I recently published this column in the DTN Progressive Farmer magazine “Our Rural Roots.”
The family farm is sacred ground.
I think about it sometimes. The dirt. And how my grandparents and my children, although they never met, have both held it in their hands.
Generations, four to be exact, have worked this land. They’ve driven tractors and branded cattle and planted milo. My grandfather taught my dad to set irrigation tubes, and he taught me and this summer, we taught my three-year-old son. My Gran raised kids in the same brick house where I now bring my kids to visit their Grandad and Nan. Just about everyone in our family, even our cousins from town, learned to drive on the same dirt roads.
We work sheep and cattle in the very same corrals where I can still picture my Gran, well into her 70’s, getting after ewes with a quirt and a whistle all while wearing her housecoat and straw hat. We’ve learned the same tricks, over the decades, like how to pull a backward lamb and how to pick the best keeper heifers and which windmill has the best water for drinking on a hot day.
We’ve shared hard times here too. We’ve mourned the loss of favorite horses, good dogs, and close neighbors. We’ve had a kitchen full of casseroles that neighbors brought by many times when tragedies have struck.
I think about the number of men that have gotten grease on their hands in the shop and the number of children who have gone swimming in irrigation ditches and how many prayers for rain have gone up standing in the same places over the last 60 years.
We are all a part of each other, generations apart connected by a legacy that has been built and passed on in the red, sandy sacred ground.