Farm kids start out holding a flashlight for their dad while he tries to find the problem in a dark engine compartment. They may also be called upon when the space in that compartment needs a smaller set of hands to loosen a screw or connect a hose. Through these tasks, they learn how to get things done—often in rather creative ways.
While my dad may have trusted me to hold a flashlight, he was less confident in me dragging his 30-foot stock trailer around. I was OK with that. I was asked to wash and wax that stock trailer one year for him for Father’s Day so I knew learning to tow it or—heaven forbid—back it up was out of the question. And it was never an issue until years ago when one of my son’s 4-H ewe lambs failed to gain weight.
All of the other lambs were gaining just fine so we determined her issues were due to genetics rather than management. The decision was made to sell her but the sale was happening the same day as my husband was out of town for a meeting. If we didn’t make it that day, we would have had to feed her for another month. This left us with few options since my husband is the pickup and trailer operator.
I am a retired farm kid, though, so it takes quite a bit to empty my bag of tricks. To me, scraping off a trailer fender or denting the pickup was just not worth the risk of taking the whole rig to town for a 50-pound lamb. I did a quick inventory of what tools I had on hand. I was driving a Chevy Tahoe at the time and our neighbors did agility trials with a bigger–than–average Australian Shepherd named Riley.
Sat on two plastic tablecloths from the dollar store, Riley’s Pet Taxi was just the right size in the back of our SUV. My two young sons and I loaded the lamb up and headed to the sale barn. I bought a new car air freshener after we dropped her off and patted myself on the back for getting the job done.
Those looking to get the job done and decisions made on harvesting their crop or chopping it for silage will appreciate this week’s cover story from Tim Unruh. He has visited with those in the dairy and beef industries to share with readers the science behind today’s silage.
Our All Aboard Wheat Harvest series continues as the harvesters work their way north from soggy beginnings in Oklahoma and Texas.
This week’s Homemade on the High Plains recipe is from Darby Grier, Stewartsville, Missouri, with her Family Spaghetti Sauce recipe that was named the winner of the miscellaneous category.
These stories and countless others may add to your own farm experiences.
Jennifer Theurer can be reached at 620-227-1858 or [email protected].