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I was raised in town and not on a farm. However, in 1969 I moved to a small farming town in Iowa called Bayard. It’s about 65 miles northeast of Des Moines, IA. And that’s where I began to learn a little about farming and harder work than I was used to!

I had some grain and hog farmers in my church who offered to let me find out what it was all about. For several summers I helped them make hay. It was itchy, gritty, dirty clover hay. And those old square bales were quite heavy. Those farmers baled them somewhat green so they were heavy. I’ve forgotten how heavy (something like 80 lbs.) but they took about all the strength I could muster to throw them on those wagons in the field. Walking in the fields and throwing those bales of hay onto the wagon was harder than riding on the wagon and stacking them. But both jobs were hard for me and I got an education in the hay field.

I remember the dirt, the sweat, and the aching arms and aching back from working in the hay field all day long. We would be so dirty that we had to wash off outside in the horse trough before we go could inside and get a shower. I didn’t know what dirty was until I worked in the hay field! And I didn’t know what hard work was either! And I gained a great deal of respect for hard-working farmers!

(From a sermon by Steve Shepherd, Life is Like..., 5/9/2011)

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