Learning about farming from a pro


I have come to realize that a day of play is good for the soul.

For some people, that might mean a day of golf, or tennis, or touring antique shops.

For me, the very best fun is seeing the world through the eyes of a 2-year-old. For me, it is planting imaginary corn in an imaginary field with a little all-American farm boy.

Blayne Bartter turned 2 back in February. He is the best little farmer anyone could ever hope to find. On Tuesday, he came to my house to get some farming done.

Since it promised to be a beautiful day (and likely the last hurrah of Indian Summer…), I had moved the toy tractors and Breyer animals outside.

Blayne looked at me with a puzzled expression and I wondered why. He explained to me that we had never finished planting the soybeans that we had started in the living room the last time he was here.

“You said you would leave those tractors RIGHT here!” and he pointed to the exact spot where we had parked them at the end of his last visit, several months ago.

When Blayne’s mommy, my niece, was little, she lamented the fact that the newest addition to her family was a boy, of all things!

“Oh, great. There will be tractors and trucks all over the place!”

Now Jody and her husband, Dave, have two little boys, and a home filled with lots of tractors and trucks. And fun!

After Blayne determined what needed to be done first, he got downright disgusted with me for holding his 6-month-old baby brother, Brayden.

“Ya gotta put him down. We got work to do!” Blayne said to me.

We lined up the Breyer horses, and Blayne kept moving the biggest one far away from the rest. He told me to stay away from that horse and he added, “I MEAN it!”

I asked him why and he said, “He’s mean. He kicked through the fence! He kick the stuffin’ out of you!”

I found a shoe box and said, “Well, this is our horse trailer. Do you think we should load him in to the trailer and take him to the other farm for awhile?”

Blayne’s face lit up and he said, “Yeah!”

Blayne loaded “Josh” up in to the horse trailer and walked away fast. He then turned around and hollered, “Now take a nap!”

Blayne told me that my name was Eddie and his name was Bill Cameron.

I said, “I kind of wanted to be Bill today…” and Blayne said, “No way!”

Bill Cameron is their neighbor, a man I have known all my life, a hard-working dairy farmer who always has a great story to tell.

I asked, “The next time we play, could I be Bill Cameron?”

Blayne looked at me, then sort of chuckled, and said, “No, no, no. Blayne be Bill Cameron ALL the time!”

So, Bill and Eddie took that mean horse over to the Cameron farm, then checked to see if the hay under the maple tree was ready to bale.

“Not today…” Blayne said.

I told him maybe we could get the planter out and finish the soybeans and wheat. He looked at me like I had just fallen off the turnip truck.

“No, no, no. We need a DRILL!” Blayne corrected me.

Nothing like being set straight by a 2-year-old to keep me humble!

* * *

Note: My son, Cort, was most appreciative of the cards and good wishes he received from Farm and Dairy friends on his 17th birthday.

He continues to fight through difficult days while appreciating the rare good days that come along in his ongoing battle with Lyme disease.

Thank you for your kindness and caring. It really does mean so very much.

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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, and three grandchildren.