My husband, Scott, has a master plan that generally includes 100 things to get done in a day’s work. Rarely do the stars align so that everything gets checked off.
Every once in a while, the stars do align, or better yet the help, and the work gets done.
Earlier this year, we had a small window of time to get wheat combined and straw made before the rain was to come. It was a Monday, the craziest day of the week for us. It was herd health day and a week before county fair. But occasionally everything works out—machinery cooperated, and so did Mother Nature . . heck, even our farm kids did!
Our daughter, Cassie, was tethering straw and then she moved over to raking. Our oldest boy, Tyler, who clocked in 40-plus hours in four days by running the second shift from 1 p.m. to midnight, rose in time to bale straw. So did one of his buddies. Our youngest son, Jacob, age 9, rode the racks and did his best to help out.
Everybody came inside to get cleaned up around 10 minutes to 10:00 that night. Covered from head to toe in straw and dirt, we went to bed easily and slept hard. And their father’s smile was the widest I had seen in months, because his master plan, for one day, went seamlessly well.
Cherish those days. Those are the days that make you love farming. They fill your heart with hope. This day happened nearly four months ago on July 8th. How do we remember it so well? We were woken three hours later to a massive barn fire the next morning.
Some days you are livin'; everything goes according to plan! You see the beauty in it all. The farm kids smile wide, and the older generations do, too. The crops get in. The corn pops up. The cows milk really well. The sun shines. The rain comes. Milk price rebounds. This all inspires you and fuels you to plow ahead.
And some days, my friends, you just get by.
Remember that bad times don't last forever. Neither do the good ones. I encourage us all to find joy in our normal routine, especially on days that everything seems to go right, because tomorrow you might not be so lucky.
Karen Bohnert is a second-generation dairy farmer, born and raised on her family dairy in Oregon and moved east after graduating from Oregon State University. Karen and her husband work in partnership with family, and they along with their three children live and work on the family's 500 Jersey cow dairy in East Moline, Ill. Karen's pride and love for dairy could fill a barn, and she actively promotes dairy anyway she can.