From the Farm: Signals of summer’s end

The end of summer is just around the corner to my house. Things start happening that notify me that we are near the last hurrah of summer. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer, but the school year is way less hectic for our family.

The first sign of the impending school year is all my minions are starting to be less present in our house. Oh, they are always physically present during the summer. It’s the mentally present we struggle with some times. Talking to boys can be like teaching a dog a new trick teach only one step at a time, and they may be looking at you, but not they’re not really listening.

Joe will be packing his one bag of clothing, television and X-box and heading back to South Dakota State University for his sophomore year in the Dairy Production program.

I asked Joe how he was feeling about having only one short week before he left for school.

“Why?” he asked.

“I just wanted to talk to you tonight to see how you were feeling about going back to school,” I said.

I keep forgetting that the word “feeling” to a boy is a foreign language never learned. They really don’t like to talk about feelings. I could go on forever about how I am feeling to all the men in this house, but all I get are three males staring at me with glazed over looks.

I just keep talking.

Joe did answer my question. He said, “It’s just like going to any other school. Geez, Mom.”

Russell is again attending the State Fair with his cow Silkie and several other 4-H kids for five days in a row. I don’t really miss him, honest. That’s how I am feeling.

Russell does text messages to his father several times a day. He doesn’t text me. I think he’s afraid I will ask about his feelings.

The only feeling Russell shares is “I feel that you (meaning me) are a dork.”

It doesn’t hurt my feelings; I know I am a dork. I laugh.

In fact, while we (Steve and I) drove him and his friend Isaac Griebel to Sleepy Eye to load the cows into a larger trailer for the trip to the fair, my dorkiness escaped.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to jam to the song “Toes,” by the Zac Brown Band? That pillow guitar lying next to me was calling my name. Sure it was only 6:45 in the morning, but it’s such a good song.

I think Isaac was afraid to turn around and look at me. He stared straight ahead, but I could see he was smiling because he cheeks were uplifted.

“Your mom would do the same thing, wouldn’t she Isaac?” I asked. “I bet she would, but it would be some rock song by Ratt. I would sing to them too.”

Do you think I could shred a pillow guitar?

So, Russell is at the State Fair until Sunday; his senior year of high school starts Monday. I shall hardly see Russell. He does belly up to the feed bunk during the week. That’s about the extent of our chances to talk about feelings.

Garrett, our live-in laborer, is moving out to his Martin Luther College (MLC) dorm room this weekend. I won’t hear him coming and going. He’s been like a third son to me. I don’t see him much, but occasionally he would come to the mess hall and consume food.

Garrett has been a blast to have with us this summer.

I am going to miss his over-analyzing of all types of situations, which led to a whole lot of laughs. He has worked tremendously hard this summer. Usually putting in 12-hour days between three jobs – on the farm, Adams Nuts and Bolts and MLC – he held for the summer.

I won’t be totally free of Garrett this school year; he’s going to continue milking cows with us. Yay! I may get him to talk about feelings.

The last sign of an end to summer involves me. I realize that I only have three more days of my very own summer vacation. Starting Monday, I will be back in the barn each morning milking the cows. I am actually looking forward to spending time in the barn each morning with Steve.

We can talk about our feelings.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at

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