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Marytina Lawrence

Farmers embrace difficulty and brave the cold

Sometimes living in Minnesota is hard. I am a California girl that left the sunshine and warmth behind for true love. Love for a man, love for a lifestyle and love for a future undefined. Truth is, I would not trade the life I have lived for anything. But this last week, life became hard and unforgiving and it reminded me just how tough things can be.

On Wednesday, Jan. 30, Minnesota broke a few records. In fact, that day we registered at -35 degrees without wind chill. It is reported that it was colder than Antarctica, Mt. Everest and Siberia. Never in a million years would I have believed I could live in a place that is known for breaking such a record. And yet one week later we are still here, it is still cold (not that cold) and I am ready for spring.

This column is for all the farmers out there including mine, who braved that cold to care for the animals we are responsible for. Winter is always the most labor intensive time of the year on a cattle farm. Taking care of everyone is a full time job. My husband will spend an average of 4 to 6 hours per day just feeding and caring for cattle. He does it without complaint or hesitation and he is always working to make sure that everyone is comfortable and warm before he is.

This past week I was reminded of why I love him so much and how dedicated he truly is to his profession and his chosen way of life. And that is most important, for him this life of caring for cattle is a choice he has made.

He loves what he is doing, even the tough stuff. I was fortunate in that I was not out in it as much as he and my boys. But in watching them trudge outside with every piece of skin covered, I made preparation for their return with warm meals, dry clothes and the comfort of home, knowing that it would be needed. With the exception of a brief statement to the cold temperature I did not hear one complaint all week and it makes me appreciate him and what he is teaching our children.

But here is the truth. The cold was brutal, the worst I have ever experienced in living here. Our cars would not start, the ice was unbearable, and the heat even went out for a brief time. Despite all of that, we stuck together as a family, worked together to support each other and the burden of being in the cold and the thought of not doing what was needed never crossed anyone's mind. And then there was a 55 degree shift in temperature. All are healthy, strong and looking for spring.

I spend a lot of time talking about how much we love what we are doing in agriculture. I mean what I say and times like this past week test out resolve and define how we really feel about what we do.

In life there are hard times for all. After this past week I encourage you to embrace the difficulty. It is temporary and can bring great reward.