Monday, July 7, 2014

Time well spent!

Experience is remodeling us every moment,
and our mental reaction on any given thing
is really a resultant of our experience
of the whole world up to that date.
               William James


While reading a paper the other day I read that the average farmer in Canada is 55 years old, I remember reading the exact same information six years ago and thinking that I was one of those average farmers and I wondered if we would have to be farming forever.

Do not get me wrong there is no other job in the world I would rather do for many reasons the main one being that I am outdoors all the time and physically active which works well for a high energy girl like myself. Every day is different so there is never any boredom meaning none of those stuck in a rut moments like a 9 to 5 job can bring. My hours are flexible for the most part and there is no time card to be punched and I am my own boss even though my cows may disagree with that statement as they probably think they are. As I age I can see signs of how time has been taking its toll and I do wonder how long this job will last. I seem to be slowing down while our cattle and our machinery seem to be speeding up. I am not sure if that is a good thing. My body is telling me one thing while my mind the other.

Memories of long ago and my working in a factory every day, walking into a warehouse sliding a time card into the machine to get stamped then pulling it out and placing it in my slot and I can still to this day remember that profound sense of suffocation I felt while closed up in there. The money was good and the hours were very predictable but I was miserable and was always thinking about that last hour and sliding that time card into the machine and punching out and being set free. I lasted eight months. This farming job has lasted 35 years so far, so it is obviously the right job for me.

I am lucky enough to know a lot of retired farmers in their late eighties and nineties and sometimes wish I was also retired, mostly those bad days when my body reminds me that I am no longer a spring chicken. These retired farmers have so many stories and bits of wisdom to share and I always love hearing about their days of farming and am so grateful for the wisdom they can and will share with anyone that wants to listen. I can sit there for hours listening. I still have much to learn.

While listening to those stories I wonder if they have forgotten the bad times knowing from my experience that you can never farm without at least a few of those. These hardworking farmers seem to only remember the good times and carry a sense of profound accomplishment and pride. It is fascinating to me how the passing of time and memory work so well together. 

I look down at their hands now twisted with arthritis and obviously very painful, the legs that no longer do what they want them to do and now require walkers and scooters, and I see those backs that can no longer bend straight and I feel sorry for them and worry about myself but then I listen to their stories, hanging on every fascinating word.

Those stories of joy, of satisfaction in a life well lived now being shared with me watching those twinkles in their eyes, hearing the excitement in their voices and the huge smiles on the faces of those farmers who tell me they would never change one thing. They honestly wish they were still out there in the fresh air and doing something they loved to do something they needed to do. They are happy with their lives and their choice to stick with it.

Well there you have it; I am now on the higher end of your average farmer running the farms in this country of ours. I am not sure how long this job will last but I do know that there is nothing I would rather be doing. You know now that I think about it the government probably thinks of me as an above average farmer now, I think I like that.


Possibly someday my stories will help and give some comfort and provide encouragement to that next generation that follows behind me just as the past generation has given me encouragement and comfort knowing there is so much to share and it was worth it. Time well spent.


Later

40 comments:

  1. I am a firm believer in farmers and ranchers have a hard job, but it is the best job anyone could hold. It's a great way to raise children, too. Enjoyed reading your words and love the photo!

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  2. Miss B,
    With age and experience comes wisdom. This post reminds me of something my Mom would think. It reminds me of my Grandpa (Mom's Dad) and the attitude he had towards the land and livestock he loved.

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  3. No way could I be happy in a factory either. Long live farming! :-)

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  4. I love that you think of yourself as an 'above average farmer'!byou have a great outlook on life. The farming life would definitely be preferable to me than the factory life!

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  5. 'above average' - too cute. :) i like your take on the old retired ones only remembering the good times. *sigh*

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  6. lovely post.

    love that last pic, combining flowers and cows. :-))))

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  7. It's so refreshing to know you are doing what you most enjoy, Buttons. So many people cannot say that.

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  8. Grace, like you, I'm well above the average age for a farmer. It cut my soul to give up the sheep and alpacas, especially the sheep, but it was the right thing to do for them and for me. When I've relocated, I want a couple for pets as there's a hole in my soul that only being a shepherd, with sheep, can fill.
    The farm is for sale, lots of interest but no offers. I am discouraged, yet hopeful. God has a plan and it's a good plan; I just want Him to move a little faster -lol-.

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  9. Hard work for sure...you know we all appreicate you right?

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  10. your stories, your sharing lifts and illumines plenty of us now . . . thank you!
    yep, Thank YOU.

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  11. Nothing better than loving the job you do!

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  12. Farming is very hard work! I admire you, Buttons! Take care of yourself!

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  13. Enjoyed reading your thoughts!!
    I agree!
    I remember when all of my girls were little, you think it is going to last forever, and then they grow up and you forget all of those trying times and remember all of the sweet moments. It is like that with life :)

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  14. I would think that your stories are already helping those (of us) who read them. I am caught between two worlds but would rather be in the one on my homestead all the time. Some day.

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  15. Your stories are already helping and inspiring so many people!! You are a wonderful writer buttons!!

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  16. I too love ranching. The freedom, outdoors is all types of weather and the diversity!
    My mom always says, I look in the mirror and I don't recognize that face looking back!
    Cheri

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  17. I hated punching a time clock in my 20s...was so glad when I got a salaried position, though I could've used more flexibility on time. It does feel suffocating to sit behind a desk 8 hrs a day. I admire what you do!

