The Last of the Pinto Beans—Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pate-of-beansI cooked the last of our pinto beans last night. The aroma of the beans earthy sweetness suffused the kitchen, welcoming us with a comforting embrace.   (Eating beans and corn together supplies all the amino acids necessary for our bodies add in some ham; cook together until the beans are done. Serve with a hot chili pepper —- yum.)

Over supper Terry and I talked about farming this coming year.  The big question: ‘Are you going to farm?’  Flashing loud and constant, like a neon sign.  The second week of March is when the ground will need to be worked, the ditches made, the canal put in order, the seeds bought.


“I don’t know”, Terry shook his head.  ” I really don’t know. But I need to be deciding I have to purchase the seeds (including the pinto beans—he plants Bill Zee pinto beans), the alfalfa field needs plowed up and moved….there are things I want to do to improve the place, a renter just can’t, nor should do.”Plowing-2011“I just don’t know.”  He shook his head again.


“Besides I don’t want to be like our friend…he sold the farm, moved to town, grew so depressed because he didn’t have the farm anymore he rushed his move of the rainbow bridge one night.”

“That was terribly sad, for him and his family.  But we are NOT going to sell the farm.”  I pointed out.

Marking-Out“No, but Bob, rented his out and said it was the worst thing he ever did.  No one could farm the place properly.”

irrigation-begins-picasa.jpgI just smiled.

Planting-CornThen all the old farmers who are my age, keep asking me what I plan on doing if I don’t farm….die?!


“I just don’t know.”  He said as he pushed himself away from the table.  “I just don’t know.”

CornerSo here it is the million dollar question….with the clock ticking.

Your friend on a Western Colorado Farm,



44 thoughts on “The Last of the Pinto Beans—Wednesday, February 17, 2016

  1. Can you get a hand in to take over some of the heavy work? Maybe someone like Celi’s WWOOFers, only permanent. Someone who wants to learn but doesn’t come from a farming background. You both have so much wisdom and a wealth of knowledge to pass on, and if there is no son or daughter following you, it would be sad if the knowledge was lost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We could hire irrigators…that’s the hardest part of farming…but Terry is such a stickler about how it’s done he isn’t sure if he could let it go. Sorta like the lady who clean her house from top to bottom before the cleaning lady shows up.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Remember the Aussie saying and I think it is universal.
    “You can take the boy out of the Country ( substitute Colorado farm), but you can’t
    take the Country ( aka Above) out of the Boy”.
    Terry is right.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He’s been farming since he was 8. By the time he was 10 his Dad gave him all the hay business (and let him keep the money—a wonderful Dad) from 8 until now is a long time, and a huge love. He says his blood is really dirt.


  3. We have precisely the same problem here Linda. The farmer is 73 this year and has cut down considerably. He now rents his buildings to our neighbour who keeps his straw in one over winter and his in- calf cattle in another, moving them in
    and out when the time is right. The land is let to another farmer friend who brings his sheep down off the tops for the winter. And then in the spring brings in his lambs and their mothers when his sheep go back to the moors. But how long can the farmer keep doing this and if he sells what will he do with himself? The eternal problem for all farmers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. No one will die Linda.

    Yes other people will not do it like you but it will get done and they will be successful as well.

    Thinking about and creating other “what if” scenarios only creates stress and does almost nothing to assist in making that decision.

    I believe one has to know and understand they must have other ways to occupy time for what would be a dramatic new lifestyle. Not every hour or day either.

    For four and a half years have never looked back and am glad there is not a “job” to go to every day. I still liked what I did and think often about it as I do about the farm and farming in Iowa. Been many years but memories are strong.

    It’s not close to perfect but it’s much better than not for sure. For me it’s probably the simplification of life that’s good for me.

    Life will go on as will your farm without you as life will for every human. Just the way it is and very hard to comprehend – for me anyway.

    You have a myriad of choices I have a feeling.

    What ever the decision it will be the right one. Don’t look back!

