Not quite a farm kid

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grandmas farm
Sara Welch's daughter, Vayda, was fortunate enough to enjoy her great grandparents' farm for a while when she was little, too. (Sara Welch photo)

I’m a couple of generations removed from the farm, which is unusual for someone working in Farm and Dairy’s editorial department.

My dad farmed my grandparents’ 50-acre farm when I was little. We had between 20 and 30 head of cattle. He baled hay, and planted enough soybeans or corn, depending on the year, to pay for the grain to feed the cattle. But it was a small operation. It was more like a hobby for him after he got done pouring concrete. I know he just did it because he loved it.

My uncles brought chickens and ducks to the farm at different times, and there were plenty of barn kittens to chase down. My cousins and I swam in the pond and caught trophy-sized bluegill and bass (which really set me up to be disappointed fishing anywhere else). We had huge family gatherings and played the most epic games of hide-and-seek.

My grandparents’ farm was one of my favorite places to go growing up. But I wouldn’t call myself a farm kid. Don’t ask me to back up a trailer. Horses are beautiful but, also, kind of terrifying. And, I’m definitely not enough of a morning person to put myself in the same sentence as those of you getting up at 4 a.m. to go feed your livestock or milk your cows.

I’m a rural kid, and I stayed in my hometown to raise my daughter in the woods where I grew up. And that’s just it, I’m a woods kid.

When my dad sold the cattle and stopped farming, he bought a little over five acres of wooded wetlands. Standing on the road, you couldn’t even see the hill where he and my mom built their house.

Somehow I knew those woods and the creek that ran through them were always going to feel like home.

Ironically, that land had been used as cattle pasture or butted up next to a cattle pasture a generation earlier. My siblings and I pieced together the history of the place, uncovering old farming equipment, abandoned fence posts and, occasionally, cattle remains as we roamed through the woods and our neighbor’s crop field behind our house.

Incidentally, that’s pretty much still how I spend my time — outdoors, in the woods, camping and hiking — when I’m not in the office or at one of my daughter’s many activities.

I wouldn’t call myself a farm kid because I respect what that means to the kids who really grew up on farms. But the truth is, we share this corner of the world, and whether you make the designation of on-the-farm or off-the-farm, we’re more alike than we are different. I care about the land, what it produces and all the creatures that live there just as much as you do. You can teach me about the ins and outs of farm life, and I’ll tell your stories. If we happen across each other at the corner store, I’ll hold the door for you, and say, “Thank you,” when you hold it for me.

I look forward to serving all of Farm and Dairy’s readership, and I welcome feedback at sara@farmanddairy.com.

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