This morning I had the pleasure of talking to a farmer, named Steve. As we shared farm stories and experiences, it reminded me of a regal Angus cow. One of my dad and brother’s “broke mouth” cows (farm slang for OLD) was around 20-years of age and spent this past summer with her last calf resting under the shade of a tree in my dad’s pasture.
Having driven by her more than two dozen times this year, there she was always under the tree, her calf frolicking nearby. My dad said he should have sold her, but she’d given him 19 calves and had paid her dues. And under that tree she died this fall. She went on her own terms, thanks to the compassion of my dad and brother.
Farming is a lifestyle, that’s for sure. You see Mother Nature at her absolute best, and you feel her wrath. Each spring you see calves born, some making it and some succumbing to the elements or health issues. You go long stretches without seeing your dad as he works ground, plants, cultivates, sprays and then harvests. You worry when they work cattle if they’ll get hurt dealing with a 1,200 pound animal and you worry about them checking the animals before the sun comes up and after the sun goes down.
Paying your dues is just part of life. When I think of my dad, he’s helped to feed the world. He’s not only an agronomist, he’s a mechanic, a veterinarian, an accountant, a chemist, a truck driver, a construction worker, a plumber…he’s all that it takes to be a FARMER. He’s also compassionate, so that day my dad let that old cow die in peace under a shade tree versus selling her, it told me all I needed to know about my dad.
Rest easy old cow. You’ve helped to feed the world.
And yes, that’s her in the photo with her last calf.