When I was three, my parents moved to a little place called Cane Creek in Middle Tennessee. We were surrounded by Amish families who lived a plain way of life. They sewed their clothes and grew their food. My parents wanted to raise us five kids to be hard workers and successful people, so they found a way living right where we were. We were not Amish by any means, but we lived a great deal like them. We had always been hard workers, but living in a Plain community and learning from their way was a whole new level of hard work. We planted more corn and sewed more clothes than most people do in a lifetime. We also played harder and loved each other more than most people ever have an opportunity to do!

We were new to this farming thing, but we dove in headfirst. My dad got a rusty, orange antique tractor for a deal and fixed it up. Actually, I think he started off plowing with horses. I remember thinking he looked quite funny, walking behind the horse-powered plow! That was really a lot of work! Soon after he bought the tractor and got it running.

I loved watching the soil fold off the plow in thick layers that curled over. The birds sang cheerfully and a gentle breeze blew, drying the sweat from my brow. The smell of soil screamed at my senses, telling me it was spring, and life wanted to come forth.

I always remembered the fresh spring weather being the same every year, marking the time to plant. I would walk behind my dad’s tractor. My bare feet squished the soil as I threw rocks and grub worms out of our garden. Sometimes I would save the grub worms for fishing, but even the fish really did not like them.

After Dad plowed, he would disc. The disc would break up the clumps of soil and make the ground soft, fluffy, and ready to plant. Mom would come out with her seeds and decide what she wanted to plant and where. It was a family effort. Dad and the boys would set up a straight line and hoe seed rows. The older girls would drop the corn or bean seeds and I got to cover them up. I would walk behind the seed dropper and waddle like a penguin. My little feet pushed the soil over the seeds and lightly packed it. The feeling of success and accomplishment was overflowing. I knew I was good, but I was going to get better!