It’s on days like today that I feel extremely blessed! This morning, my Dad, Grandpa, Brody & I headed up to our family farm for a day of completing some work, prior to the full onslaught of the winter season. Brody was going to use the pole chainsaw and regular chainsaw and trim some of the trees that were covering the sides of the main trail going back to the campsite, so that it was easier for me to mow along them. (I was on the tractor all day.) (shown above^) My Grandpa, drove around supervising us and telling us where to go next, Dad drove the Honda (four-wheeler) around helping Brody with things and helping move limbs out of the way so that I could mow.
After about 2 hours, one of my older brothers, Nathan, came up with his son Oliver to roast hotdogs and play around a little. Oliver was sweet as he always is, helping me throw old buns into the woods for the turkeys and waving at me as I mowed. Back in October, over fall break I came up with my Grandpa to work on clearing some smaller shrubs and trees that Adam (my eldest brother) had dug out with an excavator. It was my first time driving a tractor in almost two years, and took me a little bit of time to get back in the swing of how all the levers and such work. Haha! Needless to say, this trip I knew what I was doing and thoroughly enjoyed the mowing and other work I did with the tractor.
In highschool I and a friend worked during the summer mowing for a farm, my Ag advisor looked after. I also was sort of in-charge of doing ours at home. Mowing is one of the things, which I take great pride in. I remember that I used to get quite upset if my brother mowed the lawn or weed-eated, because he didn’t do stripes, or fit my pretty high standards. Haha! Okay, I’ll admit it I had problems. Maybe I still do, but I’m working on them. OCD, does come in handy sometimes! I like ORDER! 😀
One of the many reasons who I love to mow, is the time that it gives me and the place that it puts me in. Sitting on a tractor for sometimes hours, have given me a lot of time to “think” about stuff. I remember mowing the yard at home, (I could get the whole yard done in an hour and a half. (2 1/2 acres) It was sitting on the tractor that I experienced a lot of love from God, as well as his mercy and peace. I would usually start out by praying a rosary and then just talk with God about my day, school, friends, anything and everything. Usually I would talk out loud. (hey, it wasn’t to myself!) When my dog Maggie (Bubba, as I called her.) (Yes, I already told you I was weird.) was alive she was my constant companion. She would trot down the line I was mowing on the left front side of the mower, sometimes I would have to stop if she smelled a mole and had to dig in front of the tractor. It also gave me a way to expel my feelings if I was upset or angry about something, (manual labor seems to be a remedy to about everything with me.) Talking with God while I was mowing, helped my vocation journey as well. One-on-one time with God to pray and ask about what he was calling me to, helped so much! It was times like these, that I remember with great love and joy.
Like, when I would mow at home, today on the tractor left me a lot of time to think. Especially of many the memories that I had experienced over the years at the farm. I was recollecting on the many adventures I have had with my family at the farm over the years. The farm is somewhere around 330 acres, and has been in my family since like the 1970’s or something. The farm is actually two separate plots, that make up one large whole. Consisting mostly of woods, there are also a few fields that we crop out, and the lower parts of the woods classify as wetlands. Located in the heart of Hamilton County, in Illinois, our farm has some of the best whitetail deer population in the state.
My Grandpa, is a very intelligent man. He is one of my role-models and someone who I look to for wisdom. I remembered waking up early to go with Brody and him to the farm to work, stopping to eat breakfast at the now closed Hoop-N-Wink in Ursa, on the way. I remember asking to learn how to drive the bulldozer, he being the jovial man that he is said sure! “Just clean the windshield for me first.” Imagine a little me, climbing up onto the bulldozer, only to find that there was no windshield! I remember the fall weiner roasts, bringing Maggie up and getting worried that she would run away. Sitting next to Grandma Carrie, who came up for a picnic and watching Nathan almost tip one of the 8N Ford’s over, trying to pull a stump out of the creek bed. (Grandma thought he was on a horse! Oh, how I miss that sweet lady!) I remember, having a hail storm during a bonfire, everyone leaving, then realizing that we forgot the cabbage on the fire, so we drove back to get it in my Grandpa’s old Jeep, which slid around in a 360′ because of the mud!
I remember, Adam, my older brother taking Brody and I bow hunting with him. I remember, riding four wheelers with Adam, along the property line, and removing deer stands, from trespassers. I remember collecting buckeyes in the creek bed with my mom as a little kid, and when Uncle Tim took Brody and I frog gigging for the first time. (We marinated the frog legs in kook-aid) (I told you I was weird!) I remember catching 20 something catfish in the pond, with crystal light bottles, and then staying up late that night back at home, to help my grandfather fillet them.
I remembered, all of the good times that we have had at the farm as a family. It is on days like today, sitting on a tractor and mowing, praying, thinking about life, and recollecting on times spent at the farm, that I realize I am truly blessed. Not only with a great family, but one that is blessed with beautiful places like the farm, to make memories, learn, make mistakes, pray, and be silent. I am extremely thankful for my time spent in the FFA, and the AG program at school, for the continued love of the land that it instilled in me, but also for the skills that I gained from it like: tractor driving. As I come to the close of this day, I give thanks for these memories, for my family, for our blessings, and for almighty god, with whom I would have nothing. I thank God for this day at the farm and for being truly blest.