The Frugal Farmer - What My Dad Taught Me
My Father The Farmer
Farming - it's not for the faint of heart! It requires hard physical labor, and yet my Dad would not choose to do anything else for all the money in the world. Yes, it's true, money can't buy happiness, but it can buy cows - which is pretty much the same thing for my Dad. He lived the simple life, which today can be a complicated task. My Dad's convictions were clear, and he lived them every day of the year. As a farmers daughter, I learned certain non-negotiable values that will last me a lifetime.
Image Credit: All photos on this lens taken by me, Glenda Motsavage, with the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX150
Cozy and comfortable fleece blanket for those cold nights on the farm!
John Deere... - My Dad's idea of off-roading
Hard Work... - The 1st Life Lesson My Dad Taught Me
What's a day off? My Dad didn't know - he was a farmer. You don't get anything that you don't work hard for. That was his belief. Even his physical appearance sported that signature 'farmers tan' and calloused hands. His arms were stronger than anyone I knew. Strong enough to wrestle a rebellious farm animal, or two.
I fondly remember Dad's daily routine: Get up before dawn and milk the cows. Work all day in the fields. Eat supper... or maybe not! Milk the cows, go to bed, get up and do it all over again. And again, and again! There were no days off - no sick days, no vacation days, no paid holidays. Of course Dad worked a forty hour week... by Wednesday! Then he would put in another forty or so. After a long day harvesting the hay ahead of the rain clouds, he was willing to stay up all night delivering a newborn calf, watch it die - then dry his eyes and say 'maybe next year.'
In winter's chill or summer's heat...
A farmer works so the world can eat— Author Unknown
Have You Ever Visited A 'Working' Farm?
The Fulkroad FarmClick thumbnail to view full-size
Frugal Farmer Fulkroad...
The 2nd Life Lesson My Dad Taught Me
Frugal farmer Fulkroad. That's how my Dad was known to everyone. He operated on a cash basis - no credit cards for him. "If you can't afford to pay cash for it... you don't need it!" That's what he would always tell me. But he didn't just 'talk the talk,' he 'walked the walk.' I mean he payed cash for everything - vehicles, farm machinery, animals, etc. Trust me, if he were running our great country, we wouldn't be broke! He saved money more than he spent it. If there was an organic (okay, cheaper) method to do anything, he would find it.
Dad knew that life's most important things, were not 'things.' Material possessions didn't interest him. To him, true joy came from watching the crops ripen in the field. He never used a computer or had a desire for a cell phone. These things cost money - money he could use on seeding and weeding, feeding and breeding, plowing and planting.
I know there's a farmer out there somewhere who never wants a PC and that's fine with me.— Bill Gates
My Dad's Fan Club
One out of every 12 jobs in the economy is connected in some way, shape or form to what happens on the farm.— Tom Vilsack ~ US Secretary of Agriculture
Farmers Are Fighters!
Farming ranks among the most dangerous occupations in the United States. According to an article by the Centers for Disease Control on USA.gov, in 2010 (the most recent statistics released) 476 farmers died from a work-related injury. Every single day about 243 farm workers suffer a debilitating injury. The number one cause of accidents and death are tractor overturns. Other causes would be pesticide exposure, pulmonary disease, musculoskeletal disorders and hearing loss.
My Dad was also a farming accident victim, which forced him to give up the 'love of his life' prematurely. Early one Tuesday morning, seven years ago, Dad headed out to the live cattle auction as was his weekly custom. This is an auction barn where livestock are bought and sold. Kinda like rural America's version of the stock market. Those who get there early can tour the animal pens to get a close-up look at the size, age, quality and health of the animal. Being short-handed that day, my Dad offered to help weigh the bulls and prepare them for auction.
As he stood in the arena, he never saw it coming. A full-grown bull charging up behind him, gave him a head-butt that sent my Dad flying through the air and landed on a concrete slab... on his head! Bleeding profusely from his head (amongst other injuries) it was determined he would not make it to the hospital alive. That's what they told me when I received the phone call. They life-lined him via helicopter where, once again, the surgeons said he would not make it through the night. The bleeding and swelling from the brain was too extensive.
But... they didn't know about the 'God-factor!' I believe in the power of prayer. I must; I am the recipient of a medical miracle myself because of prayer. Now it was my turn to 'pay-it-forward.' And pray I did... for hours, for days, for weeks, as Dad lay in intensive care. And, once again, God seen fit to release a miracle to our family. Dad awoke from his coma, and within 3 short months he was back on the farm - not nearly at full capacity, but caring for his beloved cattle the best that he could. Now he's battling a curse of a different kind; that dreaded "C" word. But... farmers are fighters!
I love you Dad. And I'm so grateful for all the life's lessons you taught me.
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