May 13, 2021

Rural Issues: A time for fresh starts

As the number of new and active COVID-19 cases drops, nursing homes are opening to visitors. Families are getting together again — some for the first time in more than a year.

Many are leaving the home offices they set up in a back bedroom or kitchen and going back to work in an office building full time for the first time in more than a year. Co-workers are co-working side by side and face to face.

With no fanfare, no “selfies” and no social media posts, I quietly drove to the county health department first thing last Monday morning to an appointment that was scheduled exactly four weeks prior. I received my second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

I know there are many people who do not believe in the vaccine for a wide variety of reasons. Many have said they don’t trust the government. A veterinarian friend of mine said that he has limited trust in our government at this point, as well, but he does trust science.

The tulips, daffodils, hyacinth and narcissus have bloomed and some are beginning to fade. The grass seems to grow greener with each passing day.

The herb garden is bursting with new life on aged sage, thyme and oregano plants and the cool season plants — cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage and bok choy — are growing nicely.

Potatoes have been planted and pea, carrot, beet and spinach seeds sown. Morel mushrooms are popping up indiscriminately. Redbud trees have bloomed.

Calves are thriving in the lush spring grass. Farmers in my area are rolling through fields preparing the seedbed and planting the 2021 corn and soybean crop.

I come from a long line of farmers and ranchers. Farming and ranching is in my DNA. Perhaps one of the genetic traits passed down from both my maternal and paternal bloodlines is the love of growing things.

Reaping what we sow is what farming is all about. It is also what being a good friend, parent, partner, daughter, spouse, or “boss” is all about.

You make sure your seedbed is properly prepared and that you apply the necessary nutrients. You determine the traits best suited for the soil and conditions in which your seed will be planted.

You need to scout your crop regularly. There are treatments available, should you find symptoms of distress. Unfortunately, there are no guaranteed solutions for every problem.

You have no control over the whether or not your crop gets too much or not enough rain. Hail, lightning, strong winds and floods are out of our hands.

Whether you are growing plants, animals, personal or business relationships, you will almost certainly be faced with challenges that nurturing can help, but may not always heal.

I hope the seeds you sow will take root and grow into something magnificent, be it a bumper corn crop, the next national champion heifer, a prosperous business and working environment, or a deeper and more meaningful relationship with another person.

Cyndi Young-Puyear

Cyndi Young-Puyear is farm director and operations manager for Brownfield Network.