I am Melody Fruth and my husband is Oscar. We live on a small farm near Jacksonburg, OH and have two grown sons, Jason and Jeremy who both graduated from Miami University. We have lived in the same place since 1978. Oscar was raised on a farm near Findlay, OH. And I was a city girl born and raised in Hamilton. We met at Bluffton College, moved here to find teaching jobs, and both taught school for over 30 years. Oscar always farmed some, but once he retired from teaching, he put all his energy into it. When I retired, I got sucked outside into the farming operation because there is always more to be done than there are hours in the day and hands in the field. Our son Jeremy is a farmer at heart and partners with his dad in the farming operation.
On our small farm we raise dairy bucket calves from about three days old until they reach nearly 400 pounds. At that time we sell them to feedlots where they are raised for beef. On any given day we may have from 30 to 140 bucket calves. We usually have a couple hundred or more weaned calves in various stages of growth. We also farm around 1000 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay. Oscar and I take care of the calves, and Jeremy takes care of the equipment keeping it running (most of the time), and buying and selling what needs to be bought and sold to keep the operation functioning. He has a Jeff Foxworthy T-shirt that reads, “If it ain’t broke, it ain’t ours.” That is not a very appropriate shirt for the son of an English teacher to wear, but it is fairly accurate to depict what it is like on the farm. Equipment is always breaking down and we need someone to get it up and running again. Farmers can’t always wait for several days for an appointment with a mechanic to get it working. It helps tremendously to have someone here at home who can handle much of the repairing. The guys drive the tractors; I pack the lunches. When the time is right and the ground is ready to be planted or the crop harvested, it is all-out go! My job then is to take this truck here and drop someone off there, go to such-and-such equipment dealer and pick up this or that part. I am a city girl. I do not drive tractors.
Since I am a city girl (even though I have lived here more than 30 years), I have been trying to learn what is going on around me and how I can contribute. I ask lots of questions. The guys sigh a lot. Much of my time is spent feeding the bottle and bucket calves, bedding them, and making sure in this hot weather that they have constant access to water. When we first get them, they are babies, just days old and very cute. By the time we sell them, not so much. Over the next few days I will write about our daily work here on the farm.