Documenting a difficult year with pictures!
This article was originally written for the August edition of Hiline Farm and Ranch!
By this time of year I've usually taken lots and lots of pictures.
I've taken the typical pictures of my farmer in the field checking whether or not the heads of wheat are filling or how many peas are in the pods of our pea crop; Pictures of my girls with wild hair and huge grins in a field that caught my eye with its beauty; Pictures of cute calves next to their mommas, merrily grazing in green pastures; Pictures of sunsets and amazing clouds as storms come rolling across the Big Sky.
This year, I have to admit, I've been avoiding taking pictures. The crops are a bit embarrassing and depressing frankly. The pastures that once had grass tall enough to hide a calf, are practically bare and brown. There are patches of darkened earth across the county where a fire attempted to take hold and burn away someone's livelihood.
But after a couple eye opening experiences I quickly found a reason to take photos.
We had unloaded our cows into another brown pasture and were checking the 3 water tanks that were spread across the pastures, when about 5 miles south of us a fire started. In a matter of a few minutes the fire had spread and was heading east. We could tell when it spread to an area with a different fuel source. Then as a more intense gust of wind came up, we could see flames! Talk about a scary situation. I was so grateful the wind was blowing the opposite direction of our pasture, but on the other hand my heart broke for the farmers with land in the fire's path. This fire burned 1,700 acres.
The next day, my hubby got called away by a neighbor to help with another fire that started in CRP that someone was baling south of Peerless. At least 10 different neighbors showed up and they had it out before it spread past 20 acres.
I've heard story after story like this. The devastation, softened by the help of neighbors and the dedication of volunteer firefighters from small towns across several counties.
This is what the pictures from this year will capture. These pictures will tell a story of determination in the face of adversity, uncontrollable weather, and odds that feel insurmountable.
Taking pictures this year, may not be as enjoyable as last year, but we need to document this year so that we can remember how much we have to be grateful for once things are easier and crops and pasture grass is plentiful!
So get out there and take pictures! Let's tell our story, for ourselves, for those outside of Ag and most importantly for the next generation. Let's show that we can and will survive; That we will be persistent even when it looks bleak; That neighbors will come together to help neighbors; That this year, 2017 with its extreme drought, will be the one to remember and look back on knowing that we made it through!
Have you been documenting your year? Good or bad?