With Thanksgiving behind us I have noticed my friends and family posting updates on Face Book about the things they are most thankful for. I saw one that said, “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything they just make the best of everything”. I just love that saying and it made me think about the life we have here on the farm. I was contemplating that while looking at one of my favorite photos of my father with my daughter, Sophia, holding a newborn piglet. I cherish the memory of that day, Sophia’s look of delight as she holds that baby pig in her arms while my dad looks on with his encouraging smile. This picture shows the joy we find in everyday moments. Instead of seeking out special moments we often find it right here in our own backyard
I’m thankful to have this vast countryside to call home. I grew up here on this farm, and sometimes things were tough. We grew up without air conditioning, a furnace or even a dishwasher. In the winter my sister, Anne, and I wore mittens, bulky wool socks, and a hat along with sweaters to keep warm in bed at night, but we always made the best of it. Like when we got to play with our cousins. We had the most fun with our cousins, Shane and Chris. Together we made up games like Leepo People, where we would run and make a flying leap into a snow drift on the edge of the driveway like super heros as we yelled, “Leepo People” as loud as we could. We caught crawdads in the crick near our farm and floated down that same crick in inner tubes on hot summer days.
After college I moved away to Minneapolis, Los Angeles and even Milwaukee but I always return here to this countryside not just because of my family but, as they say, home is where your heart is and mine is here. I’m thankful for the wonderful memories from growing up on the farm with my sister and cousins and even more thankful to be able to raise my daughter on the farm where I grew up with plenty of freedom and wide open spaces.
What are you thankful for? Do you have photos that capture the spirit of that feeling? If so I would love to see them. Let’s call it a photo contest. Please submit your photos for this contest by uploading them to the Niman Ranch Facebook page and describe how your photograph represents something you are thankful for. The winner’s photo will be featured in our next blog post with their story. I look forward to seeing your wonderful pictures and reading about what makes you feel thankful.