Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Eighth Day of Christmas: Farm Life

Most of my online friends know I work in the agriculture business. If you don’t, well, now you do. Over the last three months, following a fairly extensive reorganization, I’ve found myself doing some new things and some old things in different ways.

And one of those is that I’m doing a lot more writing at work, and that’s a good thing for me. I’ve become one of the four corporate bloggers, and I’ve been able to spend a lot less time “administrating” and a lot more time talking with employees, customers and other people in the agriculture business. I now lead a team responsible for online strategy and the corporate web site. And I love working in this business.

In recent months, I’ve been following blog posts by people in farm families – men, women and even some older children. Ann Voskamp, for example, lives in Ontario with her farmer-husband and children, and she writes an incredible blog of text and photos called Holy Experience. Maureen Doallas did a post on her the other day that I couldn’t hope to improve upon; you should read it and find out more about her.

And then there’s Jennifer Dukes Lee, who has a blog called Getting Down with Jesus. She writes about her family and she writes about farm life, and she writes well – no surprise that in her spare time she teaches college journalism. The Lees live in northwest Iowa, and while I took some liberties and made it a bit more general, they were indeed the inspiration for two of my favorite posts since I’ve been doing this blog – “A Farmer in Northwest Iowa” and “Harvest Thanks,” a poem I posted on Thanksgiving.

This year has been hard for farmers – a wet spring that delayed planting; a wet fall that delayed harvest to the point where there is still unharvested corn standing in a lot of fields. In early November, Jennifer wrote about the late harvest, with photos illustrating the story – her husband on the combine in the fields at night. At Thanksgiving, there was still corn in the fields, and she described the encouragement of a letter from 1912. And she did a post about the worry of a late harvest and the faith that sustains a family that is simply a beautiful thing to read. And when I asked her via email if they had been able to complete the harvest before winter weather hit, she said yes, they did. In fact, her husband was closing the doors on the combine just as new snow started.

So I can read articles in farm publications and reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and my own companies news releases, and learn a lot of facts, data and important news. And then I can read Jennifer’s blog and learn a lot of the reality of farm life, and faith, and family. You should, too. You'll be the richer for it.

(Over at the High Calling Blogs, we’re celebrating the 12 days of Christmas by highlighting a blog or web site of someone besides ourselves during this season of Advent and Christmas.) (Which is what we should also be doing the other 353 days of the year.)


Maureen said...

I would be remiss if I failed to offer my congratulations on your new title. I'm so pleased that you can do as much writing now as you like. So, congratulations!

You are so generous with your praise! Thank you for the shout-out. I love Ann's site and I've sent others there. All are impressed.

I also enjoy visiting Jennifer's site and intend to poke around there more.

You do something wonderful when you write about the agricultural community. The portraits you draw with your words show us faces we normally would never see, inform us of the hardships that attend a life of farming that every days brings us the gifts of food, gifts we too often take for granted. Your "Harvest Thanks" remains a beautiful gift in return to those who struggle to provide. . . for us.

L.L. Barkat said...

Loved this. Straight, simple, sweet look at some of my favorite people. :)

Anonymous said...

good perspective.

Jennifer @ said...

Glynn! You are generous to include my name. Thank you for this sweet gift. It has been a joy getting to know you through blogging, and I appreciate your well-rounded perspective on many things -- from agriculture to journalism to the High Calling of our work.

You're a blessing.