My earliest memories of Pake include him teaching me how to perfectly peel an orange, the new pink (!) barn boots he would bring me when mine where about to give way, and the way he would sing, all day everyday. My Grandfather loved to farm, it was his lifelong dream and he achieved it!
As Dutch immigrants, my dad’s parents often had challenges to deal with, but you would never know from the way they would talk about their lives. The first thing they would tell you is how absolutely blessed they have been, and nothing happens without the will of God. Now I want you to imagine this. Walking out to the milking parlor as the early morning light washes over Mt. Baker. Pausing as you hear a baritone voice joyfully singing hymns to the Lord. This was not someone singing to themselves quietly, but a clear, booming voice you could hear from across the yard! Seriously! My Aunt Ruth will tell you she used to open her windows in the morning so she could listen! Can you tell this is someone who loves his life and his Lord with all his heart? To this day, Pake is remembered for his gentle, but strong, personality, ready smile, and his beautiful voice. However, if you ask someone who knew him, they will tell you about his incredible faith and the impact his wisdom had in their lives. A real legacy.
I’ve always been a “daddy’s little girl”, but as I grew older, married, and moved out, I’ve started to recognize the similarities between my Dad and Uncle and their father. They love to farm! These brothers will happily talk about cows, land, and future projects for hours. They would love nothing better than to sit on a tractor all day. They both have beautiful voices and sing as often as they breathe! But more importantly is how seriously they take their relationships with the Lord. These are a couple farming brothers who are daily living examples of grace, humility, and honesty to those around them. To me, they have become invaluable sources of wisdom as I contemplate the future and the choices it holds.
These are the foundations we have built our farm, cheese plant, and now the store around. A legacy set in place before my generation was even born. We are truly stewards of everything God has given us! Everything from our families, to the land, and the cows, are blessings and we are going to take the best possible care of them we can. It’s our responsibility!