If there is one thing that I have started to realize over the last week, is that life is short. I am likely overdramatizing my own humanity, but this life we are living could end at any time.
I firmly believe in a few things: be kind to others, love your family, do your best and document your days.
Learning about my family’s history is really important to me. I find it fascinating to hear about what my parents did as kids on their farms. Finding out how the farms were run in their early days is especially awesome, especially when I can see photos of it.
For example, I’d only known our farm to have Holsteins, a few Brown Swiss and a handful of Herefords. But, it wasn’t until I saw a photo of caramel colored cows standing in the same stalls we milk from today that I learned our herd started with Guernseys!
If there is anything I can encourage you to do, as farmers or parents or just as a person who is on this Earth, document your days and tell your story. I have some tips for you on how to tell your story, and if you’re not a farmer all you have to do is apply these ideas to your own life!
Ideas on how to tell your farm’s story:
Carry your cell phone with you
You should take your phone out to the barn, on the tractor, into the machine shed… wherever you’re going. Why, not to make calls or check Facebook, but to have the option to take a photo. One time, I think I was raking hay or something, and I saw a deer in the middle of the field just staring at the tractor. I wish I could have had a minute to push in the clutch, pull my phone out and snap a quick pic. I’ll have that memory, and I can share it, but I’d really like to show you and my children someday. I think just having a camera on hand can be so helpful in pulling together a look at your day-to-day that no one else would normally see.
Don’t get me wrong, taking photos is wonderful, but remember to put them away and enjoy life when you’re with your family or even when you see that deer in your backyard. Keep your boundaries, but remember, your kids will like to see what they looked like in the stroller in the parlor while you were milking cows.
2. Write stuff down
This is a lot simpler than it sounds. If you’re mentally sighing, just hold your breath for a hot second. The writing part can be on a post-it, a small spiral notebook you can fit in your back pocket, on a notepad you keep in the milkhouse or in your car. For the more hardcore, grab a journal and write for five minutes every day. Here is a hot tip, get a planner with lots of space!
I’m not a traditional note-taker or journaler, so don’t worry! I use Passion Planner, which allows me to plan, set goals and write down notes about my life. I also write one line a day in my Q and A a Day 5 Year Journal. This guy asks me a random question every day, and it can be thought-provoking. Plus, you use it for five years and can look back and see how you change from year to year.
Not sure what to write about? There is a lot you can put down on paper (or cough cough, a blog!) Take notes about how the sky looks, write down the next thing you want to buy, express the next goal you want to meet. What is something funny your kid did today? Did you eat something especially gross or delicious recently? Basically, anything goes. If you need even more help, Google journaling ideas!
3. Share your photos and notes
There are a lot of ways you can do this. Facebook is fun, Instagram is also exciting and a blog can be a blast! Getting your photos, videos, and words out into the world can be liberating and a great way to share what you do and why. Getting your farm’s day-to-day out into the world is important to help people learn about where their food comes from. Sharing photos of your kids helps to connect distant friends and family to how they are growing.
If you’re not into the social networking, it is totally cool… some things are too personal or meaningful to share online. I suggest printing your photos and putting them in albums with a few notes about the photos. For example, I recently put together an album focused on hunting for Eli. I went and found photos from all the different seasons we have been together and was able to put them in a cool leather album with dates and a few other details.
Don’t make albums too stressful! Don’t decide to put together a whole year’s worth of stuff, if that makes you anxious. Pick a topic and narrow it down!
If you’re more into videos, find clips you want to stitch together and take a little time here and there to put them together in a video editor. I recently put together a little video all about my brother and gave it to him for Christmas. It was not professionally shot, but he said it was one of the most thoughtful gifts he’s ever received.
OK, so my whole push of telling your farm and family’s story is so that you don’t lose these memories. Your kids are going to love seeing this stuff. Your friends will get to know you better. Your family members will appreciate you taking the time to do this because it’s a gift for them too. At first, my parents would roll their eyes at me when I’d take pictures of them, including out in the barn. But I think they secretly appreciate the few seconds it takes to snap a pic.
People care, they really do, about what you’re doing on the farm, how you’re redecorating your home, what you’re doing on vacation when that new calf is born!
If you need some help, give me a shout!
(If you need more encouragement in telling your story, go see yesterday’s guest blog from my pal Kayla Ross! This girl helped inspire today’s blog, and reminded me that it’s important for me to keep up this blog! Hopefully, our two blogs will light a little fire!)
This is blog 24 of 28 of the #28DaysOfBloggingChallenge! See the Day 1 post for more details on why I’m participating!
Would you like to document your family or farm with heirloom photos and a written story to share with your family, friends and future generations? Contact photographer and writer Alyssa Bloechl for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 920-445-8727.