Fourteen and Farming

Dedicated to all those who will be, are, and have been 14 and farmed… July 31, 2017

GREENWICH, N.Y. — Summer is here, I wake up, and I farm…

I work the land beside my dad, my grandfather, my uncles, and our crew.  I can’t imagine a life any better than this.

I leap out of bed, thinking a little about what’s going to get packed in my lunchbox, A LOT about what piece of equipment I am going to run on this day.

I eat my bowl of cereal in the early morning light. The birds are chattering, the barn sparrows are diving, and the smell of the earth and manure fills me up. I step out, onto the land, into the day… Life is so good.

I hear activity in the barns; headlocks clanking, breakfast time. In the distance, the bunk tractor moans as it loosens up another bucket of feed from the bunk face. It scoops, and it dumps into the mixer wagon. This farm never stops, always busy.

Proudly donning my blue farm shirt, and the red grease rag in my back pocket I look down and see my boot lace dragging. I bend over and double knot it. Would hate for that to slow me down…or give the impression that I was incapable of the work.

I look up and see that grandpa has started my tractor. We kick the tires a moment and discuss me driving dump wagon today. He imparts his knowledge, making sure that I get that the fields are a little wet for the tractor trailers. (I’ll do anything grandpa, I love this farm.)

We nod to each other and grin, both with twinkles in our eye, we farm together.

I climb in the cab, get myself situated, and head out of the driveway with my tractor and dump cart. Early start, lots of hay to chop before the end of the day, rain is possible tonight.

Exhilaration, heart full of pride, orders received, their expectations exceeded. I am up to it, I fill important boots, no longer shadowing dad. With every load dumped a sense of accomplishment. I am 14, I am the farm.

No break for lunch (happy to be working too hard), we just keep chopping through. Sun is high in the sky, hay is drying fast. The inverter has caught up to the mower, trucks are lined up to accept their feed. My heart beats, farm.

I see my brothers and my cousins, riding shotgun in the trucks. We wave, we smile, a big thumbs up to each other—our goal is shared…they will be 14, they will farm.

Dad pulls into the field and out of his old pick-up truck, he signals for me to stop. He climbs in, says come with me, we need you to pack bunk. (Anything for you dad, for this farm.)

I grab my cooler, snack on the way, we talk about our details of the day. Hop out, jump in again. With every push…I feel 14, I feel the farm.

Day is done, I worked late, I worked hard. Rain will hold off for another day, bunk will get covered tomorrow. Miserable job, but I will embrace.

I eat my dinner, shower, go to bed, asleep before my head hits the pillow. I can’t wait for tomorrow, I sleep…

I dream of 14, I dream of the farm.