The farm never sleeps


There it sits on the table, a new little story book titled, Good Night Farm.

I just could not resist purchasing this for the grandkids. It had such an inviting cover and when I opened the pages, the serene nighttime graphics were beautiful.

Also included were corner inserts to touch the fur and feathers of each barnyard animal.

This morning, I am chuckling at the near ridiculous thought that the farm ever sleeps. It may rest, but it scoffs at the notion that sleep is possible despite our efforts to lure the farm into tranquility.


As I write this in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Harvey, I am reminded that dairy farm families were not resting or sleeping.

They were vigilant in their preparations for their livestock, employees, their families, and perhaps in that order. There was not an option to evacuate.

The commitment to the farm was much more powerful than the storm itself. I watched their efforts on social media and felt such empathy for their struggles and yet they found some hints humor in the midst of stress.

Although we have our immediate families and faith, our other close relatives are Mother Nature and Uncle Sam.


One of our son’s favorite logics was the three elements of control in life. No. 1: There are elements of life you can control; No. 2: There are elements that cannot be controlled; No. 3: There are elements that you only think you can control.

Perhaps the best way to logically reason with nature and Uncle Sam is to realize that all three must play a role in life’s challenges.

I think of the nights when my head touches the pillow and I just can’t put the farm to rest.

I visualize what needs done the next day, the special cow that might calve, recalling if I shut gates or closed doors, and countless other details that my mind cannot shut down.

I can still hear the sounds of cattle, the crickets, rain on the window, and the nightly rituals as darkness clouds the sky.


However, last night I was thankful to just feel somewhat normal when compared to the crisis that other farm friends were facing head on.

The next time I pick up that story book to read for some grandchild cuddled in my lap, I will attempt not to over analyze the title, but humbly enjoy the simplicity of the moment.

There is the notion a “Good Morning Farm” story might need to be written.

Perhaps it should be a reminder about the control rules and a lifestyle that teaches me the strength of commitment and humility when the sun shines.

And then when night comes, let me put the farm and her residents to rest in the hands of someone greater.


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Bonnie Ayars is a dairy program specialist at Ohio State University, coordinating all state 4-H dairy programs and coaching the OSU collegiate and 4-H dairy judging teams. She and her husband also own and operate a Brown Swiss and Guernsey cattle farm. In 1994, Bonnie was named Woman of the Year at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis.



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