Labor and Days

Thank a farmer

Today is September 1st, which makes this a very important day. First it is the ‘unofficial’ start of fall. It’s going to be a beautiful day and already the sun is shining on freshly rained-on grass making everything sparkle. Some of the trees have started to change color, the apple orchards are advertising their early apples, peaches are at their peak and apple cider donuts are for sale. (Funny how I always equate seasons with food. Hmmm.)

Today is also Labor Day, so happy Labor Day to all you hard working folks including those who work inside the home as well as out. I know everyone needs a break now and then and I also know there will be many people working today.

And this brings me to the other important thing that is happening…The Hopkinton State Fair. The fair is a tradition in our family and we use to bring the kids every year from the moment they could walk. For the most part we had fun, though I still remember the times of having deal with a screaming child because they wanted to go on “just one more ride.”

Still, the fair is nostalgic for me and I enjoy it, so this year my boyfriend and I went together…without any children! This was the first year I was able to see the horse pulling, which I enjoyed and we spent over four hours talking to farmers about their animals and why they do what they do.

It was great. We spoke to one person who raises four beef cattle and two horses. His kids bring the cattle to the fair and show them. “I feel it give the kids a sense of responsibility.” Said their father. “We do it for fun.” Can you imagine having a cool dad like that?

We watched as a group of teenagers showed their dairy goats. They had to show them before they were milked then had to go and milk the goats and then go back to show them again. They all did wonderful and a particularly pretty black goat took home the blue ribbon.

In the oxen barn, a young boy of about eight or nine walked into the pen with one of the big oxen, pushed his horns out of the way can proceeded to hug and hang on the big cows neck. The oxen stood quietly and let the boy climb. My boyfriend and I quizzed the young man on the names of his cows, their age and how he likes them. Clearly he had no fear of these huge animals and was very proud to answer our questions.

Farmers never get a day off. Even on Labor Day animals need to be fed, they need clean water and they need to have clean homes. In fact, not only do farmers not get Labor Day off, they don’t get ANY days off. There is always something that needs to be done on a farm.

Farmers grow crops for our food, raise animals for meat and dairy and learn how to live off the land. It’s a hard job, but most would tell you it is a labor of love.

So remember, today is a special day. Enjoy it. And when you are cooking up those juicy steaks, buttering up that corn-on-the-cobb and having that apple pie for dessert, remember to thank a farmer, who, on this day, is still hard at work.

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