My father was born in the wrong era. In the 1970s, he and my mother built a house in the country, far away from people and noise. Then came the horses. There were cows at one point too, but they wore out their welcome by running through the fence one too many times. Mowing the front pasture wasn’t an easy task – it was 20 acres. But dad would climb on the tractor and spend an entire Saturday cutting down the fescue. And if a fence needed to be examined in the back fields, dad would climb on a horse and ride off with tools in his pockets, just in case.
As long as I can remember, my father has loved the land. He secretly sees himself as a rancher and enjoys converting pastures into natural prairie grass to help the wildlife prosper. (There’s a hunting advantage for him as well, but we won’t talk about that part.)
When I went back to Kansas for a visit recently, dad wanted to show me yet another plot of land he purchased, directly next to his farm. We bump-bump-bumped around the fields in his pickup, and he showed me all of the tree clearing he had done to open up the fields for new crops. While I dread trying to manage a farm long-distance one day, seeing my father’s happiness and excitement about the land made the tour a little less worrisome. But I’ve got big shoes to fill.