The sun sets on another year

By Stephanie Strothmann

Each week an article comes out, prior to the printing, I debate with myself over and over again about what subject would be most exciting, most entertaining, the funniest thing that’s happened or what bit of agricultural knowledge can I pass along.

Sometimes, those ideas come to me well in advance of the deadline for print, and others, well, let’s just say that I’m sure the editorial department of The Tribune is about to give me a few lashes with a highlighter because they have to find a spot nestled in between local and national news for my bimonthly ramblings.

Since this article will either come out before the New Year or right after, I debated writing about new beginnings, lessons learned from the past year, remembrances of things either lost or gained. Although these are all great topics for a new year, it seems that these subjects are all well overused. If you’ve learned a bit about me through the past few years of writing, you know that I’m not always one to do the things that “everyone else is doing.”

Perhaps I bend the norm of the typical farmer, and perhaps that’s because I started this journey way later in life than a lot of folks in farming do. I think back to past relatives who lived before me, tending to chickens in the bitter cold without the luxury of clothing that has been designed to be warm without the bulk. Frost-free faucets which shrug off the negative temperatures and flow or heating pans that prevent the necessary changing of animals’ water several times a day when it is minus zero.

You might remember a photo that I shared a year or so ago of my great-grandfather with my grandmother on a horse that is displayed so prominently in my living room where I can see it each day, and so often, I stare at that photo and try to imagine what it was like for them 90 or so years ago. I am certain that they grumbled about having to go out in the snow to tend to animals, but it was what they had to do to ensure that all survived.

I will admit the chore isn’t the most pleasant thing, but the feeling of victory when you see those animals run from being cooped up onto fresh ground after the snow melts is amazing. If you ever want to watch some “feel good” videos on YouTube, type in “cows being let out after winter.” The bovines kick up their heels and canter out into a pasture before settling down to graze the new spring shoots of grass.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to doing just that in a few months. Well, maybe not grazing the grass but for sure enjoying the landscape change from brown to lush green.

There will be time for reflection on this past year soon enough, but for this writing, I want to just wish each of you a very happy new year and a year filled with hope and excitement.

Until next time …

Stephanie Strothmann is owner of Purple Shamrock Farm LLC in rural Seymour. Send comments to [email protected]