Why I Fell In Love WIth Farming

I’ll tell you why I fell in love with farming. This may allow for a list of about 150 items, but I’ll give it a shot and see how far this goes.

Driving tractors

One of my first jobs on a farm was to drag a set of harrows over a plowed field. There I was, sitting up on spring-loaded perch, making big engine noise, raising dust and bouncing across the field. Big time fun.


Concerned cows

The cows all looked like they were concerned about something. I figured out later, it was the cud they were chewing. It made them all look like state senators, always about to say something but never getting to the point.

Cat Nicknames

There were a dozen or more semi-domestic cats in the barn and they all had nicknames. There was Cosmic Kitty, Bird Catcher, Crab Head, Zoltar, Norbert, Hank, Snuff, Don’t Touch and Pajamas. That was just the ones I remember.

Puddle Nicknames

We named the puddles in the driveway, too. Lake Wannabe. Lake Failure. Lake Turner (I worked for the Turners.)

Early morning walks

The cows spent summer nights in a 47-acre back yard, trying to stay cool and happy. That meant the first chore in the morning was to put on rubber boots to avoid drowning in dew and hiking to the back of the pasture and calling for 60 cows or so, then walking them up the gate, across the road and into the barn, all the way up to individual stanchions.

Even when it rained, I enjoyed the walk because farmers ignore the weather if they have to. Can’t do much about it and it doesn’t help to complain about something out of your control.

Fresh milk in Aluminum Containers

Open the tap to the bulk tank and fill up with a 2-quart jug of milk, fresh and cold. Back in those days, we didn’t care much about cholesterol. Probably didn’t know what it was.


Calves are clumsy, dumb, gangly, over-enthusiastic at times and adorable or at least adorable enough. Still, after working with 1,200-pound beasts all day, spending time with the mewling 90-pound calves almost always put a smile on your face.

The Great Outdoors

Compare the great outdoors to a factory. In a factory, all widgets look the same – exactly the same. Working in the great outdoors allows you to practically taste every day of every season – spring, summer, autumn and winter. Every day feels different and wild. The landscape is changing constantly, as is the sky and the workload. Every cow is different from the other and each cow could be different one day compared to the day before.


If you like big, loud equipment, a farm is just the place for you. The variety is so vast, it is hard to fathom. I spent 20 years working on farms and still drive by equipment dealers and see equipment I have no idea how to use. Our nation’s famous “Yankee Ingenuity,” still shows up on farms. Look over the listings of used farm equipment at Fastline to get a hint of what is out there. For big engine geeks, a farm is just the place to be.


When the milk truck comes, there goes two days worth of milk down the road, off to the processing plant and on the way to becoming – in our case – cottage cheese in another state. That meant closure. You had done two days worth of work and you had done it well. That was your product on the way to filling bellies in some far-off land.

Field work

Technically, farming requires three basic types of knowledge: Botany (plants), biology (animals) and mechanics (working on equipment). I would quickly add economics as a necessary fourth skill if you happen to own the business.

Field work meant running plows, harrows, a mower, a bailer, a corn chopper, wagons, a combine, and a variety of other drag-behind field equipment. It meant long hours on a tractor and accurate calculations for seed, fertilizer and herbicides if needed – items that can be very expensive if you get it wrong.


In the East, a farm is still a family farm. With hills too numerous to give way to massive farms, like they have in the West and Midwest, farms remain comparatively small, family-run operations. That meant working with a team you could count on – a family – and spending every day working alongside the people you loved or admired the most. It meant sitting down to meals together – and not just dinner, but breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not a lot of businesses can make that claim anymore.