As promised, this will be a farm-ish post. Or, more specifically, a farmer-ish post. I'd like to introduce you to my husband Weldon. Of course you have seen him previously in this blog, but I wanted to take time to give him some well-deserved praise.
Like his father before him, Weldon has been a dairy farmer all his life. He knew what he wanted to do while he was still in high school and so he chose not to attend college. Because of this, he often jokes that he "wasted" his brain. Nothing could be further from the truth! If something needs figuring out, he'll figure it out. If something needs fixing, he'll fix it. If something needs remembering, he'll remember it. Well, not like birthdays or that kind of thing ... just random facts and trivia :-)
His "job" is milking cows, but whatever needs doing, he has to do it. His dad died in February of 2006 and, since then, he has 3 old ladies (his mom, his older sister, and his loving wife!) to supply what little help they can give.
So, here are a few of the things I have seen him do. First and foremost are the cow-related tasks: milk them, artificially inseminate them, wash & feed them, take them to the livestock market or butcher, chase them over hill & dale, help deliver their calves, de-worm & de-horn them, treat them for mastitis or any other maladies. I think he has called on a vet just 3 or 4 times in the seven years we have been married. Truly, he could have been a vet. He is amazing! Where did he learn all this stuff???
These next duties still relate to the cows, because they have to be fed! He grows the best corn in the county, maybe even the state!
The seed corn has to be purchased, fields prepared, seeds planted. If the good Lord doesn't send enough rain, Weldon sets up his irrigation pipes and pumps "poopie pond" water to help the corn grow. Harvest time is one of the few times he will call on friends for help. He can't do it by himself, and 3 old women are of no use whatsoever! The corn is chopped and blown into the silos. I have posted on this previously, so go check the archives.
Alright. I can see this will go on way too long! I haven't even mentioned all the jobs that need doing every day or twice a day! You know the old saying: "A woman's work is never done." Well, I have learned that a farmer's work is never done! Machinery breaks down; fences fall apart; branches need trimming & fallen trees need to be cut up for firewood. Buildings sag, roofs leak; motors stop running at the most importune times. Friends call for help, mother's garden must be tilled, and "the wife" has to be taken out for lunch at least a few times a year or the marriage may be in jeopardy.
When you're the owner/operator of a small dairy farm, you have to do everything yourself because there's no money to call in the professionals. You don't just go out and buy a new "whatever" - you fix the old whatever or make do in some hobbled-up fashion until there's no other choice. You're living, but not exactly making a living :-) Of course there are benefits, like .... oh, I don't know. I guess I'll leave that for another post.
But Weldon is not all work. He takes time to play with the kitties and enjoy a sunrise or sunset. He smells the wildflowers (and takes time to bring me a bouquet every now & then) and revels in his black raspberry patch. At one point in his life, Weldon learned how to fly and got his pilot's license. Now his hobby is the computer - keeping in touch with his "tractor nuts" on a couple of farming/agricultural sites. There is neither time nor money for "entertainment," so we pretty much entertain ourselves. It's a good thing we both have a sense of humor.
When people ask, Weldon says farming is not hard work. But I can say, from experience, farming IS hard work. You start in the dark of morning and don't finish until the sun has set. But, it's what Weldon knows and loves. And I love him, so here we are.
Thank you, Weldon, for all the thankless jobs you do.
Thank you for your sense of humor.
Thank you for your faith.
Thank you for following your heart.