Making the best of it
Greetings from week five of our quarantine “party” at the farm. We have quickly fallen into a routine of homeschooling four children at multiple education levels. It’s not that it’s difficult but it requires a higher level of organization than I am used to. There are online assignments, assigned reading and scheduled Zoom calls all day long. Also, when did math get so hard? I leave those assignments to my husband’s area of expertise. The biggest challenge is always making sure everyone in our house is wearing pants before video calls commence.
The teenager is reading A Separate Peace as part of her English and Language Arts work. Slogging through a 1950s coming-of-age novel has taken some prompting from us. Our second daughter is 12 and is working to complete a Read-40-Books challenge with her sixth-grade class before the year is over. Her enthusiastic teacher comes to each student’s home to award them a shirt and place a yard sign in the student’s yard when they complete reading 40 books. Our student is anxious to see if her teacher will make the trek to the farm when she finishes. Our 10-year-old is engrossed in Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s autobiography, Racing to the Finish: My Story. I’ve learned a lot myself about old Dale and the concussions he endured in his racing career. Finally, the baby is reading Saving Shiloh. He is a dog lover and I haven’t read this book, I just hope the dog doesn’t die in the end.
Technology has been a saving grace for school, working from home and ordering groceries for a weekly pick-up to feed a family of six. There are some news stories that have been difficult for me to watch. Cattle prices are low and dairy farmers are dumping milk. Why? These are such discouraging facts facing our country right now.
Our family is doing its part to consume meat and dairy. To our children’s delight, we have let them enjoy ice cream for dessert after dinner several times a week. I grew up in a dairy community in Missouri. It breaks my heart to know how hard these farmers work with so little to gain. The pride of providing an American grocery staple – milk, cheese and more is not lost on this family.
We spent Easter at home. It was strange not to attend a service at our family’s church. We made the most of our day and went four-wheeling at the farm. We blazed some trails through the woods chasing our kids on Razors. Fortunately, we only saw one big green snake (yuck!) on our adventure. We celebrated with ham and potatoes for dinner. We’re grateful to be together and praying for a cure for COVID-19.
These are strange and scary times for us as parents and farmers. We do a lot of explaining to our children daily. We are praying for friends in the healthcare industry who are working on the front lines to aid sick people in our country. We are concerned about the economy and how it will continue to affect our communities and businesses. If you can, order take out from a local independent restaurant in your hometown. Buy necessities locally whenever possible. Our goal is to make the best of a situation that could be so much worse. A year from now, we will look back on this time of lots of family-togetherness with fondness, neighbor.
Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’