Yep, that’s me in the picture there. The littlest one second from the left, ready for the first day of school. This is one of my favorite family pictures. Not only are my three wonderful siblings in the picture, but our farm dog and cattle are in the picture too, all part of the family.
I always thought of our farm as part of our family. I think that is what drew me to come back to the farm and start farming alongside my dad. I missed that part of my family, our family farm.
Farming Then – I remember growing up on the farm; we all had our different roles to keep the farm going. My brother was in charge of feeding the cattle every day. My oldest sister helped slaughter the chickens. And my sister and I took our turns unloading wagons or working up the ground during harvest.
Although the thing I remember most is pretending I was sick at school every day so I could come home and follow my dad around on the farm.
I had little responsibility at such a young age, but my dad made me feel important when we would run errands to the ‘John Deere Store’ or when he would let me drive the tractors.
Farming Now – Today our roles on the farm have certainly changed. Now my dad and I work side-by-side to keep the farm going.
We work together to plant and tend to the crops, fix and maintain the tractors and equipment, do all the paperwork and many of the things I was not part of when I was growing up. It has been a sharp learning curve in several areas!!
My siblings and their families are all still part of the farm, but their roles have changed as well.
Now they all visit in the fall to help during harvest. My brother might unload some wagons, while I harvest corn in the combine and my dad checks to make sure everything is running smoothly and fixes anything that might break down. And my mom and sisters entertain the kids and pack snacks for tractor and combine rides.
I am so thankful for our family farm. I couldn’t imagine growing up any other way!
I’m thankful for the memories we have created on the farm. And am thankful for the opportunity to create many more memories to come with my family on the farm.
ELIZABETH KOENIG – HINCKLEY FARMER, THERAPIST, AND ARTISAN SOAP MAKER