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Views and opinions: Use the holiday to practice tougher bits of thankfulness


How are we already at Thanksgiving? Weren’t we just sweating at the Fourth of July parade yesterday?

I’ve said it before – Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Probably because all it entails is cooking and eating.

It’s a beautiful holiday steeped in so many traditions for all of our families. We have so much to be thankful for, and some years it’s easy to see the glass half-full while other years it’s not quite that easy to be optimistic.

If I’ve learned one thing in the past year, it’s that I need to be thankful no matter what. So, here are a few things farmers can be thankful for – no matter what:

•If you’re slopping through the mud, you can be thankful because that means you’ve had moisture for your crops, while other parts of the country are bone-dry.

•When you walk out to check the grain dryer and it’s silent because it’s broken, be thankful that you’ve got a crop in the bin to dry. Some farmers are picking up their grain bins piece by piece after the recent storm that blew through Ohio.

•When three pairs of manure-caked boots are sitting in your laundry room making the entire house smell like you just ran the gutter cleaner in the kitchen, you can be thankful you have people in your life who wear those boots.

•And when you look next to the boots and you see a pile of smelly barn clothes waiting to be washed, you can be thankful you have two sets of clothes, one set for the barn and one set for off the farm.

•And, when you start counting the piles of laundry in your overcrowded laundry room, you can be thankful you have so many people in your house to love and care for.

•When you’re out in the woods looking for a newborn calf and it’s 35 degrees with a combination of snow and rain soaking your clean overalls, and you wonder if the calf will be dead or alive and will it be a bull or a heifer and how in heaven’s name will you get a 150-pound calf in the truck to take it to the barn – you can be thankful you have a calf, because that means the cow was bred and now she will be adding more milk to the tank.

•When you asked your teenager to help you find the newborn calf and he meets you in the warm milkhouse after you’ve wrestled that calf back up to the barn all by yourself, be thank you have a teenager and that they showed up at all. He could be up in his room strung out on drugs or on his fifth hour of playing video games.

•Dad, if your daughter runs the tractor out of diesel fuel, be thankful for that daughter who was on that tractor helping you at all. This means you’re doing your job as a parent and this is a lesson she will never forget.

•When you flip the switch on the gutter cleaner and you hear a big snap and a link breaks under a days’ worth of manure, pick up that pitchfork and be thankful you don’t have to pitch that manure every morning and night.

And, when you get done with Thanksgiving dinner and there’s a big mess in the kitchen and you have an hour before you are needed in the barn for chores, be thankful for that mess. That means you’ve been surrounded by family and friends who love you and whom you have fed and nurtured for another year.

Let’s turn our ugly messes into opportunities of thankfulness. Happy Thanksgiving!


The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers with questions or comments for Melissa Hart may write to her in care of this publication.