The rainy days were beginning to make everyone just a bit antsy here. My farmer was wishing he could be in a tractor anywhere, perhaps baling hay on a hot, sticky day; even that onerous task of cultivating might have appealed to him.

The forecast was for more rain. "But it wasn’t raining out," according to that oldest boy of ours. Reckoning that he could use some help, we hastily packed and left before that weatherman could change that forecast.

Four of us went, as farmer sons are no different than their example. Up early the next morning, they were rarin’ to go to work and there was plenty. Ideas of what needed doing just kept growing that mental list longer. By the time they came in for supper at 11:00, a dent had been made in the ‘must do’ list.

The men had things pretty much under control so we wise womenfolk thought it best to leave it that way.

Besides, I had ideas of mine own. Surely my married-into-the-family daughter could use some help. After all, she had been doing the work of the three men that now replaced her help.

My farmer saw me heading to the garden with a hoe in my head. He informed me that the hoe was not needed, there were no weeds.

It got hot, above 90 degrees, so we decided to turn the air conditioner on. I asked why were the windows so clean; she cheerfully told me she had cleaned them not so long ago. Looks like she had things under control too.

My next thought was to visit with some of the neighboring farm and ranch wives. But that soon vanished when during a trip to the grocery store, I overhead some women talking, “We just decided to brand that last little bunch of 250 head after lunch yesterday…”

The only thing to do was to resume an old pastime that I seldom found time to indulge in anymore. Walking down country roads. Not a bad idea for someone who has a propensity towards great rotundity. In my son’s house, his wife knows how to cook and bake my favorites, chocolate cake, oatmeal cookies, and the list goes on.

With little road traffic my only concern were those rattlesnakes. The menfolk had rattled off their latest experiences while working on machinery. One might get an idea it was the week for the annual rattlesnake reunion.

According to the talk around the supper table, rattlesnakes were coming out of their dens under the bins, sitting on chairs, climbing poles, even one watching my farmer walking through the shed’s door.

My boys left well enough alone, not wanting to stir up trouble at the rattlesnake family reunion by hurting Cousin Rusty Rattler. Who knows what their response might have been.

At first, while walking, my ears were attuned for the sound of rattlers, but that was soon forgotten. Rather, my ears heard a harmonious melody that no musical instrument could ever replicate. Meadowlarks, red-wing blackbirds, killdeer were just a few that flew across my path, or were sitting atop electrical wires and fence posts or in the fields.

It didn’t matter whether my walks occurred in the morning, afternoon or dusk, a chorus of praise surrounded me.

I don’t know where my children will all spend their adult years, but I sincerely pray it will be out in the country. For along their roads I will continue to marvel at God’s wondrous creation—truly this is My Father’s World.


Essays from My Farm House Kitchen | Renae B. Vander Schaaf

Renae B. Vander Schaaf, freelance writer, lives on a real working farm in northwest Iowa.

To Contact Renae B. Vander Schaaf, please email her at [email protected]