I grew up on the family farm in Southwest Kansas near the small town of Kalvesta where some of the best people I have ever known lived and still live today. It is 7 miles to the closest highway to the South, 9 to the West and many more to the East and North. It is in the middle of nowhere and the best place on earth!! There was a book written about our farm from the previous owner called "31 miles from nowhere" describing the authors life on the farm. It's in an area with very low gently rolling "hills," few trees and a quiet so profound you can actually hear yourself think. This is where I grew up helping raise cattle and wheat and cultivating a tremendous work ethic, values and love for the farm and family.
I remember from a very early age getting up before the sun in the summer to go to the field with my dad to "farm." I would set on his lap and steer the old case 1370 pulling a 6-5 blade plow. I was small enough that after setting on his lap, I would lay in the ledge behind the seat and fall asleep. I remember many times bumping my head on the window as the power shift was moved up another gear. I also have many memories of the Gleaner L2 setting on a bucket beside the seat and having to move out of the way to engage the unloading auger. As time went on, I started driving these machines for real on my own and spent many, many hours behind the wheel of both the tractor and combine.
I will never forget going to the field early in the mornings to fuel up and grease the machines with the smell of fresh dirt and diesel in the air. These smells are some of the best I can remember. If you didn't grow up on the farm, this is very difficult to explain. If you did, you know what I'm talking about. They are unforgettable.
We also had momma cows and bought stocker calves to run on grass during the summer. I remember many very cold nights going out to check cows during calving season and having to get the new born calf in our heated milk room of the barn to warm them up. I also spent many hours riding thru rough pastures counting stockers to make sure they were all accounted for and none were sick. There were no holidays especially during calving season....the cows didn't know the difference.
These years were spent learning by watching my parents work their tails off for the love of the land and the livestock. Some years it paid off, some years not so much...so goes farming and ranching. Watching and learning from my parents taught me the value of hard work, family values, ethics, integrity, honesty, and the love for what you do. All of these have carried me thru life and I can only hope my children learn from my example as well.
So, what does this ring mean to me? It reminds me of the early mornings, the window time in the tractor/combine, the dirt and diesel, cattle and most of all the passion and commitment of the family that provided me with these memories on our family farm.
Does this sound familiar to you?? This ring represents so much more than the cool tractor tread design. What will it mean for you?
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