Dirt Under the Finger Nails Is In – A Farmer’s Daughter Tells All…

Dirt Under the Finger Nails Is In – A Farmer’s Daughter Tells All…

By Lauren Schwab

With dirt under my fingernails, mani-pedi sounds like a foreign language to a farmer’s daughter. Hog slobber is my moisturizer and dust is my veil. Feed bits fill the air as they splatter out of the momma pig’s mouth. She is welcome for her food. Good morning sunshine, I say to her little one stretching out long for a belly rub. I see you are bigger today than yesterday.

Yesterday is another day behind. Another day gotten through and today will soon be as well. Hurry, hurry as fast as you can, the clock might catch you if it can. Dad never sits, nor will I. We have too much to do, dawn to dusk, morning dew to night too. I never notice the morning dew, no time to stop. Hollers from the barn are my alarm clock.

I find myself with envy of an elder’s life lived. Times of simplicity stories told. With time brings complication that is my belief. I want desperately to have lived through the nineteen hundreds and see its history take place. I should trust the timing of my life, a farm girl in the 21st century. I will have a story to tell. When I am old, a girl might be feeling the same. I write this for her, know you’re not alone in how you feel. The timing of your life is real. So don’t wish it be gone, know and trust God got it right. Now is your time to shine bright.

Back to the barn, I sing soft sweet melodies, praise thee Lord Jesus to please. Farming is hard you see. Stress and discomfort is a daily routine. At any moment, the mood can change. A broken piece can steal our peace in everything. Help us Lord Jesus when the pig doesn’t feel good. Remind us of your grace as we race to help her embrace her piglets that need her to grow, as they should.

You don’t know what it’s like, you’ll never know! Farm life is not your life; you don’t know our sacrifice! Living beings depend on me everyday. No breaks, no vacation, we are here to stay. Respect what I am telling you and all I want, is you to thank the farmer as much as you thank the cook.

You question what we do and how these animals are raised. Have you seen me sleep on their bellies on hot summer days? Have you seen me give them kisses on their birthday morn and say God loves you to the newborns? Have you seen me wake up in the middle of the night, to be by their side when I hear a little cry? Have you seen me watch over them day in and day out and make sure they get enough milk into their little mouths? Have you seen me give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a piglet in need?

Have you seen me in below zero shoveling a path to the barn in snow up to my knees or spraying water on the hogs for hours in 100 degrees? Have you seen me shoveling manure to keep their pens clean? Have you seen me pray over each pig’s life? Have you seen me at all, no you haven’t at all, that’s right.

Don’t question what I do and assume. There is a labor of love for the food on your plate. It is a gift to you from our farm gate. Take it with respect or don’t take it at all. A farmer’s daughter has a heart that bears all for those who wish to receive it. Picture me when you eat it. The dirt under my fingernails has a story to tell. Read it again if you will.

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