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Category: General / Topics: Personal Stories (Biography/Autobiography) Change Lifestyle, General Memories

Farmer Dan

by Dan Seagren

Posted: June 11, 2017

There is something special about farming…take it from a city slicker…

I've said it before but is worth saying again. I was a city slicker by birth in Chicago and then in Grand Rapids, MI until I was 17. My mother passed away when I was almost four and my father's sister, Edna, came for the funeral and lived with us for four years.

She was lonesome for the farm where she grew and escorted Mim (my sister one year my junior) and I to the ol' homestead in Minnesota. I spent several summers there but was more of a nuisance early on as well as a burden but after awhile I pitched in and milked cows, slopped the pigs (fed), picked eggs from pecking chickens, hand milked cows, hauled hay from the fields to the barn and watched the sling pull the hay up, up, up and then dumped the load.

When I was allowed to mow hay, the younger horse jumped ahead of ol' Barney, cutting a nasty slice in his rear leg. Rather than than bawl me out, my uncle allowed me to help Barney heal. Three times a day I squirted a solution into the injury and it healed well. Meanwhile, I'd go to the stall, climb up to the feeding trough and gave him food he really enjoyed. We bonded together that summer and I was overjoyed when he went back to work. In my later years I was allowed to drive the tractor cultivating corn fields and other sundry jobs. I earned my room and board then.

Today I saw in the news where farmers with smaller farms have some tough questions today concerning retiring. Farmers moving into urban life and mega (huge) farms complicate the question. My birth mother grew up on a small farm in Sweden. With some 17 children in the family, the farm was not big enough to support the growing family (and I wondered how the old farmhouse could have handled so many). The farms were divided to accommodate only a few of the grown children causing many to emigrate elsewhere in Sweden and to mainland Europe and the U.S including my mother and some of her siblings.

Having experienced the joys and agonies of farming (I watched as our farmhouse burned to the ground), I felt enriched, not at the time but later. Nowadays this experience is quite unlikely or impossible which is unfortunate for youngsters of today. There is something special about farming, even today with its air conditioned equipment, power steering and amazing automation. Quite unlike old times but still advantageous for young city slickers.


Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.

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Posted: June 11, 2017   Accessed 219 times

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