|This collage shows a few of the photos that Susan compiled and printed off for table decorations.
It's impossible to encapsulate 51 years of farming in a few snapshots. But it was fun to wander the tables at our retirement party and see what photos our family had collected.
My foray into blogging back in January 2010 was an attempt to provide a snapshot of life on one Kansas farm. It was my quiet protest to counter the ads from restaurant chains, animal rescue groups and others who certainly have an opinion about how we carry out our livelihoods and are glad to express all we're "doing wrong." Most of them likely have never seen a farm beyond Green Acres.
I've certainly taken thousands of photos since then, and I've shared a lot of them throughout the years on Kim's County Line.
But the most important things I've "collected," I suppose, have been the relationships with family and the others who've been part of the team.
Even though farming and ranching may seem a solitary job, there are many others who quietly help get the jobs done. Sometimes, they are the people on your payroll, though we haven't had that for a couple of years now. They may be neighbors who help out with cattle drives or finish a wheat field when your combine breaks down. There are veterinarians, co-op employees, seed dealers, parts departments, sale barn personnel, insurance carriers, farm service offices ... This list probably just scratches the surface.
We wouldn't have been able to farm had some land owners not entrusted their property to us to be stewards. What a privilege!
But the center of a family farm is in the definition: FAMILY.
Our kids honored us with a retirement reception following our farm sale August 13.
We were privileged to have so many extended family members and friends there.
I grew up on a family farm in Pratt County. At about age 6, I was driving the pickup in the field to help my dad pick up fence posts. In the early days of irrigation, my sister, Lisa, and I turned a lot of pivot wheels so the towers could be hauled from one center pivot to the next. And then we turned them all back again. When my mom drove the tractor, I helped out with duties in the house, cooking and cleaning. Later, I became one of the harvest truck drivers. I knew about trips to the parts counter before my maiden voyages for the Fritzemeier farms.
|Darci, Dad, Mom, me and Randy, Lisa and Kent - my parents and siblings
So I had an idea of what my life would be like when Randy and I married. However, I will say that being a farm daughter is a lot different than being a farm partner. Maybe that has more to do with being an adult than anything. But, as a kid, I sure didn't spend any time worrying about weather or grain prices or input cost or any of the myriad of other things that suddenly come to the forefront when your name is one of those on the checks or on the loan agreement with the bank.
|me, Randy & his sister, Kathy
We were all too busy living the experience while the party was going on to take photos. But what a wonderful afternoon it was, visiting with family and friends! Susan and Jill (with help from Kinley & Brooke) made all the cookies. They had ice cream and cookie "pairings" for guests' snacking pleasure. They - along with Brent and Eric - were the ones setting up and tearing down tables and making all the arrangements.
And I left there feeling so thankful - thankful for Randy, most of all. Thankful for Jill and Brent and the wonderful families they've made for themselves. Appreciative of our extended families. Thankful for good friends and neighbors.
It's been quite a ride.
But I think Kinley has the right idea when she wishes us "the best loungy life ever!"
|Can you believe Kinley sketched the tractor just looking at one of Grandpa's toy tractors?
Brooke also got in on the well wishes.