    Enjoy exploring all the possibilities you two have. You are lucky!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a problem my family faced. We finally decided we had 3 or 4 choices and none were what we wanted. We started out with hiring more help which worked for awhile. Then we rented some of the acreage to other people. Then we contract farmed it. All had good points and bad. Nothing is ever perfect. This enabled us to retire slowly and find new interests and activities without loosing our place in the community or the culture that has sustained us for generations.
    We switched over gradually and are now so glad to be retired with too many important other things to do. We really can do the things we always wanted to do now.
    Good lock.

    Of course, only men retire; women just keep on cooking.

    PS Having a plan , imperfect as they are. helps. Making another life a little at a time helps too.
    It’s real easy to put it off and never get to do the things you really want to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I told Terry, think about WHAT you want to be doing when you check out…that is the goal we need to head toward. If its still farming, so beit, if something else then we need to work toward that end.


  6. Such a hard decision… A sense of place is so important. Is it possible to rent it one year, then not the next. Like a trial? Terry and Linda, take the time needed to decide ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Terry has thought of that, but if the renters break the cement ditches, or tear up the fences, or let the water break loose we have huge problems to fix if and when we take it back over. Such a struggle to decide.


  7. Why don
    t you just farm part of it and let the fields lie fallow for a year. That will keep you in the farming busines, which you both love, yet give you a small break also…I don’t think I will ever stop digging in the dirt, it is just part of who you are.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Think I’ll start a cooker of ham and beans. You’re an inspiration!

    As for turning your farm over to someone else for whatever reason TOUGH CHOICE! Especially if you have to watch what they do with the place where you’ve spent decades of blood and sweat. Still—my dad couldn’t walk away so he was carried away in an ambulance. And maybe that is the only way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is the biggest reason Terry can’t get his head around renting the farm out. Renters just Do Not care about the place like you do. Maybe it will be the only way he stops…there are days when he says that.


      • I’ve had renters for 30 years who DO care about the place as much as I do. Sometimes we disagree on what that entails, but part of getting older is realizing what really matters, and letting go of the things that don’t.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh what a huge decision. Life is so full of them. When I was young (as in young married, not a child) I used to think it would be nice to be older without major decisions, without possible changes to make, without problems …. But it never stops! There are always choices, roads not taken …..

    On a less philosophical note, would be it possible for you to take even a month off during the winter to travel, try out another life, just take a vacation from the farm? Can it be left alone at all?
    I I remember when we stayed at an RV resort in Tucson, they had an agricultural group that got together weekly or so.. Our neighbors were from Minnesota where they owned a ranch and they said they eenjoyed meeting farmers from around the country.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My guy is 80. He wants to turn the grain to grass. good plan I think. but he admits that he isn’t sure what he would do if he didn’t have cows to get him going every morning, fences to fix…..but he thinks about moving to town. I think I’ll be on my place till I leave in a box. Terry will know when it is time I think. It is such a lot of work, but I know so many people who said they had to give it up and move to town .. and wished so afterwards that they had not done that.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. GOOOOOD KWESTYUN ~ willya/won’t-cha?

    i like pinto beans, Betty duzzn’t.

    good pixure of the varying-length rows of irrigation in the furrows, and
    that last pict, lookin’ west, toward you-taw. i lookt that way goin’ down and back yesterday, to/from Ridgway. (werk-related, we built a fence! big surprise: the ground under 18″ of crusty snow was not frozen!)

    I WAS SURPRISED that some sand-hills remain in your neighborhood! i had assumed THEY ALL went away for the winter. like, almost 40 years ago when i was @ skool in 4t collins — the experts were talkin’ about how, in the past, all the canadian geese would stop-over a while, then continue. then … many 100’s (maybe 1,000s) began to winter-over. perhaps the sand-hills have begun to do that?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Dear Linda, Hindsight is certainly easier isn’t it? what to do…what to do. Perhaps the Good Lord will make it very apparent as to what you folks should do? Listen for those whispers! :o)

    Liked by 1 person

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