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Serving: IN

Ups and Downs Define 2010

Maybe you had a good year despite an up and down year for ag in Indiana.

In another item you can find how I viewed the year 2010 for agriculture. It was mostly positive, although there were some tough weather times and some surprising developments mixed in. What happens outside the farm gate, or the home, may set the tone for the year. But how you remember the year may be more related to what happened in your operation, with your family and community.

Take a few minutes before the year ends to determine how you fared this past year. Thank God for the good times and wise decisions. Ask for wisdom to do better where maybe you fell short.

I decided to try that myself. Here's my road map through the year, from a personal standpoint.

January is baby pig month, as I helped a neighbor farrow some 16 sows for 4-H pigs. They're all winners when they're born. Some did OK. Unfortunately, it wasn't a banner year for big-time winners coming out of our barn.

There were problems, as usual. One sow suffered a busted placenta wall, with pigs spilling out into her body cavity during delivery. A vet helped us try to save some, but we had to put her down. Watching a sow go down, even if it's for her own good, isn't a pleasant experience.

Our best barrow, perhaps, never was completely a barrow. He held one testicle inside. An error caused him to receive too much medicine during the procedure to find the other testicle, and he never woke up.

In the sheep world, most of the sheep I invested money in didn't turn out as well as expected. That's likely not uncommon. And one died of pneumonia due to the wacko-hot and cold weather shifts in late August. That hurt, but it's not uncommon either. One night I thought I had her cured, the next morning she was on her deathbed. Such it is in the world of sheep.

Our youngest daughter, Kayla, won sheep showmanship at the country fair and competed in the overall Master Showmanship drive. That of course, is a huge plus. She also took drivers Ed, although she still hasn't completed the driving part. That's not all bad-no license, no car, no gas money- dad wins a small victory!

Daniel, our son, finished his year as an Indiana FFA officer with a bang-up state convention, and that was cool, except he came down with asthma attacks near the end. Nothing is ever black and white- all good or all bad. I was awarded with the distinguished service award there- that was truly cool! Then I zoned out coming home at midnight, ran over a railroad track, and did $1,100 damage to my car- not so cool!

August brought more heat than I can stand, and I literally was clinically overheated and out of commission for a couple days. It also signaled the death of my father, a 92-year –old farmer and Pearl Harbor vet. He was ready to go home to the Lord, but a friend would tell me I would still miss him and think of him every day, and I have.

My fall was dominated by helping soils and crops judging teams in my spare team, both of which competed well at the state level, and fighting off MRSA, a tough bacteria that invades the skin. That battle isn't over, although finally perhaps we have the upper hand.

High lights and low lights. All years and all people have them. In the end, I'm glad to still be here, still a father and a husband and even a grandfather, still serving my community, still having faith in the future. Perhaps no one can ask for more than that.

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