Why Planting Season Stinks in College

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It’s nearing the first of May. And for all farm kids, farmers, and farm wives that brings a LOT more than just a month left of school and summer quickly approaching. It doesn’t just imply April showers bring May flowers, either. It means long nights, early mornings, and seeing more “dirt” and seed than people. For most, the tractor seat turns into your best friend, and you listen to more radio than ever before. Yet, the chores at home, homework, and meals still have to happen, and it takes a saint to run food to the field for every meal and please cranky farmers with entrees that can be eaten with one hand in a bumpy field.

Yet, where do the next generation of farmers, who are off at college, fit into this jigsaw puzzle that we lovingly call spring planting? It’s rough being a farm kid in a college town. The professors, school, and classmates just don’t seem to understand the blood, sweat, and tears that go into planting, much less how much we love it. It’s not just about getting the last field worked or seed in the ground; it’s about what will happen in the fall. How you think the harder you work to make planting go smoothly the better the chances at the biggest yield.

Being away at school takes almost all of the fun out of it, though. You can’t smell the freshly turned dirt or rip open a bag of seed every day and night. The phone calls are more frequent as we constantly want to know what’s going on at the farm and how many acres are left. We count the days till Friday in hopes that the rain will hold off, and we too can get a little tractor time. I don’t think it has ever been so hard to be away.

The deep passion that runs in farm kid’s blood is unmatched. Who else can say that they drive home for the weekend to get covered in dust or sit in a tractor for 12 hours straight? It’s not all about being there for the process; it’s being involved in the family legacy and taking on more of the responsibility, in hopes of showing dad or grandpa that we want to be just like them. While the stress of planting season isn’t easy for those at home on the farm, it’s even harder to be away.

 

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Day 20: Home is where the heart is, home is where the cows are

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Tomorrow I get to go home. I haven’t been there in two whole weeks. Which to most college students probably doesn’t seem like much time away, but to me it seems like a century. You see, living only an hour and fifteen minutes away makes it pretty easy to go home every weekend. At this point the drive doesn’t really even seem that long.

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The cow lot

Going home means so many things to me, of course it means getting to see my family, and my boyfriend. But it also means I get to see all the progress that has happened since I’ve been away, like the fields freshly harvested and the black dirt turned over. Or the newest baby calves, and what their mammas look like after losing all that baby weight. To me going home lets me be a part of my family’s lifestyle, and our family business. Going home means helping and laughing and being a team, that’s the only way anything gets accomplished on a farm anyway.

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For years I’ve heard Mom or Dad telling people on the phone how to get to our house, “bedford stone house with two stave silos, you can’t miss it.” And that really does describe it, but to me it’s so much more.

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The Parlor

Grammy and PawPaw built the house when my Aunts and Dad were little. We moved into the house when PawPaw took a step back from the farm and Dad began to take more responsibility. I’m sure that my Aunts have their fair share of memories that come running back whenever they are over. I know that our family has our own. From the time that I played with hot peppers from the garden on the big well block, and couldn’t see straight for a couple of hours. When Santa brought us girls a swimming pool for Christmas and all the summers we’ve spent in it with each other and our friends. The three of us girls and Dad will never be able to forget the rat invasion out at the heifer shed, and I think we all secretly hope that we can try that again.

There are also some bad memories that I associate with home, like watching my cow Butter-finger pass away out on the dirt pasture. The countless baby calves that are stillborn, or the cows that die while giving birth. These setbacks make it hard to want to finish chores, yet we do every time.

Dairy farming isn’t easy, and I think that’s why the farm means so much to me. It’s more than a house a shed and some barns, it’s where the Telgmann family established a legacy. Where the Char-La-Don prefix was first started, where dairy-farming was etched into each one of us. It’s a true blessing to have grown up on the farm, I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.

Day 17: Kitty Cats

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Today as it’s cold and snowy out at school, I’m thinking about home. I know that you could most likely see the cow’s breath and they will be running around like little calves. Another thing I would bet money on, is that the cats will be laying on the baby calves.

Over the years we have gone through multitudes of kittens and cats. Some of us are more fond of the cats than others. Yet, the cats always get fed the leftover milk twice a day, and get their fair share of the dog food.

Some kittens have stolen the heart of my sisters and I and get special treatment. A few kittens have even managed to run up so high vet bills after they participated in some not so clever activities.

All in all, the cats and kittens can be a pain when they weave inside and out of your legs trying to steal the calves milk. But they still are a blessing. They add a little more spunk and sparkle into our lives.

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