Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fun at the Farm - December

Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley no one was ever surprised by my Dad's occupation. I never even thought it rare that my Dad was a farmer until I went to ACU, and for the first time in my life noticed confusion on faces when my Dad's line of work came up in conversation.
"Do you like live on a farm with cows and chickens?"
No, my Dad grows crops... cotton, sugar cane, grain, corn (now he has horses and the cows were added in the last year)but at the time it was just crops.
"Did you have to get up early and do chores before school?"
No, I lived in a house just like you, except when my Dad went to work his 'office' was acres, and acres, and acres of land instead of your typical desk job... although that is a big part of the farming operation as well.
"Were you a cowgirl?" This one still makes me laugh... No, I am not a country girl AT ALL.. didn't even own a pair of boots until a few years ago.. seriously.

I still get this on occasion, maybe because I live in a big city and people just don't have a lot experience with farming, but I am no longer defensive about it as maybe I once was. I am so proud of my Dad... no man stands taller in my eyes. He grew up on this land and knows it like the back of his hand, which is impressive because it's a big farm! :) I wish my kids could grow up experiencing more of this life, of this land, that has blessed my family in so many ways... of the lessons in hard work, and bounty. Imagine planting row after row of seeds and watching them grow into beautiful fields of cotton, or sugar cane that grows several feet over your head, acres of grain in that pretty redish brown color... it amazes me. And not just the idea of watching these beautiful fields grow from a tiny seed under your watch, but the relationship that a farmer most certainly has to have with God, the author and creator of all things... that trust and faith that we all strive for each day is almost a requirement in farming. You really learn firsthand that He does make all things beautiful.. a field of dry dirt becomes a sea of white cotton, or grain that is both hearty and delicate at the same time. And the fact that in farming there are no guarantees.. you tend your crops with the same hope, hard work and vigor each year and never know if you will reap a bumper crop or lose it all in a hurricane. I know I am lacking in the patience and optimism required in this line of work... oh, the lessons the Lord would surely teach me! I have no illusions that my Dad and brother would probably paint a very different picture when it comes to farming and the stress that is in involved, but what a labor of love and how I admire them for doing it so well!

I've never worked the land at Dad's farm.. I did work in the office a few summers when I was home from college, but that doesn't really count.. but there is something about that farm that definitely calls me. I think maybe only a farmer's daughter can truly love and appreciate the smell of the cotton gin in the late summer.. my girls get so excited when the palm trees start to line the interstate as we get close to Mimi and Papa's house.. that is their 'coming home moment' but mine is just a little further down, right outside of town, when I breathe in the scent of the cotton gin and feel in my heart like I'm home.

The farm is something I have certainly taken for granted in my life, but the older I get the more connected I feel to this land. It has been such a big part of my family for three generations now. I guess that happens to all of us as we grow older.. that nostalgia with childhood memories... or maybe it is that I am realizing my own girls are growing up with very different experiences. I don't want them to miss out on the sights and sounds of the heavy machinery in harvest time, or the tractor rides just for fun, the excitement of riding in a trailer filled high with cotton, throwing it up and watching it fall like snow. It's those easy, simple things in life that I want them to grow up remembering. So, the past few times I have been home it has become important for me to visit the farm while we are down at my parents house. I want my girls to know it, feel connected to it, and appreciate it as I do. Of course now it's even more fun for this fourth generation with the horses to ride and all those pretty brauma's to feed... and we're looking forward to seeing the baby calves really soon! It's a special gift that I hope my children will carry with them long after their childhood is over.

So, on to the pictures and the HORSES, no surprise that this is my oldest daughter's favorite part! If only I had a dollar for every time Lila asks about her Papa's horses.. I'd have myself a very nice chunk of change to play with! : )

And gotta give the cows some lovin'... I think the brauma is the beauty queen in the cow family... aren't they so pretty?

Rosie Roo... Seriously. Could she be any cuter? Oh.My.Goodness.. just seeing her picture makes her Aunt Sam miss her soooo much!!

Rosie Roo, Do you have any idea how much I love you? Sweet little munchkin!

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