My home community of Fort Martin was made of 100 people, with one church and one community building. Farms lined both sides of the three mile stretch that cut a swath through the grassy community.
Summers were made of long days in the hay field and mending fence when the hay was cut and drying, while evenings were a mix of 4-H meetings, bible school, and family visits…with an occasional FFA camp tossed in for balance.
While summers were enjoyable it was the cold winter evenings which created some of my best memories. Being part of a large family of six children, seldom did you get to spend alone time with your parents. Feeding cattle presented that opportunity to spend time with my dad. My brother Brian and I would take turns each evening working with my father to feed the 200 head of black angus cattle. Often the tractor never started in near zero temperatures, which made for a lot of walking back and forth to the barn to carry hay out. It also made for a great deal of warm conversations.
My father having taught Ag Sciences in the same high school since leaving college, meant he had a lot wisdom and knowledge to impart. I benefited greatly from those conversations, I dare say Dad was probably the best Ag instructor a teenager could have.
Flash forward many years, and it has taken some getting used to the role of urban farming. Aside from field corn we didn’t have a garden every year growing up. Our focus was always on beef and swine production, and the feed they would need. Today my own home is home to one high-tunnel with plans for expansion next year. Land has been cleared this year for a planned apple orchard, where honey bees will find a home. And to help me achieve my animal husbandry goals chickens will be coming home to roost in the very near future. Like any size Ag operation it has taken time to reach yearly goals, but considering this is just our fourth year in this location I would say we’re ahead of schedule in many ways.