I was raised on a farm, working hard through the late spring and through the long, hot days of summer. My dad, Walt, took over the family business after graduating from college and at 70 years, still works a full day, 6 days a week. You'd never guess he was over 50 by the energy he exudes and zest for life. I can only hope to be that enthusiastic about life when I reach that decade!
Recently, I've realized that while I worked on the farm, I never really followed my dad around to see what he did and what kept him going all these years. So, in July, as he celebrated his 70th, I asked him if I could spend a couple hours while he did daily tasks, fixed things, checked on crops, and laughed with me as we rolled over the bumpy, dusty roads.
I don't even know if this tractor is functioning anymore, but I do remember many times riding around on it, and quite possibly the one I nearly ran into the cinder block wall when first learning to drive!
We drove out to the newly planted field of strawberries to do just one row of spray. This old backpack sprayer was not working and leaking all over. Just like Walt, he went with the flow, clearing out the junk since the filter was missing. I cringed wishing I had a hand washing station with me.
A field of cherry tomatoes just beginning to ripen and beautiful, crisp cabbage to bring to the retail stand. There's something magical about walking out the door with knife in hand and harvesting your own produce.
And this is my dad. This is the embodiment of who he is and why everyone loves him. That smile lights up a room (or a truck) and my heart. He has an infectious laugh, a huge personality, and a witty sense of humor (with the dad jokes included).
If you have the chance to visit the farm because you live in Eugene or are driving through while heading south on I-5, do it. Walt is almost always around and he is worth the stop, promise!
Nicole is an Orlando, Florida Family Photographer who shares the celebration of World Breastfeeding Week. Click on over to read and see these beautiful images!