When I mentioned in my “Happy birthday to my Farmer” post that Matt works at the beck and call of the weather, I wasn’t kidding! It’s been doozy of a wet season here in Oregon. We have been waiting, and waiting…and waiting for enough good days in a row to get crops planted, which means that our Easter plans turned a bit from the traditional.
Matt was up early to head out to the radish field. We had to get preplant fertilizer spread, pre-emergent sprayed, work the ground another time, then finally it looked like we might get the window to get the radish seed in the ground. Meanwhile I woke up early with the boys, threw Easter grass from the Easter Bunny all over the house, and headed to church with a few cousins. We decided that someone better pray that we got this radish field planted ( and ask for forgiveness for working on Easter Sunday!!) The boys and I delivered lunch to the farm (because if you have people working on Sunday, you better keep them fed!), headed home for naps and then back out in the field (where the boys want to be all the time anyway!). Hoot proved that farming can be done without pants without any problems (good to know!). And Auggie almost kept his Easter clothes clean before we made it back to my parents for Easter dinner.
Things all went pretty smoothly, even for a Sunday. The weather cooperated and right around dinner time the guys came in from the field, tired and hungry, we had a big dinner all ready for them. I don’t know if they have ever earned their Easter dinner so much as this year.
This is exactly why farming can be so stressful, so risky, and such a seven day a week job. We work when we can, because those days in some years so limited. And I’m so grateful that I work with folks who understand when I come up to them and timidly ask if they could work on Easter Sunday, they look at you and don’t even hesitate to say yes, because they know I wouldn’t even ask if it weren’t a necessity. They showed up, they worked hard, and we got at least one of our spring crops planted for 2017!!! I know we weren’t the only farmers who worked all Easter to get crops in the ground, and I know that we will talk about the Easter that we planted radish, for a long time to come!
I have always loved this photo. I took it a few years ago while we were out in a field that had just been planted. We were down in the dirt counting green bean seeds to check the planting rate and I remember looking over at Matt as we both were kneeling down, and being thankful to have him out there with me. I wasn’t sure how I got so lucky, I’m still not, but I’m reminded often that I am.
And today just so happens to be this great guy’s birthday! And while it might seem like just another day on the farm, I wanted to share something special on here, because as real life happens, we don’t say all the good stuff enough. My farmer is the one who gets to (has to) be there when I can’t (usually because of our growing family). He works tirelessly at the weather’s beck and call, yes…even on Sundays. He takes risks alongside me as we make decisions that will effect our success and ultimately our livelihood. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without this man, and I can’t imagine our farm without him either.
Although now that I think about it, he might be able to…I think it would probably involve a lot more fishing and hunting (sorry babe!). Plus I have to be honest here, farming together isn’t always perfect moments of bumper crops, slam dunks and sunshine (especially this year!), and we are together very literally all the time, no really, ALL. THE. TIME. Sometimes it’s tough, but we are doing it, we are working together, sometimes with trial and error and a few (or a lot of) deep breaths. But I’ll give him credit, he’s my rock when I get (very rarely obviously) all wound up about this that or the other. I can’t thank him enough for that.
He’s also a great dad, who loves his boys with a love that is unwavering. We are finding that we are lucky….every single day….to get to do what we love with who we love. So today happy birthday to my one and only. You’re a great friend, my solid ground, an incredible dad, wonderful husband….and as it turns out, almost as good of a farmer as me (wink wink). And cheers to another wonderful year of hanging out in the fields, inevitably covered in dirt, with our little farming family!
A few years ago I was advocating for some pro-agriculture legislation at the state level. I wrote a blog about how great it would be for Oregon’s farmers and for our industry as a whole. A friend of mine reached out and told me that she was confused about why I was working so hard at getting this passed at the state level, she thought my efforts were wasted because,
“We should save these state level fights for things that effect everyone, not just for farmers. This is not an issue of statewide concern.”
To say I was shocked was an understatement, so I took a deep breath and asked a few simple questions…when she last had a meal. I asked what her clothes were made of. I asked her to look around her and told her that Oregon agriculture employs 1 in every 12 of the people she sees. I wanted to help her see that while only 2% of the population might be a farmer…farming reaches everyone, statewide and beyond!
Which is why I was so excited to see the new campaign that American Women in Agriculture launched this year. Ag Day 365, showing how Ag Day is Everyday! The goal of this campaign is to show everyone how much our lives, all our lives, connect to agriculture. It’s not just for us farmers out in the fields, farming touches the lives of every single person every single day. Even for all my friends from Loyola Marymount University in LA, yes to all of you who only know one farmer, your lives are constantly being affected by farmers from all over the world.
If you want to learn more you can check out the website AgDay365, or feel free to follow along with #AgDay365 to see the many posts from farmers all over the United States. Here are just a few of my favorites from some great advocates for agriculture…
Allowing people a look into what farmers face each and everyday is not an easy task. It takes time and effort that goes beyond just trying to make your business survive to the next generation. But in the end, groups like American Agri-women and our local affiliate Oregon Women for Agriculture are always helping the effort. Please follow along and encourage others to as well. Because while farmers are such a small number in people, there are a growing number of us who are trying to reach out and let everyone know what we are up to out in the fields, how we raise the food you eat, and share in some of the challenges and successes that make up what we are proud to call Oregon agriculture.