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  18. Above average and still out standing in your field ;-).

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  19. There are many, many times I wish that I were a farmer. I've about had it with office life!

    Pearl

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  20. Love that second photo, Buttons!!! Glad to see I am not the only person crawling around on the ground...

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  21. If, after 35 years, you still feel as though farming is time well-spent, I think you definitely are doing the right job! So many people hate to get up and go into work - you sound like you're still enthusiastic about your job! Stay well!

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  22. I would never last in a factory either. I had a couple of jobs that tied me to a phone all day, saying the same thing over and over. I was miserable.

    There are few jobs as noble as that of the farmer. My dad was one, and it was a way of life for him. Hard but so satisfying. Keep writing your stories, B. You touch us.

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  23. I had to retire early in life because of my poor old body and I am only 48 lol I have my days but I wouldn't give up being able to do what I do here and that is live simple and enjoy each day as it comes and nature with it ! I don't think I could handle going out to work even if I could I like my own time and to do things at my own pace now ! I was a farmer as a kid and now I am a stay at home country gal ! I think you are where you need to be where you are most happy and that's what counts ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good week !

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  24. So glad you are still enjoying your job after 35 years! Not many people can say that. I've had many jobs over the years and never did find one I really loved.

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  25. I admire farmers for their hard work and am delighted to read your posts on what you accomplish on the farm. And I naturally enjoy your photography.

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  26. Wonderful to be in a job that you love and, yes, all the old farmer tales are fascinating!

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  27. As always I love reading your words. If you don't mind I would like to take a pic of your page . For what I am reading today to post on my Instagram page

    Hugs
    Saun

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  28. Loved this . . . As you enjoy the stories told by farmers older than you . . . May those younger than you be telling your stories and theirs to those younger than them . . . I can imagine you have logged many hours of reflecting as you live through your days of farming. You have served your life steadfast and true . . .

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  29. The other day another of our friends retired which actually had me wondering about Farmers and when they retired, one of my Uncles didn't give up his farming days until he hit 80 (yes he had help but still sunrise to sunset he was outside with them) I think he was a rare bird. I didn't really appreciate until I was in my 40's when friends bought a ranch, cows, etc. what a wonderful life though difficult farming was...lovely photos Buttons.

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  30. Nothing like clean fresh air. Enjoy working whilst you can, even though you should slow down...Hugs my friend..M xox

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  31. My husband is a full time farmer. We raise commercial beef cattle and turkeys for Cargill. My husband is the hardest working man I know. He is filthy all day long, always covered in some type of manure. His hands and clothes get greasy. He carries things that are too heavy, and he works WAY MORE than 40 hours per week. He works in the rain and the snow and the sleet and the cold and in heat so hot I worry about him. He comes in at night during the summertime and his clothes are wringing wet with sweat. He mows, rakes and bales hay. He delivers baby calves in the middle of the night, in the middle of a snow storm, and on a beautiful spring afternoon. His back hurts nearly every single moment. And he wouldn't have it any other way. He loves what he does. He doesn't just farm, he IS A FARMER. And he wouldn't sell our farm for a large fortune. He wouldn't trade places with the guy sitting behind a desk for anything. The world would be a better place if there were more men and women who shared his work ethic and love for the land. So God made a farmer . . . . . . . Bless you Buttons for telling your story!!

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  32. well i think you are above average! love that last photo!

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  33. Hey B. I'm with you, there is no other place I would rather be. We have been on our farm for 34 years and it's small potatoes compared to what you guys do. Have you done any hay yet?

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  34. Yes, it's very frustrating when your mind tells you one thing and your body tells you another. I'll be 70 next year, and I am experiencing what you mean even now. "GGGRRRR," to put it in Bearspeak.

    And I'll just bet those cows of yours do think you work for them. Which, in fact, you do. But, um, . . . well, whatever.

    And you are, as the government thinks (so you say), an above-average farmer. Definitely. (Bears know about these things.)

    Blessings and Bear hugs, Buttons!

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  35. I see how hard my Sister and BIL work on their farm, the long hot days, and cold winter nights.

    Farmers are the backbone of this country, and my heart both goes out to them all, and thanks them from it's very bottom for the job that they do.

    Jen

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  36. I hear ya when it comes to factory work. My husband can't wait to retire. Glad you love your farm life. I think we all have a tendency to look back and "forget" the bad. That's why they call it the "good old days"!

    Cindy Bee

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  37. Thank God you're running the country I was beginning to give up hope...oh ps I'm going to be a grandma, gosh I don't even knit

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  38. One of the things my rheumatolagist said is that he is amazed at the mobility I still have with my Lupus and RA, the bone and joint damage says one thing ,but my ability/mobility another.I firmly believe tht is because of the life I live, I HAVE to get up and go in the mornings,no matter how much I hurt, and most of the time by getting up and getting going,I feel better. Its a great life, do I sometimes want ot quit? yup, but it only lasts a little while then I know I am not ready. Hugs my friend, I am getting closer to that "higher end" age as well but its just an average, I plan to beat

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  39. well, i've always found you to be above average...

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The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

Thank you so much for your comments, they mean more to me then I could ever express. Hug B

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