On the 8th day God made my mom and dad

We had a nice little Super Bowl party Sunday night – just us, my brother Tracy and one of my best friends Liz. Of course we had enough food for ten people but let’s just stay on topic.

Ahem.

The game was pretty fun because Pat and Liz were cheering for the Ravens, Tracy was cheering for the 49er’s and I was cheering for the 49er’s but didn’t really care who won.  Along with the rest of the world we were disappointed with the commercials, but personally I thought there were some pretty good ones too, especially compared to years’ past. By far my favorite commercial was the Dodge commercial using Paul Harvey’s poem. If you didn’t see it, here it is:

So amazingly beautiful. And for me it was especially beautiful because in every picture, with tears in my eyes, I saw Mom and Dad. I saw their hard work and determination and broken hearts and longing for a life that was just beyond their reach.  We actually grew up on not just one farm, but I think four or five. I wish I had more pictures but I could only find a few.

This was our family’s first farm:

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It’s on “the Mellette corner” near Aberdeen and Mom and Dad moved there after Danelle was born and we lived there for a few years. We were able to drive past it when we brought Danelle home from Pierre and obviously it’s been all torn down now but we have so many memories…

Here’s Danelle out riding her tryke.

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I think the thing we all remember most from that farm was our psycho rooster who used to chase us and try to kill us. It’s the reason I started decorating my kitchen with rooster decor after mom and dad died. That seems a little (or alot) weird but oh well.

Back to memories… Butchering chickens. We have the best picture of me and Danelle holding bloody head-less chickens and loving it. I think we were probably three and six.

Our big tire swing behind the house. Going on walks through the field, down to the slew, covering ourselves in mud, standing in the highway (That’s right a highway! A very busy highway!) trying to get semi-drivers to honk at us. It’s where Nellie taught us our first swear word. If the truckers didn’t honk we would shake our fists at them at say, “You jackass!”

Hahahaha! I’m pretty sure we got soap in our mouth after mom and dad heard what we were saying.

That’s also the farm where one of our bottle lambs followed us on to the bus. The song Mary Had A Little Lamb has special meaning to us!

After Mellette we  moved to Colorado for a year and then back to the Mellette area but to a different farm. This farm was along the river and I remember lots of walks down to go fishing. We saw our first tornado while living on this far. And it was where Jim got badly burned.

We moved back to Colorado for another year and then to Britton, SD where Dad worked on a cattle ranch. There were 12 bright pink houses for all the families. Living in Britton was one of the best times…

We would go out with Dad on trail rides to round up the cattle. We had a sheep dog named Rex and Dad absolutely loved him. He was shot by a neighbor though who said Rex was chasing his cattle (whatever). I remember Dad being so devastated over losing Rex.

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We would go to a dairy farm nearby and take the cream off the top in the big vats and drink it right there! All the families would have Rocky Mountain Oyster parties. We had a pet deer for awhile. I had my first pet of my own, a rabbit named Thumper. Unfortunately I didn’t have him long as he got an infection and died.  Of course I can never forget Britton because it was on one of those farms, on top of a big hay stack pile, where I had my first kiss! Hee hee.

Anyway, Mom and Dad’s dream was to have their own farm, specifically a sheep farm. When I was in 4th grade we moved to Redfield. We lived on two different farms there before Mom and Dad had to sell the sheep and we moved in to town.  But those four years on the farm were pretty great – at least as far as I can remember. We had 500 head of sheep so during lambing season that was a lot! And it was a lot of work. Mom worked full time in Redfield and Dad dry walled in addition to the farm so us kids helped a lot.

I remember like yesterday the very early morning my dad came and pulled me out of bed telling me I had to help. We ran out to the barn and there’s a ewe trying to deliver her baby but it’s stuck. Dad’s arm was too big and so he asks tells me I’m going to stick my arm up her and help pull the lamb out. Fun times on the farm! But seriously it was fun because I still wanted to be a vet and I thought this was the coolest thing ever.

There’s also the memories of all of us helping castrate  That’s right. One of the best memories ever. Two of us kids would catch the lambs and the other would help, well, help with the other part. And shearing sheep. Oh my word, that was so awesome. Dad would let us climb up into the huge bags of wool and stomp it down so it could get as full as possible.

We had two horses and I’ll never forget them because the black one is the reason I had to have back surgery when I was a sophomore in high school, thus having back problems to this day.

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{Me and Dad.}

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{Jim, Tracy and Dad}

Danelle had a class party out on the farm one year. It was pretty awesome because during the party – which was out in one of the barns I think – Dad was feeding the sheep and accidentally ran over one of them (sheep not the kids). All the guys thought it was the coolest thing ever.

Ha! I remember playing in the hay stacks – that couldn’t have been safe! Going on adventures out in the tree claim. Helping fix fence. During the winter Dad would pull us on the tabogon through the fields. Bottle lambs in the tub in the house. Helping bale hay. Fixing more fence. Baby chicks. Dad had such bad hay fever but we planted hay to feed the sheep. I remember him coming in the house during harvest time and his face was all swollen and he couldn’t breath.

Of course when you talk about farming, you have to talk about the hard times too. The good memories certainly overshadow the bad but there were hard times. When we first moved to Redfield Mom, Dad and Danelle had went to town for something. It was a super hot day and the boys and I had done some chores and then I think the boys were out playing. They came running in the house saying there’s a fire. Our entire supply of hay for the winter burned. The firemen originally blamed it on the boys playing with matches, which I knew wasn’t what they were doing. Turns out there was a piece of metal out by the hay and the reflection of the sun started a fire. It was devastating for Mom and Dad, losing all that hay, and we ended up having to move to a different farm after that.

Living on the farm, especially when we had 500 head of sheep was certainly stressful on Mom and Dad’s marriage. They both worked full time plus all the work on the farm, plus raising four kids. I remember alot of good times as family, but I also remember alot of times without them. Danelle was “mom” to us alot of the time and even though living on the farm was good, us kids were pretty happy when we moved to town.

It was so cool to see Mom and Dad with Buck and Gracie these past few years. Mom and I always tried to convince Dad to open up a petting zoo with farm animals. Last Fall Dad was able to go on a cattle round up and Mom told us that he was so excited and so happy that he got to do that.  I could seriously go on and on and on about memories we had growing up on the farm.  They didn’t necessarily “farm” their entire life, but Mom and Dad had the heart of farmers.  And I think it’s safe to say that we are all very thankful for the memories made on the farm.

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