It started out as one of those days. I awoke to a few more aches and pains than I had the day before and had a list a mile long looming on the kitchen table. My Grandmother always said “the hurrier you go, the behinder you get” and well, that was happening – big time! Families were coming to our pick-your-own pumpkin patch and I had plenty to do.
Growing up on what is now aptly named Family Tree Farm in York County PA, I played outside from dawn till dusk. There were few boundaries – maybe stay away from the bull (I have a cousin that tested that boundary and it didn’t go so well), don’t get too close to the backside of a horse, and don’t touch the electric fence (what farm kid hasn’t tested that boundary only to be thrown on their butt). My parents refused my pleas for a horse (my sister had two – why couldn’t I have one?!) but satisfied me with a lovely lime green mini-bike. I have extremely fond memories of spending many happy days with my cousin running all over the farm and the back roads that surround it on our super cool mini-bikes. There was never a dull moment spending time with countless other family members growing up on the same farm I cherish so much now. Clearly, not much has changed, except for maybe a few extra aches each morning, and we’ve replaced the mini bike with a pick-up truck.
This day, it was check off the “to do” list as fast as possible. As I was wrapped up in the dreaded list, I paused when I overheard a child’s happy exclamation as he ran out the back door of our barn – “Lets go play in the park!” It made me stop in my tracks. Fond memories flew through my head and I took a second to look around. I saw my father and all my long past relatives, toiling in the soil, the same soil we still work today. I saw my husband out long past dark, guided by the lights of his tractor, spending time out in what he likes to call his “church.” I saw our children pulling sweet corn at the crack of dawn in the rain, picking vegetables on hot humid days, and helping a ewe birth her lamb at 2:00 in the morning on a cold winter’s night. And then I thought of our grandchildren who now ask, “What can we do to help, Nana?” Yes, farming is hard and sometimes tedious work. The lists are long, and so are the days, but I will forever argue that the benefits always outweigh the costs. After all, we get to play in the park all the time!