It is really hard to describe what it is like to live and work on a family farm. It was not something I was familiar with prior to marrying my husband and something that has required varied levels of adjustment and patience over the 23 years I have been a Lawrence. My husband works every day with his mom, dad and brother. He is the third generation on his family farm and our children are the fourth.
In Minnesota during the winter, the ground actually freezes. This girl from California was quite surprised at this when I first moved to the farm with my husband. I remember having an epiphany about the snow and the reason that it stays all winter is because the ground underneath is actually frozen.
During the past full week in the Lawrence household, I had the opportunity to witness something exceptional in my second son when my husband and first son were away. I have a daughter, Montana, who is 19 and in college; a son Wyatt who is an 18-year-old senior in high school; a son Wade who is a 17-year-old junior in high school; and then there is my beautiful bonus son, Wynn, who is 10.
Every late winter/early spring it seems there are medical issues that pop up. When the ground begins to thaw and freeze and thaw and freeze again, it can be tough on the cattle, and we have our eyes open for any and all potential health issues.
This is a busy time around the Lawrence Farm. First and foremost, in January and February it is cold in Minnesota. Because of the cold, caring for animals is labor intensive and time consuming. Many hours are spent out of every 24-hour period feeding, doctoring and checking for new arrivals. When other aspects of life begin to enter in, the level of stress does rise exponentially, and sometimes despite the cold, it can get pretty heated around the table with all there is to accomplish.
Living in Minnesota means that for a few months out of the year, the ground is actually frozen. The lakes are frozen 2 to 3 feet deep — so frozen you can drive on them. People put houses on them for the season so they can fish! It is a cultural phenomenon that still fascinates me to this day. You see, I am a California girl — born and raised. I became an official Minnesotan 22 years ago when I married my farmer. Many things about the climate in Minnesota have generated fascination for me over the years.
Today was a day that started in one of the best ways for my farmer husband and I. Our third child was honored this morning as a student of the month in his high school. While celebrating his accomplishment, something dawned on me that I want to share.
In farming, many of us think a great deal about the history of our profession and the potential for leaving a family legacy that can be passed down from generation to generation. It is one of those things that "matters most" to a farmer. The idea that a son or daughter would take on that which someone else has built with the goal of continuing to improve it, care for it and make it their own is something not seen much in the world of today. But in farming, one could say legacy is everything.
It's such a beautiful time of year that we are entering and it's truthfully my most favorite. Thanksgiving is the beginning of a season in time that I cherish every year. Enormous amounts of food and family make for time of celebration and expressions of love in a way that only comes but once a year.
It has been a rather adventurous fall for me here on the farm. I have had a combination of various tasks to accomplish every week and for me that is a usual occurrence. As our cattle business has grown and progressed, my sons have become more and more involved in the daily workings of the farm. As a result, my husband has the confidence to spend more time at the sod farm. Somewhere in between, as this transformation has taken place, gradually, I might add, I have taken on more responsibility.