Farmers are some of the most creative people in the world. When a job must get done and fixing it right isn’t an option, tell me you haven’t come up with an unusual solution — like barbed wiring, duck taping, or welding your way through some major crisis.
My husband, Matt, can fix anything. We’re not afraid to experiment because we know that he will be able to fix it. For example, we mowed different fields than normal to rearrange the cattle and tore the swather up multiple times. But within a few hours (it took longer to get the parts than to actually fix it) we were back in business.
Having a skilled mechanic and all around “fix-it” person on your operation can save you thousands of dollars!
24 important farm-life lessons
I have learned so much from him and thought I would share his some of his life lessons:
- Everything can be fixed. Everything. Sometimes it takes creative thinking, but it can be fixed.
- There is always something to do. Always. Never will we ever be caught up.
- In a committed relationship, there must be time for each other regardless of the fact the work will never be done.
- Food will fix bad moods almost instantly.
- There is a solution to every problem. Think about it and figure it out. If you are having difficulty, ask someone who can help.
- Can’t isn’t a word and shouldn’t be in your vocabulary.
- You are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for.
- Mountain Dew and sugar in the form of ice cream, brownies, or really anything is a meal. Nothing else is required.
- Words solve almost nothing and are rarely needed.
- Listen more than you talk.
- Find boots that you like and buy 12 of the same pair so you never have to go shopping again.
- There are certain items that need to be name brand (pickles and Milwaukee tools), but generic is also appropriate for a lot of things.
- Always be prepared for anything and everything.
- Always carry a jack, an impact power tool, and a socket set.
- Be willing to help stranded motorists who land at your farm regardless of whether they pay you or not.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment with the crop techniques or ideas you want to try — just don’t do it on the highway fields until you have perfected it.
- Prices are going to go up and down. Inputs, outputs, etc., it’s all going to change. Rely on prices as little as you can. Make your own markets.
- Pick flowers for your spouse from your land once in a while.
- Cussing break downs and the person who caused the break down rarely does anything but make both of you more mad.
- Livestock can be worked without shouting at each other.
- Don’t be afraid to take things apart to see how they work.
- Get away once a year at least. Leave the farm. Get perspective. Learn and grow. Rest.
- When you find your life dream, chase it relentlessly. If farming isn’t it, go find what is.
- Find those farmers that have been farming a while and bounce ideas and thoughts off of them, but never do something just because that’s the way it’s always been done.
The farming lifestyle can be incredibly difficult and lonely, if you let it be. Matt is living his dream. He absolutely loves working on the land that has been in his family for generations. He loves waking up each day and doing all of these things so he can leave this land better than it was. He could spend all day, everyday, 365 days a year working on this land and be the happiest man alive.
I require time away. I also love the farm, but I have other dreams. It doesn’t have to be a competition. Matt wants me here farming with him but has come to realize that I’m a much better partner when I get a few hours a week to pursue hobbies that bring me joy and peace. I used to work day after day thinking that when we get XYZ done, then I would have time to pursue “my” things. Then we would both get frustrated because I was upset that I wasn’t pursuing the things that brings me joy on the side — and he was upset because I was upset.
Moral of the story, this life is tough. If you have a partner you love, do what you can to keep that relationship because you cannot take that dirt with you. A few hours break or an occasional day off will do wonders for your relationship.
Kelsey Pagel is a Kansas farmer. She grew up on a cow/calf and row crop operation and married in to another. Kelsey and her Forever (Matt) farm and ranch with his family where they are living their dream and loving most of the moments.