Spring on the farm, is always beautiful.  Seems within days the tree out my kitchen window buds and within a week tiny leaves start to emerge.  The birds start chirping and it seems so peaceful.  Well it would be peaceful,But out in the barn it is hammers banging, tractors grumbling and my husband with dirt smudged on his face like a child getting all the equipment ready.

It is a busy time for him, yet he seems at peace.  There is a calm even in the busy when you love and live for what you do.  He has worked this ground since he was just a young boy.  He was born and raised here and at about eight years old he drove a tractor for the first time. (*fun fact, we still have that tractor).

It was always him and his Pa, side by side, best Pals.  We lost his Dad last winter at the age of Ninety five, just a few weeks from ninety six.  It hit us all hard. He was a great man who loved Jesus, his family and his farm.  That was all that mattered to him.  A quiet man who kept to himself.  

He had been in declining health so I can't say this is the first year Jim is out there without him, but it is the first year that I am certain hits harder being out there without him.  He lived across the street from the farm and would sit on his porch and watch Jim working.  He used to walk over until we told him no more crossing the street unless we are with you, our road can be quite busy. The knowing he was still here was comforting.  Jim would be getting ready to plant and he would go over to see Pa, sharing what was happening on the farm.  

Dementia had started robbing Pa of his memory and he was often confused.  His last year was the worst for memory.  At this point it was necessary to move him to a nursing home after he had suffered a stroke.

  We went weekly to visit him.  Some days he would know us, other days he did not, but he seemed to always remember things about farming.  He would be sitting there silent, kind of staring off into space and suddenly he would ask Jim something about the farm. Sometimes he would be worried about something, Jim always reassured him that he was taking care of it. He would say "Pa, you don't have to worry about that stuff anymore, you  worked hard your entire life and now you can just rest, I am taking care of it for you."

One time we walked in to visit and he was sleeping, he often was sleeping when we arrived, always right after his lunch.  We would stay quiet as to not wake him from his afternoon nap, we always stayed until visiting hours ended, so we had the entire afternoon.  We'd let him sleep.  But this one afternoon, we were sitting there just in silence and he woke up.  He looked at us and said, "Oh No you let me sleep, I have to go get the fertilizer from the Co-op!" "I ordered that cart!" "I have to go get it and get that on the fields before the rain tomorrow!" "Why did you let me over sleep?"

Jim calmly said "Pa, you don't have to worry about that stuff anymore, I took care of it for you. Besides it is winter, we aren't putting fertilizer on this time of year."  Pa looking very confused said, "It's winter?!" "How long have I been sleeping?"  Comical had it been a joke, but sad because this was his reality.....confusion every day.  Whenever his dementia/Alzheimer would let him come back to us, he would most often bring up the farm, until closer to the end.

One of our last visits to see him, he was getting pretty lost in his mind.  It had been a few weeks since he had brought up the farm or knew who Jim was. I sensed his journey to heaven was approaching soon.

 This particular day Jim was feeding his Dad and after went to wash his hands in the bathroom.  As he got up to walk away from the edge of the bed, Pa's eyes lit up and he said with the joy of a child seeing Santa, "It's Jim!!" "It's Jim!" He kept repeating it, his eyes formed tears, and he just kept saying it.  Jim walked back over to him and said "Yes Pa, it's me, I just fed you!" The two of them had tears in their eyes and I had them streaming down my face.  Pa passed away just a week or so after that realization it was Jim.  He knew in the end that Jim was there.  He didn't ask us about farming that last visit,but I like to believe that when he realized it was Jim that he perhaps also had a rush of memories of all the years they farmed together.

We have been farming this land for Pa for over 30 years, we hope to continue to do just that. I know he is up there in Heaven tending to the fields of Gold because he was such a good and faithful servant to the land God provided for him down here. It is hard, being here without him, but he is all around us in these barns and on the farm.

  Hey Pa, It is Spring on the Farm, Jim has the fertilizer ordered, he’s taking care of it, and it is time for new beginnings.

The Happy Farm Wife


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