Down the Backroads

Posted on Feb 14, 2019

By Tim Thornberry

 

For some reason the changing of the seasons has always fascinated me. Watching the colors of the earth change from summer to fall to winter and on to spring, is such an amazing gift the good Lord has given us.

But I must admit, the winter season has become a little less desirable to me, as I get older. Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful snowfall as much as the next person. But working out in the cold and snow is a little harder to do now than it was 40 years ago!

With that said, I found myself traveling off the beaten path during our last snowfall looking for the scenic vista that shows the beauty of this season from the comfort and warmth of my four-wheel drive.

In doing so, I saw many people from a variety of occupational backgrounds working out in the cold weather and suddenly I found myself feeling a little guilty for being warm and protected from the elements.

I think it is easy to forget that life goes on for those who work outdoors no matter what the weather is like; be they first responders, transportation workers, construction folks or really, whatever job brings you out into the elements. But I feel that the “perils” of working outside during this time of year are most evident on the farm.

I saw farmers moving hay to the fields for their livestock. I saw them checking water supplies to make sure they weren’t frozen, so their animals could have plenty to drink.

I saw them working in their cold barns on equipment to ensure it still operated when the temperature dropped below freezing.

I saw them mending fences and performing other repair work, some of which comes with the non-growing season. 

And these are just some of the visible things you and I would see going on at the farm at this time of the year. What we don’t see are the hours of research and preparation these farm families are putting in as they prepare for spring planting, which will come around sooner than you think.

We don’t always see the ongoing educational endeavors they must undertake to stay current on new farming trends and technology; something that is generally done during the winter months.

If you spend a day on the farm during this season, you’ll soon realize there is as much, if not more work to be done even though they are not planting or tending to their crops.

Oh, I forgot one more thing I experienced while out on this snowy day. I saw smiles and heard laughter.  I saw wives and husbands working together and children following along throwing a snowball or two. I saw a togetherness that is indicative of farm families.

I know firsthand that farming is not for the faint of heart and that becomes even more true during the winter months. With that said, it was more important to me than ever before to say thank you to the folks I saw on that day.

I realized they don’t do this for the money or the glory or the recognition that is due them, I saw that these families love their land, their animals, their crops and each other in these rural places where they live and work.
Suddenly the aches and pains I sometimes feel in cold weather didn’t feel so bad and the occasional complaint about how cold it is, ceased for a while, as I traveled down those backroads.