One of the things that I love the most about my favorite farmer is his ability to build and create. His engineering brain never ceases to amaze me. Whether he is adapting pieces of farm equipment to accomplish a specific task or playing in the shop building something for fun, Matt is a great innovator.
Matt’s latest recreational project was building a two person slalom water ski. When he announced his project early last spring, I rolled my eyes and laughed. We already had a strong handful of home made “water toys” that he built in high school!
Even as I rolled my eyes, I recognized that this was a project that Matt needed. The spring and summer months are highly stressful for him. He manages a crew of 10+ that farm well over 5000 acres, and dehydrate 13,000 tons of alfalfa pellets. Weather permitting the alfalfa mill crew works 6-7 days a week from the 1st day of May to the end of October. On any given day, he faces a multitude of challenges that range from Mother Nature to equipment malfunctions to crew issues.
One of the hardest things for me as a wife is to watch the stress slowly erode his peace of mind. I have spent the better part of 20 years trying to figure out a way to bring the sparkle back into his eyes when he gets home after a long day during the farming season. I know that there is no perfect answer, but spending a few hours as a family at the lake always brings a smile to his face.
While I originally viewed this building project with a touch of derision, the ski has turned out to be a truly wonderful family experience. It does not cut like a regular slalom, but the challenge of coordinating balance between partners makes up for the lack of flare as you move across the lake.
All five of us have now conquered the Silver Tiger, and Matt and I even got to ride it together last Sunday when we talked his dad into driving the boat for us. I am very proud of our girls for both their adventurous spirit and athletic prowess.
Most of all, I am proud of my favorite farmer for his innovation and foresight. The laughter and smiles that his new ski have brought our family are priceless!