The family farm defined our lives

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“Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?”

— Danielle LaPorte

The farm and all that it entailed — the work and the play — defined many of us. It is hard to imagine it any other way.

I had a great conversation with a young woman who said she has never seen a real cow and asked if they bite.

City girl

When I told her I grew up with mostly calm dairy cattle but can also remember a small farrow to finish hog set-up when I was very young, which did scare me at times, this life-long city girl was stunned.

“Why did you do it then?” I briefly explained a little bit about a typical day on a dairy farm, milking before and after school which really wasn’t a negotiable chore, while watching her horrified expression.

“Weren’t you afraid, like every single day?” Isn’t it amazing, really, how we become so accustomed to what we do and who we are because of it that it loses its shine — its ability to make us both joyful and fearful, over the course of a lifetime.

We wake up and check our barns, our pastures filled with livestock, watch a sunrise over a wide open eastern view that some would find stunning beyond words, and go about our day. In spite of the work, it beats traffic jams and road rage all to heck.

Perspective

The philosophy of Dr. Howard Murad, who wrote Conquering Cultural Stress, is that we all need to reconnect to the way we saw the world as a child.

We obviously all age physically, but letting go of the wonder and joy found in our surroundings causes us to age mentally and emotionally.

He urges people to walk away from that which brings no happiness, and to search for something new in each day in order to feel a burst of joyful youth, no matter your age.

As October begins, a beautiful season unfolds. September has always been a lovely month filled with work and joy, including a symbolic step forward as school reconvenes, while the harvest of a long year of work kicks in to high gear.

October has a different pace, and seems a month filled with grace. Farming, for all of its challenges, is indescribably enjoyable to those who love it.

I realized that when I tried to explain its perspective to a young woman who has never stepped foot on a farm. The country life shaped many of us who never wish to leave it.

No place like it

I have come to realize it is wonderful if what you do and where you live brings both peace and inspiration.

Enjoying a campfire on our farm with friends and family encircling it on a recent night, we were treated to a gorgeous sunset. The laughter and the stories flowed, and as darkness fell, the sky filled with brilliant stars.

All of this made me realize once again there is no place else I would rather be.

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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.

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