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Hat's Off to the Thinking Farmer

One can always benefit by spending time thinking...

One can always benefit by spending time thinking – until it gets in the way of getting more important stuff done. Most of us don't have that problem though. And once you acquire the habit, it sticks with you to eternity.


Yesterday, an 84-year-old retired farmer walked in the office just to say hello. He'd given up dairying a few years back and turned over the farm to his next generation.


The congenial Mr. Zimmerman's passion for farming and living hadn't dimmed with age – a blessing in itself. He spoke of the revolutionary changes going on in today's agriculture. He, too, has a computer that, he confesses, still has mysterious parts that he has no clue of why they're there or how they work. With amazement still in his voice, he spoke of how a robot milker on a nearby farm "looks for and finds" a small, angled udder teat, then hooks up.


But this man's real passion is Conestoga wagon jacks. That's right; old wagon jacks. He has a whole collection of them dating back into at least the early 1800s. With youthful enthusiasm, Mr. Zimmerman shared just how indispensable those hand-made and signed tools were to wheeling America's dreams and now our history across the prairies.


"At the end of the day, those jacks would be used to raise each wheel on the covered wagons, allowing you to loosen the lug, pull the wheel hub out slightly to pack fresh grease on that wooden spindle."


The Old West movies never showed you that part. Yet, you can imagine how long those wheels would have lasted without it – and without a wagon jack.


It's good to have a passion beyond our preoccupation with daily chores and "honey-do's". Thinking about things deeper than a manure pit and higher than a silo brings satisfaction to living. That's what we're really here for.


I see this spirit in farmers who excel in both business and in life.


So what's your passion? What makes you think? What brings joy into your life?


Make time to think and wonder!


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