Farming gets in your blood at birth: ‘I want to stay out here with the cows’

While I was spending time with the newest member of my lovely extended family, little 3-month-old Autumn Lynn gazed at me with her beautiful blue eyes and gave me the most angelic smile, and it was decided then and there that we are going to be the best of pals.

Oliver, leaning up against me, seemed deep in thought.

“You are a good big brother,” I said to him. “Just think someday, you and Johnathan will get to play with your little sister. Won’t that be great?”

“Nah. All her stuff is pink. She even has a pink tractor,” Oliver answered.

Pink, apparently, is taboo in Oliver’s busy farming world.

Starting young

The next night, I stopped at my sister’s house, where three of her six grandchildren were visiting. Oliver said he needed to show me something.

“Uncle Dean bought a tractor at an auction today,” he said, sounding a bit like a wise old farmer as he led us across the lawn, back toward the bins and the barns.

“Really? What color is it?” my sister asked.

“Old,” was Oliver’s answer.

Soon, we could see exactly what Oliver meant.

“It’s a Co-op tractor. It’s not a John Deere or an Oliver, it’s called a Co-op,” Oliver explained to us.

The color was hard to determine because it was, as Oliver explained, just plain old, rusty and crusty from a lifetime of farm work.

Oliver followed the curve of the front grill with his little fingers and showed us a spot where he could see the true color of this old beauty.

“See here? That’s yellow. And then look here….in this spot it is orange. The rest of it,” he paused to look under the belly of the small tractor, “pretty much is old.”

Oliver’s brother Johnny, a couple months shy of 2, has to mimic every movement of his big brother. He had to squirm out of our hand-holding control to peer under that tractor and jibber-jabber his two cents’ worth with great animation.

From there, we walked to the huge gates of the feed lot to look over the Holsteins.

“I like that one with the all black face,” I said, “Which one do you like?”

Oliver climbed all the way to the top of the gate, of course, and his little brother had to follow suit. While giving serious consideration to every Holstein in the lot, the little 4-year-old told me it was really hard to decide.

When it became clear his baby sister was getting hungry, we tried to get two little boys to climb down from the feedlot gates.

“Nah, you can go. I want to stay out here with the cows,” Oliver answered, as though he was the full-time farmer of the place.

A whole lot of farming gets done when Oliver and Johnny are around.

I couldn’t help but grin thinking of what it will be like in just a year or two when the green and the pink are piping up and turning wheels. It just might be hard to get a word in edgewise!

About the Author

Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college. More Stories by Judith Sutherland

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