• John Hogeland

Mom on the Farm

Some days, you just can't get ahead. Take the day before yesterday. The guy building the new steps for our basement needed a loader full of gravel, so I got up early to get the tractor to bring it to him. On the way to the house with the tractor, dad was waiting for me on another tractor (recently rebuilt), waving for me to stop.


Beth in the field, by Enid Hoffman

"The hydraulic pump just went out," he said, all matter of fact like. "I can't steer or use the breaks. I need you to help me get the brush cutter off this thing so that the mechanic can come pick it up."


See, the thing about it is, this is my dad, so I needed to help him. But I also needed to get gravel for the basement stairs. And I needed to move the cattle. And more fence needed to be built. The waterers need to be moved. You get the point. Everything takes time.


So I worked a little faster, a little longer, made Snookes wait for her lunch. I got things "done." Luckily, the cows weren't completely out of grass and my dad, instead of insisting that I help him that moment, decided we could work on the brush cutter later. The stairs guy showed up a little late anyway and Snookes forgave me after waiting extra long for her lunch.


So sometimes it is hard to get around to writing a blog post. Both Beth and I are committed to getting a post out each week, but this week, I have an out. We have a guest blogger in the form of Enid, Beth's mother, who is visiting from Florida.


She is, as she has told us repeatedly, a numbers person, not a words person. But I think that you all will enjoy a different perspective, one from someone who has never been on a farm.


Kitten, by Enid Hoffman

While you are enjoying her short post and excellent photos, you can imagine me wrestling the brush cutter off our newly broken tractor and preparing for next weeks blog where, I will produce an excellent piece of fluff to enjoy against all of Beth's hard hitting journalism.


So without further adieu, here she is - all the way from Boca Raton, Florida - Eeeeniiid Hofffmannn!!!



Hi Everybody! This is Enid.


Here are some things I have learned about Iowa so far -


First, farms are big, as in 'as far as the eye can see' big, at least with Whippoorwill Creek Farm.


Next, cows:  They are a lot larger and more menacing up close than I thought, but their calves are still cute. 


Fact: the yearling calves do not stay with their moms. When the mom is ready to give birth to a sibling, the yearlings are weaned and moved to a separate herd. This is because both the calf and yearling will want the mother’s milk and the mom only has milk for the calf.



It is hard to imagine how much work goes into putting up temporary fences so that the cows do not get out. As you can see in the picture, Beth is hard at it.

Beth puts in temporary fencing


In Iowa, a farm does not need crops to be called a farm.  A farm with cows is also not a necessarily a ranch but is usually called a farm.



Hay sells for more than you'd think.  A good mix of hay can sell for up to $120 a bale, and hay bales that are stored inside a building are worth more than the ones that are stored outside in the weather.






Among my discoveries, I was very proud to find out that my Northeastern Jewish daughter, Beth, can drive a tractor, and a big one at that.














There is good feeling when it is a beautiful day and you are able to be outdoors enjoying what nature gives us.







And last, even in a pandemic, love can be found in Iowa.


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