October 14, 2010

Farmer's Daughter

A couple of weeks ago, I headed on a whirlwhind roadtrip to Kansas with my parents and my little brother.  DJ has just accepted an engineering position way down there, so we went south to check things out.

It has been quite a while since I have been able to spend that much time with those three =)  Our lives have all been busy and we have not taken the time or made the time to be with one another.  I have missed them, terribly.

So, even though a ten hour car ride doesn't sound that appealing on the surface, knowing that I could spend it with all of them, I begged to come along.

Practically the entire journey, we listened to country music on the radio.  Now, I'm not a huge fan of country.  It just is not my first, or second, or third choice, when it comes to radio stations.  But I'll listen to it, and I did.  I even sang along on a few songs that I remembered (and others I got to know well).

One of those songs that kept playing on the radio was called "Farmer's Daughter."

Now, I have always been a farmer's daughter.  I grew up on a little farm - complete with corn and beans and goats at one point.  I have baled hay and have driven the combine.  I must admit that I was usually curled up inside with a book than outside doing chores - my brothers helped out a whole lot more on the farm than I ever did, or was asked to do.  But that connection with the land, with family, with mud and dirt, with a pair of jeans and the sweat of a brow is in my veins. 

It's one of the reasons that I felt so called to return to Iowa to be in ministry.  My roots are here.  I couldn't be who I am anywhere else. 

I was reminded of that again this past weekend.

My dad called me up and needed some help in the fields.  Both of my brothers were unavailable (and now live much farther away) and he needed someone to drive the truck so that he could leave the tractor at the field.  I grabbed a bag of things to knit, headed over the dusty roads to the farm and did what I could.  I drove that huge truck with the wagon behind it and followed him in the tractor to the fields where he would be combining beans.  I helped unhitch everything.  And while he climbed in the cab and kept harvesting, I pulled out my crochet hook and got to work.

It didn't last very long, though.  I felt like I wasn't being helpful, so as he came around on the next pass, I climbed up into the cab with him.

He moved over the little he could, and I sat there on the edge of the seat, the other half of my butt pressed up against the door, and we rode together in the combine.

It was dusty, and hot (80 on a Sunday in October!), and we both had sweat pouring off of us - but we had a blast talking.  We followed the curve of the hills and he expertly maneuvered around the edge of the fields.  We even averted a minor catastrophe when a huge hunk of driftwood got caught in the head.  At first, we thought it was only a small chunk of wood and pulled it out.  I had to move some levers from above, while my dad was on his back underneath the head trying to put it manually back into gear after it stuck.  I thought for sure when he climbed underneath with a crow bar and a pair of pliers that I was going to do something wrong and chop his hand off - but we managed. The gears still refused to turn, and then he found the problem was really a two foot log that was stuck inside. 

I heard stories of him growing up.  We talked about our work.  We discussed hopes and dreams.

And when quitting time came, I hooked up the truck to the wagon to pull it back home.  And failed miserably to get the wagon full of beans to make it up the hill.  The ground was so dry and dusty and powdery that the wheels simply spun.  While I thought I might have just been a failure at driving the truck, we figured out that the four wheel drive was just failing to engage.

My dad works his butt off each and every day.  He gives his all at work and then comes home with little sleep and does it again in the fields. While sometimes I'm frustrated with him for doing too much, and working too hard, and not taking care of himself... I'm proud to be a farmer's daughter.


  1. I SO loved this story and the picture too!

    - from a granddaughter of Nebraskan ranchers

  2. Love this post. Beautiful.

    (Also, I just finished an awesome novel about farm life in Iowa you might enjoy. It's called Dwelling Places, by Vinita Wright.)

  3. I have that book! It's on my shelf, but I haven't read it yet. It might be the next on my "bedside table" list.