Fall season is upon us. That means combines are working the fields. Trucks and grain carts are on the move on every gravel road. Meals are eaten outside on the back of pickup tailgates.
The leaves are changing colors. There’s a crisp feel to the air. Cattle are being weaned. Calves worked and sold. It’s pay day for many ranchers, and the auction barn is the place to be.
It’s such a great time of year for so many reasons, but it can also be stressful, exhausting, and overwhelming.
This past weekend, I was reminded that even in these hectic weeks leading up to winter, we may be stretched thin and pushing ourselves to the max to get everything done, but we can still make time to reflect on our blessings and enjoy the beauty of this incredible life in agriculture that we get to live.
Our family spent the last couple of days bringing cow-calf pairs home, working and weaning calves, and putting up electric fence around cornfields for fall grazing.
It was a lot of together time, and because our kids are homeschooled this year, they got to be a part of every minute of the festivities. So between worksheets in the pickup, they were right by our side — helping, learning, and enjoying ranch life to the fullest.
On one of the first days of working cattle, we moved a group of pairs two miles on a gravel road to get them to the home place.
I don’t know why, but watching this group of cow-calf pairs quietly march down the gravel road to the home place they know so well was just so peaceful to watch.
Maybe it was the beautiful sunny sky.
Or the methodical crunch of the gravel.
Maybe it was seeing the trusty old brood cow show the younger cows where to go.
Maybe it was being alongside my family - multiple generations of us - working together to get the job done.
Maybe it was the task itself, one we’ve done for decades, which is still the same today as it was back then.
Maybe it was the fact that all four of our kids were present. We adopted our son from foster care last week, and it just felt extra special to have the whole crew together doing something we love as a team.
I don’t know what it was for sure, but I do know that God is in every single moment, and the peace, calm, and wholeness I felt in this moment, watching these cattle and our crew work together, was priceless.
I share this story because I want to encourage you all to find beauty in the everyday, ordinary moments.
Yes, it’s tough out there right now. Inflation, rising fuel prices, skyrocketing food prices, increased inputs, regulatory pressures, and market uncertainties make the cattle business pretty rocky and stressful at times.
However, we cannot let these factors steal our joy and take away the sweet moments we get to enjoy with our families. We are abundantly blessed to live and work in this industry that we all love so much. We just need to remind ourselves truly how lucky we are.
Tonight when you’re out feeding cattle, count your blessings twice. What a gift it is to work outside, surrounding by gorgeous landscapes and beautiful cattle.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.