Do you ever sit around your farm shop and listen to the old men talk? I have heard many stories from the second and third generations of the farm, discussing the way it used to be, or things that had happened before I was born. We for sure have it better now, considering everywhere was apparently uphill back then, and there were no cars or tractors, so they walked it. Oh, and I forgot to mention it was always raining, sleeting, or snowing.
All jokes aside, though, farming is easier and more efficient. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be in business anymore. Keeping up with the times means keeping up with technology, and by with keeping up with technology, we have become more efficient as the years have passed.
I always enjoyed listening to the guys talk. It amazes me how far we have come. It is fun to listen about incidents or things that happened with my dad or Uncle Andy getting in trouble when they were younger, like jumping the terraces with their dirt bikes out in the dry cow field and Papa having to get them. They enjoy telling the stories, even the ones where they got in trouble or made a bad decision. The incident and their punishment may not have been funny at the time, but you can tell it’s a memory they enjoy to share and will never forget.
There are many moments that I would love to revisit or do over. There are also many that I would love to forget about, like breaking a hay rake completely in half. But like I said earlier, now we tell that story with laughter instead of embarrassment. But if I had to chose just one memory to relive, it would be easy to choose, and I will share that story with you all.
My Granny loved being part of this farm. She was proud of it. She was proud of the family and employees she had. She was a giving woman, even though she called herself the “tightwad granny.” She would have given her last penny to someone in need. She always made sure everyone here was taken care of. If one of the employees needed a piece of furniture or anything of that nature, she would either have one in a storage building to give them or go hunt one down.
Back when I was younger, silage harvest took longer because we were less efficient than we are now. So, lunch breaks would rarely come. I remember getting into her navy-blue long bed 1985 Chevrolet S10. We would run to town and grab a bunch of barbeque sandwiches and milkshakes, while I had a huge watermelon sitting in my lap the whole way.
When we got to the fields, the choppers and trucks would slow to a brief halt. Granny would have everyone’s sandwiches and milkshakes on the back of the tailgate waiting to be picked up as she cut that watermelon so they could have a dessert. Nothing of significance happened during that story, but that’s the one. That’s the one that always makes me feel good to tell or wish to relive. Sometimes the everyday moments are the things we will look back and appreciate. It’s the time spent with loved ones, even on a hot, normal, nothing exciting happening day. Those are the ones we tend not to think anything about at the time. But now, its priceless.
Mark and Caitlin Rodgers are dairy farmers in Dearing, Georgia. The Rodgers have a 400-cow dairy that averages 32,000 pounds of milk. Follow their family farm on Facebook at Hillcrest Farms Inc.