I had met farmers in my life, and I always thought that they were such a taciturn lot. They didn’t get very excited over anything, and they didn’t seem to have a whole lot to say. Their one-word answers made me think that they were always mad at someone, or at everyone, but it seemed to me that they were always a little annoyed at me for speaking to them and expecting answers.
Then we moved to a farm. And I came to understand why they were such an unruffled bunch. It’s because things are always breaking! There isn’t a day that goes by that doesn’t have a piece of farm machinery or equipment break when you go to use it, causing a domino effect of work stoppage.
If you need to clear a pasture that very weekend in order to get something planted in it the following Monday, you can be sure that that piece of machinery will break or get a flat tire, the parts for which are an hour ride away and the store that you need to visit closes early on Saturday and is not open at all on Sunday, so it really can’t wait. So off you go to town to find the part. It always seems that the first store you stop in never has what you need. They inevitably will send you on to a second store, telling you to tell Smitty that Joe sent you over. When you arrive at the second store, Smitty is out to lunch and his replacement not only doesn't seem to know Joe, but he doesn’t have any idea what you are talking about. Then he eventually finds part of what you need, but sends you off to another stop because they might have the whole part. You buy the partial part that the second store has just in case the third store doesn’t have the whole part either.
I just never realized how much running around and talking was mandatory in farming.
When things go to heck in a hand basket, I want a farmer with me when it happens. When the car breaks down, he’ll say, “Oh well.” When the tornado rips the roof off of the house, he’ll say, “Darn it.” When the tractor veers off into a ditch, he’ll say, “Whoops,” and when he checks his lottery ticket for winning numbers, he’ll say, “Hmmm,” but you’ll never know by his voice if that “Hmmm” meant that he won the lottery or that he found a hole in his sock.
Maura White grew up on the Pacific Coast in a sleepy beach town and has lived all over the country, as well as in Asia. What a change it was for her to move to the country. This lifestyle takes some getting used to and she uses humor to help her make the adjustment. She and her husband are working to make their farm, Double Star Bar Farms, a successful family farm. She keeps busy with her stained glass business, which you can check out at www.southernstainedglass.com. You can read more of her stories at whitem4.wordpress.com. She keeps saying “You can take the girl away from the ocean, but you can’t take the ocean out of the girl!”
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