that ever farmer should be thanked all the time for the hard work they do to keep this world alive. You see, they don’t get to take the day off if it’s too cold, or hot, or raining, or a blizzard. They still have livestock and crops that must be tended. But have you ever though about what that farm kid does on those days too? Guess what, they are usually right out there in the middle of whatever weather throws at them because it’s part of their life from the day they were born.
Now I didn’t spend my whole life living on a farm. I do consider myself beyond fortunate enough to have had grandparents who lived in the country, and absolutely spoiled to have had one who was a full time farmer and ran cattle on part of his land. I got to spend time walking around a cotton field, while opening up a boll and seeing what fresh wet cotton looks like (and hearing my grandpa joke that if I kept opening them up to look at them I’d ruin his profits for the year). I got to ride along in his truck to go check the cows, see newborn calves, and go to a few auctions. He let us raise all kinds of birds at their house even though he didn’t have to. Know what I loved the most? Just getting to spend time riding around in the old pickup truck with a grandfather full of great stories, waving to all the friendly neighbors who were more like family (some even were), and just getting to be outside. I was young when I learned to shoot a gun, clean a bird, watch for a rattlesnake, and appreciate the smell of cows.
I always knew I wanted to give my kids part of that life, even though the family farm was long gone by the time they came around. Plus living a life of military brats doesn’t exactly keep you in one place to be able to farm. We were fortunate enough that while last stationed back in Texas we had a few acres of land and could start teaching the boys how to care for livestock, and respect the outdoors. However, it wasn’t until we got here to Maryland, with a little bit more space, and the kids a bit older, that they have really found their roles on the farm.
We have our horses, the goats, chickens, a donkey, and whatever else seems to land here. We are a team. Let me tell you a little story about how life has been since Christmas in a cliff notes version so you can understand what my farm kids have been going through. We had our very pregnant goat Prudence get ill with pregnancy toxemia. While waiting for her to deliver, Rosie delivered early on the morning of the 26th, on the coldest morning, and lost a set of twins. Then on the 28th Prudence went into labor around 4:30, delivered healthy triplets, but ended up losing her life by the end of the day due to the toxemia. We now have healthy triplets living in our laundry room (it’s just what we do). Then this morning, we began chores with no babies in sight as we patiently wait for Daphne who appears to be next in line. Around 10:30 when I went with my oldest to go turn out horses we hear baby goat cries…Jade delivered a healthy set of twins.
Now here’s where I want to give kudos to those farm kids…let me explain. When I realized we had freshly born, dripping slimy wet babies, I yelled at the oldest to go get towels. He quickly returned with towels, and his little brother with a roll of paper towels to jump in. Next thing they knew I was handing them those slimy covered babies to dry and warm up. They found themselves a dry spot of hay to sit in and went to work. These boys didn’t say no, or ooh gross, or I’m not touching that…NOPE, they started cleaning slime off of screaming goat kids. In the past 3 days, the boys have been involved with more birthing fluid than most care to deal with. They have seen life, and death, heard first baby cries, laughed when they tried to find their wobbly legs, and helped feed them their bottles.
My kids are getting to have the experience I wished I could have had as a kid. We are a team, and have to work as a team to make this place run. Since they came home from school in March as COVID hit, they have been more involved with the farm than ever before. Granted, they are here all day, what else other than video games and school work are they going to do. But this year those boys have worked a garden, raised chickens, taken care of horses and goats, gone fishing, worked in the heat, the rain, the snow, and now are fully involved in the goat’s kidding season.
So once again, KUDOS to the farm kids who just step up and do what we need them to do, whether it be putting a seed in a garden, or helping to warm up a new born baby while getting covered in slime. This is the generation of kids to be most proud of. These are the kids who will keep this nation going when it’s their turn. These are the kids who jump out of bed at 6am because we said we needed help. These are the generation of kids who I can’t wait to see what amazing things they accomplish. We really are blessed to live in the farm country of Maryland surrounded by a pretty awesome group of these kids, and I’m proud my two get to be in that group too! So here’s to the farm kid, the next generation!