The Innovative Farmer

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.

The new creation...

The new creation…

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!

Matt and Karyn up for the first time a few a couple of weeks ago...

Matt and Karyn up for the first time a few weeks ago…

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.

Matt's alfalfa dehydration plant...

Matt’s alfalfa dehydration plant where the alfalfa plants are turned into animal feed pellets…

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.

Good times...

Good times…

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!

5 Comments

Filed under Family, General

5 responses to “The Innovative Farmer

  1. Stephanie

    You should patent this!!!!!!!

    • Stephanie,

      I mentioned that to Matt when he first built the ski–he replied, “I’m not sure that there are enough people crazy enough to ride it to create a market!”

      Regardless, it has been really fun for us. Good family time is hard to beat 🙂

      Anne

  2. Sounds like a great time on your new ‘toy’. I am glad Matt had a break form his busy season (is there every a slow time for you 😉 ) I hope you all are getting the beautiful weather we had the last couple of days 🙂

    • Our weather has been significantly cooler than normal for a big portion of August. My animals at the feed yard have loved the cooler temperatures (and I have too!). We have also picked up some moisture that is a blessing –especially remembering how dry we were last year at this time.

      You are correct, there is not much “slow time” for our family, but we have tried to make family time at the lake a priority recognizing that even the most diligent person needs a break from time to time!

      I hope that all is well in Virginia!
      Anne

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