Farmer of the Year

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As I was driving to work this morning, I was soaking in the silence of being alone.  My mind was rolling around and I was hoping that a story would begin to form that I could write about today.  I went through many possibilities.  I noticed the beautiful sunlit morning and thought about writing about being thankful for what is around us.  I thought about the pot luck that I was supposed to bake something for and considered writing about a delicious old-fashioned recipe.  Somehow, nothing seemed quite right.  On and off through the day, I keep going back to that one thought….”what will I write about tonight?”.  I pondered this question all the way home and was still thinking about it as I was walking outside to see what my husband Joey was up to.

As I walked down the lane between two of our garden patches, I saw Joey leaning against the tractor getting something to drink.  He was hot, muddy, and looked like he was exhausted.  He smiled when he saw me coming.  My heart skipped a beat, and suddenly, I realized that even though this is a farm blog, I’ve never written very much about the farmer.

A typical day in the life of my husband is crammed to the brim with work, work, and a little more work.  Joey almost always is up and ready to work early in the morning.  He’ll throw on a pair of work jeans, layers of shirts (depending on how hot the day is), work boots, his old straw hat, and he’s out the door.  He is the most motivated person I’ve ever seen.  If there’s something that needs done, he’ll work in the rain, snow, or mud to finish the job.  It’s not unusual in the spring and summer for him to be outside from dawn until past dark.  When people visit the farm, it’s not uncommon for them to ask Joey how many people he has working for him to keep everything tilled, planted, mowed, and kept up.  When he tells them that he does most of the work himself, their look of surprise is priceless!

Speaking of priceless, as you can imagine, being a farmer doesn’t usually pull in a six figure salary!  Many times, if there is an item that we need for the farm or house, Joey will try his best to figure out how to make it himself.  Besides being blessed with a gift for farming, he’s also been blessed with a gift for engineering and building.  I don’t know how many times I’ve come home to find that he’s found a way to fix or improve something that was on its last legs.

Joey works so hard on our farm to provide for our family, but somehow he always manages to make time for our daughter Elizabeth and I each evening.  Whether we are relaxing in the living room listening as I read a good book aloud, taking a walk outside, or having our nightly prayer time, we are a close family that enjoys being together.

Joey is the 5th generation in his family to live and work on the land that makes up our farm.  He comes from a long line of honest, hardworking men that have loved their families and raised their little girls (and boys) here on the farm.  He’s proud of his heritage and it easily shows in the work that he does and in the practical knowledge that he shares with others.  He’s always willing to talk about gardening or farming with anyone that asks.

I’m not quite sure what Joey will think when he reads this blog that I’m about to post. He’s a pretty modest guy and will probably roll his eyes at me!  He and I have had a running joke for the last ten years or so that he’s “farmer of the year”.  We always say it jokingly, but whenever I look at his sun-tanned and weather-beaten face or see him working in the field, I know in my heart that it’s not really a joke to me.  I’m so thankful for all his hard work on the farm and all that he does to help others learn how to grow their own food and carry on the old ways of planting and growing.  Our family is so blessed by this wonderful man and he will always be a treasure to me.

Here’s a photo that I took of Joey checking some of the plants.

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