Across the Ozarks
I’ve always been involved in agriculture in some way or another. My dad knew the importance of raising children who appreciated the land and he jumped at every opportunity to let us experience production agriculture.
My sisters and I tried our hand with many different species over the years. My family briefly jumped on the hog bandwagon. We raised Ruby, and I slept in the barn the night her piglets were born.
High school brought an involvement in FFA, naturally, but I preferred the plants and environmental side of agriculture to the animal sciences. During that time, dad started his own cattle herd, but by then I had determined I didn’t really want to work with the cows, at all.
Well, I guess I’ve come full circle in the past year or so… Dad, who’s consistently encouraged me to have a closer tie to livestock because of my daily involvement reporting on the industry, has recently gotten me back out to the farm. A month or so ago, I went to help work some of his steers he bought to background for the winter. I worked side by side with dad and Kate and Seth, two of my siblings. We’d give each other high-fives after we’d release a particularly fired-up animal, successful in our caregiving. I personally gave almost 30 blackleg shots, and the afternoon climaxed when dad nearly got a swift kick in the jaw from a feisty steer.
The four of us took a lot longer to work 30 cows than if dad had brought some more experienced friends or students out to help. But for me, covered in cow manure and much more by the end of the day, I realized what so many of you have told me over the years, and what dad has always been striving for, wanting us to be a “farm family." It's about the fun, the memories, the closeness that can come with it.
Editor's Note: Thanks to all who've sent in recipes this year. I hope you enjoy the Country Christmas Cookbook pull-out inside this issue. Please continue sending us your favorite recipes for next year.