I love living in the country, even on the days when the manure is spread in the fields to nourish the soil. The colors are rich, the aroma refreshing, and the neighbors a blessing. There aren't too many working farms in Oswego County anymore and we've noticed as we travel North, the numbers are less there too. I wasn't raised on a "working" farm and to be honest, I like milk and dairy from the store, not fresh from the barn. But then again, I grew up walking to the lake and seeing the cows hooked to the milking machine. I still remember my first invitation in to see the vat collecting the milk and how it chilled and circulated the milk until the truck arrived later.
They showed us how they scraped the top off the milk and used it for cheese or creme for the coffee, I can't remember exactly. They would pour us a little cup of "fresh" milk, my first reaction probably offended them but they laughed and explained it is much different than the white milk we buy in the store. That is an understatement. So while I might live in the country and near farms, I'm not too much of a country girl.
Just because I don't like fresh milk or the idea of chicken poop on the bottom of my shoes doesn't mean I can't appreciate the hard work and dedication of my neighbors and farmers across our country. Have you ever heard the phrase, "Farming is a lost art."? I never understood this as a child but as I've grown it makes more sense. There is creativity and out of the box thinking in farming. There are opportunities to absorb God's creation before the sun rises, as it rises, as it transitions over the hills behind the barn, and starts its descent to sleep for the night.
Farmers experience moments of life and death many miss. They reap a harvest beyond that of fruits and vegetables, or even fresh milk. Farming requires 100% involvement and help from the family. To see the toddlers carrying the basket of eggs from the coop to the kitchen is a lesson of grace and tenderness. A father teaching his son to milk cow reminds me of the bond our boys need with their daddy. There are moments of mom teaching her daughter to sew and mend the socks or make a new dress. These are only a few blessings and joys of living on the farm.
As with any life, there are challenges. Farming in today's society has to be a great uphill battle yet it is one many strive to succeed at, keeping the tradition and priceless unity of family at the forefront. Farming is not new, it was first mentioned in Genesis 2. Farming is tradition and lost art but there are those still dedicating hours before and after their "real job" to keep their farms running. They might only produce enough eggs, milk, and crops for their own family BUT they are caring for their own family with the very things God provided for them.
The next time you pick up a gallon of milk at the grocery store, remember the families across the country, or in your neighborhood, who bond together and dedicate hours each day to produce that milk for your consumption. They are a family bound by work ethic, love, and determination. As we wait for the coming of the Lord, we must wait with patience of the farmer planting and harvesting his crops. As we appreciate the ease of picking up a gallon of milk, remember the farmers in your prayers and they join together so we can run to the store. They are up tending the sheep while we are still counting them. Thank you farmers!
For this reason, my brothers and sisters,
When you see the farmers milking cows,
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323