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 Down on the Farm

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Herzl

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Age : 65
Location : Oklahoma
Registration date : 2009-05-17

PostSubject: Down on the Farm   Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:01 am

My father was a science teacher who grew up on the farm. To him, everything good and right with the world was tied to dirt, sun, water, seasons, and sweat. Admittedly, I thought he was crazy. We lived on the edge of a medium sized city. Sure, there was some money saved, and better quality, but his ardor for it was - unnatural. I did the plowing, hated it. Frosting on the cupcake was getting up at some ridiculous time in the morning to get the heavy work in before the heat of the day. Then keep working in the shade on the machines and tools, and then back out again when the sun turned its back, to steal some more work until the cool of evening. Then sit there under the stars, lord over all plant life, feeding the mosquitoes. I learned to fix just about anything, do almost anything, but vowed to live on concrete the first chance I got.

He taught me seed choice. Strange as it might sound, he'd get jovial and excited, something alien to his generally dour demeanor, when that seed catalogue came. His winemaking made the least sense of all, the roses a bit more. Particularly since for all intents and purposes, he didn't drink. He would taste his wine from time to time, giving it away when it was 'right.' It takes years for a vine for start giving 'good grapes.' Then there's that pressing mixing storing waiting bottling waiting. Lots of waiting. Lots of years. Patience. Stinking sweat under withering heat. I was convinced his ego was tied to his produce, that wine, and those roses. Perhaps.

My father didn't have much to say. I've often thought that I don't know how I got the way I am, all about honor and integrity. Honesty. I hate to lie. If I'm going to do anything, I want to do it right. My father taught me that's the only way, probably too well.

There's something basic and honest about dirt. You have to take care of it to the point of love. Turning it over. Airing it out. Fertilizers. Compost. Good seeds. Water. Burning it off. Don't forget that Farmer's Almanac; have to treat her right by the moon and stars. I call it 'her' because if I didn't know better, I'd have sworn he was having an affair with that dirt.

Then you get to hope, for the right amount of rain, the right amount of sun, [wind matters,] most you have no control of whatsoever. You get to wait and see, good years and bad, thick and thin, hope, sweat and yes, blood. I don't recall any tears except my own. Looking forward to the next crop, harvest, putting it up, maintaining the tools, down season, insane generosity, giving the fruit of all that labor away. No wonder that I list mental illness as a family history.

Perhaps I, we as a culture, have gone too far from the dirt, forgetting lessons, realities, that seemed trivial at those times, but as timeless as the dirt under that coffin lid of concrete beneath our wheels. We all know being a farmer is hard, backbreaking work. From a most inarticulate memory, its occurred to me that it takes a ton of faith to be a farmer.

A toast, of my father's wine, to being, down on the farm.
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Puffy

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Age : 75
Location : North Carolina
Registration date : 2007-12-23

PostSubject: Re: Down on the Farm   Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:27 am

Thanks for the post..It brings back fond memories of my grandfather.He was a dirt farmer.He was also the first person that I can remember seeing smoking a pipe.
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Lees

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Location : Arkansas
Registration date : 2009-05-13

PostSubject: Re: Down on the Farm   Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:27 am

I'm reading Puddin'Head Wilson by Mark Twain and this writing was like going on a slight tangent from this. I enjoyed it, Herzl!

I didn't grow up on a farm, but I often think I should have, as I like the seasons of change, the wonder of nature and plant life, including the insects, birds, reptiles, and all that I see around me here on our small acreage. I also can't help myself going out in the heat of the day to do the gardening and yard work. I prefer being outside than in. I prefer the quietness of digging with a shovel than using the brute tiller.

My neighbour has told me a similar story like yours, of the back breaking work of farming. They'd give the two mules two dried cobs of corn in the morning before the heavy work in the fields, then two more cobs when they were finished and back home.

Thanks for sharing with us!

Lisa Marie
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Tennessee Dave

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Age : 67
Location : Dayton, Tennessee
Registration date : 2008-02-12

PostSubject: Re: Down on the Farm   Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:31 am

Great post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! cheers
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Justpipes
The Duke
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Age : 58
Location : Randolph County, NC If you don't know, you wouldn't understand.
Registration date : 2007-12-17

PostSubject: Re: Down on the Farm   Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:37 am

Thank you very much for sharing that wonderful rant of antidotal wisdom!
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Winslow

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Age : 71
Location : Midlothian,Va.
Registration date : 2008-04-11

PostSubject: Re: Down on the Farm   Thu Jun 18, 2009 10:44 am

I really enjoyed reading that,brought back memories of a childhood summer spent
on a dairy farm in Wisconsin.Huge breakfasts,German spoken mostly,homemade
ice cream,home made sausage and beer on Sunday get togethers,milking cows..........

