In the seventeenth episode of the ‘Visits from the Heart’ series, we continue to learn about our resident’s rich life stories. Brian Morgan, Primrose Retirement Communities CFO, visits with Harold R., a resident at the Primrose Retirement Community in Grand Island, Nebraska.
This episode starts right off with Harold telling Brian a little bit about himself. Harold has farmed and lived on the farm his entire life, with the exception of two years. During those two years he served his country in the Army in Korea and Japan during the Korean War. Harold continues to share that he wasn’t married until later in life at the age of 40, because he was busy farming he quips. For Harold farming wasn’t just an occupation or a mere succession of the family business, he simply enjoyed it.
Harold starts to divulge a little more about the young lady, Marjorie, that he married. As chance would have it, she also came from a farm family and was well-versed about life on the farm. With a little chuckle, Harold says she ‘picked right up’ with their farm life. That life included a herd of 60 Angus cattle and hogs. The hogs were part of Harold’s farm life as far back as he can remember. His wife, however, didn’t have any experience with farm animals. That was in part due to her father thinking that livestock were far too much work. As Harold tells it, her father even thought a dog was too much.
Fortunately for Harold, Marjorie didn’t have the same viewpoint as her father. In fact, she was the one who got Harold thinking of adding cattle to their farm. Her brother worked for a rancher who had Angus cattle and she urged Harold to take a look at some of those bulls. As their journey into expanding their livestock progressed, they often received catalogs of upcoming bull sales. These catalogs contained volumes of data on each bull that was up for sale, such as lineage, genetics, markings, weights, measurements, and statistics of all kinds. Marjorie had a knack for studying these catalogs and finding the best sale to go to.
Once Marjorie was done with the research and narrowed the search down to four or five bulls, they set the date to attend the sale. They fully enjoyed attending the sales together. Once at the sale, she turned the final decision over to Harold. If Marjorie was the expert on the specifications of the bulls, Harold was the expert when it came to physically inspecting the bulls. He proudly shared how he would get in the pen with the bulls for his inspection. He liked bulls that were symmetrically balanced with a straight backline that didn’t curve upward by the tail. The partnership that Harold and Marjorie shared on choosing just the right bulls proved successful as they continued to grow and improve their herd. In his true simple nature, Harold sums it saying, “We were real lucky with our herd, we did real well.”
Harold starts another story, with his self-amusing chuckle, about the time he took his father-in-law out to the pasture to admire the herd. He boasts about this wonderful pasture complete with a spring-fed creek and native grasses that he planted and nurtured over the years. All a labor of love for his growing herd. In this pasture was a new bull they had recently purchased for the most amount of money they ever spent on a bull. And when he asked his father-in-law what he thought of their new bull, he received and underwhelmed response, “A bull is a bull.” Burst his bubble right on the spot. They returned home around supper time, where his father-in-law delved out a bit of unsolicited advice about selling that pasture. Well, Marjorie would have none of it, and in Harold’s words, “Marjorie just came unglued.” And that was the end of it. I guess you just don’t mess with a woman and her farm.
Harold steers the conversation back to his hogs. They had 24 sows and farrowed them 12 at a time so they were able to farrow four times ensuring a regular source of income all year. This income helped them pay off the many expenses on the farm, including the purchase of more pasture for their cattle.
Brian asks Harold about what type of advice he would give to a farmer just starting out. Harold simply states not to get too greedy and farm it all. Harold, with his chuckle again, asks if he has talked too much and Brian assures him that he has not. Harold just shares from the heart and next to Marjorie, farming has his heart.