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Goodbye Old Farm Dog

30 Apr

The life of a farm dog is an open prairie made for adventures, it’s chasing coyotes and nutria, it’s protecting your family and the farm. It rarely involves fences he can’t climb through or creeks he can’t swim across. It’s pick-up bed rides with the wind on his face. It’s about that look and excitement when your farmer throws down their tailgate and yells, “Load up Boy”. It’s about chasing field mice all harvest and laying in that hot summer sun. Being a farm dog is a no boundary, leash free kind of freedom that…unfortunately, just can’t last forever.

Because being a farm dog also means getting old in those same fields and across those same acres that you ran across all your life. It means waiting for help when that tailgate goes down, because your days of jumping have turned into getting lifted up to go for an occasional ride. It’s saying goodbye to the miles and hello to just a simple walk to the shop and back. And when even that got too tough, it’s trusting your farmer to know when it’s time to say goodbye.

I got Yukon when he was two years old, I was lucky to get to spend 12 of his 14 years as his farmer. For a long time he took care of me, for a long time I took care of him and for the whole time we were inseparable. A few days ago, he looked at me as he struggled to get up off his pillow. And this time, even for me, he just couldn’t do it. All those fields, all those runs, many days off on adventures I’d never even know about; and here he was, needing my mercy, needing me to let him go.

The loss of a dog is heartbreaking, they are a part of your family, of your hearts and home. And Yukon or Kon as he was often called, was no different. He spent many of his days letting the kids jump all over him and he in turn loved them and protected them. I like to think that he held on just long enough to meet Miss Millie, to pass on a little love to her as she completed our family.

Yukon, it will be some time before I round the kitchen corner and don’t expect to see your dopey face looking back at me laying in the laundry room on your bed. And in those moments is when all of the good memories will come on back like yesterday. I’ll probably get a little and sometimes a lot sad, but in the end, just like when you were sitting right there with your floppy ears and sweet big eyes, you’ll make me smile and probably laugh. Because really what is a farm dog’s legacy worth if you can’t sit and have a nice good laugh about the best dog this farmer ever had.

As Hoot said when we laid you to rest, “Well, now Yukon can go and run with Diesel, I bet he likes that.” Yeah, I bet he really does.

Thanks for growing old with us Yukon Jack. Rest In Peace old boy.

April 2004 – April 2018.

A few good memories:

https://nuttygrass.com/2013/12/23/the-goose-debacle/

https://nuttygrass.com/2013/05/03/the-challenge/

https://nuttygrass.com/2013/11/08/some-crazy-weather/

https://nuttygrass.com/2012/07/25/1st-day-of-combining-grass-seed-2012/

https://nuttygrass.com/2013/01/11/a-walk-with-the-dogs/

https://nuttygrass.com/2012/04/21/the-hunt-is-on/

https://nuttygrass.com/2012/03/10/wild-goose-chasingis-it-working/

Happy Birthday to My Farmer

14 Apr

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!

Goodbye to Old Grey

6 Mar

Old Grey has been on our farm for 22 years.  22 fertilizer seasons of running around loaded down from field to field.  22 summers of hauling grass seed, clover, wheat, even filberts on long hot days.  22 years of wear, tear, washing and waxing before each season.

I realize it might seem silly to have an attachment to just a piece of equipment on our farm, but silly or not, I was sad to see her go.  Maybe it’s because I always think back when I was a kid and that steering wheel seemed so big!  I can perfectly imagine it’s what Hoot is thinking right as I took the photo below! Or maybe it’s the memories later, sitting in the driver’s seat of Old Grey, learning how to drive a semi, while dad sat in the passenger side and told me to “Take it easy on her!” and inevitably cringing while I grinded every gear heading down the road.  Old Grey is the truck that didn’t have the get up and go of her new counterparts at our farm, but I’ll be dammed if she didn’t always get you where you wanted to go….eventually.We bought a new truck that is currently being put together, painted up all pretty and shiny.  She’s newer than Old Grey by a long shot, has more horsepower, and will be a great addition to our farm.  When we bought her and made the decision to sell Old Grey, it was the end of an era.  This is the first large purchase that Matt and I have made since buying the farm from my parents.  In a way Old Grey represents the past generation on our farm and the transition to the next.

So while Hoot was farming with me on Friday, we went to say our goodbyes.  I gave our boy, generation number 4 a chance to stand on the seat and pull the horn one last time, just like I did growing up.

Obviously Hoot didn’t quite feel as sentimental as me, he was just excited to go see the combines haha! But regardless I said my thank yous for being such a great part of our farm, and for always getting us where we needed to be….eventually.

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