Most of you probably don’t know that I (Coley) have an alter ego and she is as country as they come. Imagine a good southern girl, bare foot and a bit of a tom boy with no filter. Now that I think of it, she’s just an over exaggeration of me, except I have a filter. Her name is Ineeda Grace Percible. She shows up at church on occasion to share something that’s going on in her life or perhaps to verbally reflect and think through a situation. Whatever it is, it always starts off with this introduction, “Hi! My name is Ineeda Grace Percible. I’m Napoleon and Dewsey Humphries grand daughter. Burt and Bee’s eldest. We live just down the road at that farm with them wooden cows out front. My momma says I’m bonafide. Anyway, did I ever tell you about…..” At that point she launches into a story, which is really just a parable for the lesson/sermon that will follow.
So why do I tell you all of this? Because she/I once did a story on “The Blessings of Work”. Of course it was based on dairy farming since that’s the work we do or more accurately, the life we know. Dairy farming is hard ya’ll. It’s hard physically, emotionally, mentally and financially. It is copious amounts of hard labor using mostly old broken down equipment in weather and conditions we have no control over. And the pay is awful, just awful.
And yet, dairy farming is one of my life’s greatest blessings. It gave me an unwavering work ethic, taught me to value a dollar, instilled empathy for others (human and animal), made me stronger than I thought possible, developed creative thinking, made me realize the value of silence to allow your mind time to wander, and that even though hard work does not always end in reward that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do the work.
But the rewards that we do get are priceless. The biggest blessing and reward is that we are close as a family. Grandma always keeps a homemade snack in the backroom and an open door for us to come help ourselves. We work together, eat together, raise our kids together, go to church together, and then still want to hang out together at the end of the day. I don’t know of too many other families that spend that much time together or even want to! For my brother, sister-in-law and I the farm is where we want to raise our kids so that we can pass down our knowledge of how to care for the land and the cows and hope that they too reap the blessings of farm work. Then one day, they can decide for themselves to continue the family tradition or take the skills they learned on the farm out into the world.
Personally, the farm has given me a purpose in life and a strong sense of place in this crazy world. I know who I am and where I came from and I wouldn’t change either. I know without doubt that there is a God because I see Him at work everyday in so many ways. God gives me hope for the future and faith during the rough patches (which are many) that all will be well.
God has blessed our family richly through farm work and we believe that we should pass those blessings unto others. When looking at our community, milk is one of the most requested items by food bank clients, yet there is a shortage because milk is rarely donated. That’s why as part of our Honest to Goodness Dairy promise we will donate 1 gallon of milk to a local food bank or family in need for every 10 gallons of milk purchased.So raise a glass of milk with us and let’s all do some good. Cheers! Or as Ineeda Grace would say, “SueWee!”