Sitting in the passengers seat, classic country-gold tunes stream through the speakers. My brother and I singing along and cracking jokes between songs. Snow to my left and right filling the ditches with a taunting promise of nature’s beauty. Cow-calf pairs huddled around the feed-truck. This is the way I choose to spend my day.
Classes may be cancelled and work days cut short in the cities, but life on a cow-calf operation has oddly close similarities to the United States Postal Service. Neither rain, sleet, snow nor bitterly cold weather will keep farmers and ranchers from tending to the needs of the animals (I may have paraphrased that a bit but you get the point). When the temperature is a mere one degree, when the rain is freezing on impact and the cattle stand huddle behind wind-breaks with icicles covering their bodies, farmers and ranchers are braving the conditions to break ice and lay out hay.
Honestly, if I wasn’t raised in this life-style I might think it was crazy. I mean honestly, I could be sitting on the couch drinking coffee, right? Cuddled up in the warmth of my own house with a book or searching the endless bores of Facebook, right? I might even decide to do some baking. Perhaps I would bake a cake or put in a meatloaf for supper. Would I stop to think where the ingredients came from? If I wasn’t raised on a cow-calf operation no, I probably wouldn’t stop to think about those things (thank goodness I was raised on a farm). I probably wouldn’t stop to consider the possibility that the flour and eggs needed to bake that cake was provided by someone other than Walmart. I wouldn’t stop to realize that before the hamburger is laid out in intriguing displays in the grocery store it was first born and raised on someone’s farm or ranch. No, I probably wouldn’t stop to think about the man or woman who at that very moment is probably bundled up from head to toe stomping through snow and mud to make sure each and every animal they own is well fed, watered and warm.
However, by God’s good grace I was born a country girl. I was raised on long days and beef. I was raised to put the needs of my animals before mine. I was raised to understand that although I sometimes complain about trekking in the cold to break ice and throw hay, if my family and I didn’t we wouldn’t have food on our table or clothing on our bodies. I was raised with the understanding that if all the American farmers and ranchers didn’t do these tasks (and so many more) it wouldn’t just be my family without food and necessities it would be the entire country.
So, for those of you not raised on a farm or ranch the next time you’re cuddled up next to the fire on a snowy day remember the farmers and ranchers out there braving the conditions. They’re doing the hard stuff so you don’t have to.
Thank a farmer or rancher today!!