I can still remember grumbling on Saturday mornings. A teenage boy just wanted to sleep in, right?! Yet, my parents would try again and again to rouse me from the bed and enlist me for a day of farm duties. I always figured that if I just ignored them long enough they would eventually give up and leave me alone to get a few more hours of sleep! That really never happened. Instead, I would eventually, very begrudgingly, pull myself from the bed, roll my eyes, change into my work clothes and head out to tackle my chores.
I hadn't always felt this way about the farm. As a youngster, I loved getting outside. I had all kinds of farm toys I would set up and play with regularly, and even was a Lincoln County Fair Grand Champion dairy calf-shower several years in a row! But then I got older...
I think a lot of farm kids grow up with a similar experience. They can't wait to get as far away from the farm as possible once they leave home! So it was with me. However, I didn't realize just how deeply my country/farm roots were embedded in my soul, and after a few years of leaving home, they began to expose themselves.
When I was 20 years old, I lived and worked in the Washington, D.C. area as a missionary for my church. It was here I had an experience that made me realize the farm stuck a little deeper within me than I realized. After nearly two years of living in the city/suburb areas of the D.C metropolis, one day I received a day-long assignment to go out into a more rural part of northern Virginia. It was while driving around the area to an appointment that it happened. I caught the faint whiff of a distant dairy farm. You know the smell I'm referring to. Anyway, upon smelling it, it did something to me. I immediately asked the other missionary with whom I was traveling to stop the car. He did so. I then got out of the car and just stood there taking in some long, deep smells. It was like a former smoker who sometimes catches a small nicotine fix from the scent of a wafting cigarette. The smell reminded me of home in a way that was very powerful and in the moment, it was the best scent in the world! If I could have only bottled it up and taken it with me! I'm sure my traveling companion was sitting there thinking to himself, "Okay....???" After a few minutes I got back into the car and we proceeded to our destination. I had my "dairy fix."
A few years after my mission service concluded, I was again living and working in the city. I would find myself taking opportunities to drive out into the surrounding rural areas, admiring the fields and the farms, and paying particular attention to the dairies. I began to realize then in my early twenties that I felt more peace and contentment there.
I eventually met and married my wife and shortly into our marriage was when it hit me while I was out for a run one day--I wanted a dairy farm! It was true. It seemed crazy! How did this happen!? I stewed over this emerging desire privately for a while but I eventually broke the news to my wife. The idea seemed so contrary to my other professional plans and career ambitions that when I told her, it was like I was confessing a grave and shameful secret! Fortunately she took it well and over the next several years we made plans to eventually get to a point where we could move to the country and buy a small farm. A "Hobby Farm" was what we decided would be best.
In 2013, our ever-evolving farm plans changed again when we both had a strong impression while spending a weekend in Star Valley for a family visit. We wanted to move
here to be near my family and be a part of their operation. After much planning and preparation, it happened in 2014 and we now love living in Wyoming and giving our three kids the opportunities of living near family and having a childhood on a farm.
While I presently still work at home with my "day job," I am grateful and excited each day for the opportunities to milk cows, feed animals, do field work, make ice cream and serve customers by sharing with them my family's love for our farm. Eventually I'll have the opportunity to augment my work time so I can devote more of it to the farm. For now, I look forward to "quitting time" when I can drive my truck down my mile-long driveway to the farmstead for my evening chores. And I smile to myself with a sense of pride as I look in the rear-view mirror to see my eager children sitting in the back, excited that they get to go to the farm with Dad!