Michael Moore of New Castle took CountryMark up on its offer for free fuel for writing an essay. Judges picked his prose as one of the top winners in this year's adult contest.
Learn where he placed in the July issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer, out soon. Meanwhile, enjoy his essay.
"Before you think I am insane and recite the financial disaster that a horse entails, let me explain why this expenditure was a sound investment into the success of my operation.
I farm a grain operation producing soybeans, wheat, corn and hay. Until recently, I fed beef cattle and spent my winter driving a school bus.
After 43 years, I retired last year from the bus and anticipated a winter full of reading, equipment repair and attending farm meetings.
My wife had a different idea. She wanted a horse. I explained that a horse was out of the question. Our fence had been removed. It was simple – no fence, no horse. Sher was not convinced and enlisted the aid of our granddaughter to add additional pressure. I caved.
We began building fence together in 90 degree temperatures. Next we had to build a stall in our cattle barn. It was hard but rewarding.
We finally brought home our paint gelding and my wife has been smiling ever since. These days, my wife cheerfully goes to the barn each morning while I go to the coffee shop to mull over the latest downturn in corn prices. We are both delighted with the arrangement.
For Valentine's Day I moved a light switch in the barn to make it more reachable and she swears she smells roses each time she flips the switch.
Now when I begin to talk about the new hay conditioner I am considering purchasing, her eyes do not glass over in boredom. Instead she says, "Will it save time in hay production? Buy it."
Do you see what I mean? That horse was the very best purchase I ever made."
Hayhurst writes from Terre Haute