We bought the dairy in 2012 from David’s dad and Uncle Richard who had farmed here their entire lives. They grew up in what is now our house and raised their families working here side by side. I didn’t know either of them until they were nearing retirement, and I used to joke that I should film their antics for a YouTube series with a working title of “Fun on the Farm with Richard and Jerry”. My favorite such moment was a time that they were using a truck to pull-start a tractor (because sometimes tractors that don’t want to will start if they’re already moving). I don’t remember which was in the truck and which was on the tractor, but the one on the tractor was yelling something and the one in the truck had the windows up AND was on his phone. That was just par for the course.
Since Richard’s retirement, we hadn’t seen him as often, but he lived just down the road and would stop by occasionally to visit his brother, borrow something, or lend a hand. Our oldest son Dominic would talk about his house/farm/crops/cows every time we drove by (he’s the kid who talks nonstop about anything and everything).
Unfortunately, Uncle Richard had been battling cancer, and his fight is over. Today we said our final goodbyes. Richard was a fixture in our community and will be missed by many. I know that his years of hard work have made an impact on our farm that will never be forgotten.
Last week when the news regarding his health was daunting, we were able to spend an hour or so at his home with David’s parents and siblings. David and I were the first inside (just by chance), and when they woke Richard the first words he said to David were: “How’s the milking going?”
Farming is something that truly lives inside you. I believe it’s impossible to explain the depth of farmers’ passion for their work to someone who has not lived it. Honestly, I’ve tried, but it’s beyond words. The powerful hold that land and animals have over their caretakers is seen in moments like those simple words spoken between two men who share that passion. After his retirement Richard had continued farming with his sons, and even in his final days, his mind was still on the farm.
This blog tells the story of our farm and family, and we would be remiss to omit this chapter. We pray for the repose of Richard’s soul, and that his wife, sons and grandchildren find comfort in their faith and memories, until we meet again.