Winslow sunny
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TallSmoke

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Age : 47
Location : Sanford NC
Registration date : 2009-03-14

PostSubject: Re: Down on the Farm   Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:08 am

That was a very good read, sir.
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LtMac

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Age : 57
Location : Jackson, Tennessee
Registration date : 2008-06-10

PostSubject: Re: Down on the Farm   Thu Jun 18, 2009 12:58 pm

I feel very much as you. I grew up doing all of that hard work on crops, etc. and vowed to not do it again. As I have thought about it over the years though I see that's where I developed my ethics, scruples, and work ethic. Thanks for sharing.

LtMac
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kilted1
Great Scot!
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Age : 56
Location : North Georgia, USA
Registration date : 2009-01-11

PostSubject: Re: Down on the Farm   Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:36 pm

Thanks for you excellent post!

Growing up, I worked vineyards all through high school. As an adult, I've spent most of my years in construction, so I've had a close relationship with dirt all my life. I'm not scared of it at all, and when I've lived where I could do it, I've always kept a garden. Now I live in the mountains of North Georgia, on a completely wooded lot after many years in large 'metro areas' too far removed by concrete from the dirt of life.

There is in fact more Earth than Sea!

The good book says we came from dirt and will return to dirt ... dirt is LIFE! Science says we are made of the 'dust of stars' DIRT! God has blessed dirt, since the time he made it, put everything needed to sustain life in it ... and almost nothing smells as good to me as freshly turned Earth ...
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Joseph76

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Location : Ontario, Canada
Registration date : 2008-12-26

PostSubject: Re: Down on the Farm   Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:51 pm

great post, thanks for sharing the story, I really enjoyed it.
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Centurian 803
Long Arm O' The Law
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Age : 67
Location : Oak Ridge, TN
Registration date : 2008-09-10

PostSubject: Re: Down on the Farm   Thu Jun 18, 2009 6:55 pm

You Sir have captured the essence of my formative years. Only it was my uncle and not my father that taught me all I know about being a man, through hard work on a farm.
The farm is gone now and so is he but the lessons remain. Whatever success I've had, whatever reputation for integrity is mine, I owe to the farm and the man.
Thank you for sharing that story and reminding me once again how blessed I am. God bless you.
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mark
Admin
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Registration date : 2008-07-02

PostSubject: Re: Down on the Farm   Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:24 pm

Thanks for sharing that brief moment from the heart. It jogged my memory growing up on our farm. The hard work and struggle hand in hand with work ethics instilled, although not appreciated until later in life. After washing my hands of the whole agriculture lifestyle 40 years ago, I find myself drawn back to the land and tilling the same soil my father and I sweated over, although on a smaller scale, and with better equipment. I still marvel at coming full circle back where I started from.
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ftrplt

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Age : 71
Location : Split between Raleigh, NC and OKC, OK
Registration date : 2007-12-15

PostSubject: Re: Down on the Farm   Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:05 pm

Without being quite so eloquent......I spent a goodly amount of time behind the south end of a north-bound mule!! I never picked cotton, but I primed one hell of a lot of tobacco way back when! cheers FTRPLT
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HoosierPuffer

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Registration date : 2009-04-13

PostSubject: Re: Down on the Farm   Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:09 pm

Excellent!

As a gen x-er, I value the time I grew up working on various farms. Detassling corn, bailing hay, chopping wood - that's where I learned to work.

God has blessed me for it.

I get out and plant trees every chance I get.
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Herzl

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Age : 65
Location : Oklahoma
Registration date : 2009-05-17

PostSubject: Re: Down on the Farm   Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:52 pm

Thanks to you all for reading and your positive responses.
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Dubbya

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Age : 35
Location : Charlotte, NC
Registration date : 2009-05-02

PostSubject: Re: Down on the Farm   Sun Jun 21, 2009 11:24 am

Reading this post almost brought a tear to my eye. It drummed up memories of my grandfather and his brother.
They got me my first job at a goat farm during the summer when I turned 13. They both worked there during plant outages where they worked and loved the land that they farmed to bring up the alfalfa that was used as filler in the feed. It was as if everything went away when they were planting, plowing, tilling, and rowing.

They also believed, and instilled in me a belief, that the best way is the right way. There are no time saving short cuts because it'll just break again and take you more time later when you half-ass it.
At the end of the day, they both smelled of sweat, dirt, grease, and burley smoke.

After they passed, I graduated to chopping tobacco across the road but, almost 15 years later, I still miss working the land to keep the goats fed alongside men who exemplified the term "gentleman farmer".
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Trout Bum

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Age : 49
Location : Anchorage, Alaska
Registration date : 2008-09-11

PostSubject: Re: Down on the Farm   Sun Jun 21, 2009 11:37 am

Herzl,

I very much enjoyed reading your post; thanks for sharing it with us!
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