My siblings and I learned to love farming at an early age. From riding on the tractor with our Dad to exploring the wooded areas and streams running through our farmland. Our world was full of bare feet, scraped knees, and coming home soaked to the bone (much to our mother’s dismay) because we were drawn to any type of water like magnets. In my opinion, a childhood like that is hard to beat. However, anyone who knows me even a little bit is already privilege to that information. I thought we could let my dad do a little bit of the talking, starting with what it was like to raise a “Farm Family”.
What was it like raising a family on a farm?
“It was awesome, because I was always home! When we (John and Rich) were younger we did all our own milking, so I would get up early and go out to the barn. By 8:00 we had been up for 4 hours working, so I’d coming in about then for breakfast. My family would just be getting rolling, so lots of times I would just make breakfast for everybody and kind of get everyone together. We would have breakfast together and I could go back out to work before coming in for lunch. Later in the afternoon I would work until after the evening milking (about 7:00), and then we could have supper together. It was a busy life, but it was pretty structured, and we were able to be around all the time. A lot of the time after breakfast in the morning, I’d take at least one or two of the kids with me. We would ride in the pickup or they could just hang around with me. We did a lot of that, and it was nice to be able to give mom a break with four little kids.”
“One of the beautiful things about growing up on a farm is being able to go out and play in the barn, build hay forts, jump off things, and just be able to run around. Then seeing my kids enjoy the same things. The same little creeks that I thought were so big and wonderful to explore. When I got older they were not nearly as big, but then they were to my kids. They were the same mystery to each generation, to each little kid, to explore. It was all brand new, all over again! I would hear the kids talk about certain spots on the creek that were really cool and I remember when we discovered those spots as kids.”
-Rich Appel, 2015
As soon as Dad mentioned us finding cool spots along the creek, I smiled. I knew exactly the spots he was referring too. Even though plants grow and the creek beds have shifted, that massive tree (you could have a picnic up there) is still there.
An extra mucky part of the creek bed (now home to several lost boots) is probably still there…though I’m not going to risk making sure! While exploring will always be a treasured memory, if we’re being honest, being able to hang out with our parents regularly was vital in shaping who we are as individual adults. Our family is no where near perfect, but our roots run deep. For some reason, we always come back to the farm and the farmers who make it home. Plus, the “family discount” on our cheese is hard to beat.