Coming upon my soon-to-be last semester at North Dakota State University, it’s got me thinking all nostalgic. I think back to simpler times and fond summer memories. Back to not having to worry about jobs to pay bills and the highlight of the day was watching a new episode of “Dragon Tales” (My siblings and I were not “#blessed” with cable TV). Our greatest triumphs included successfully finding the “perfect” hiding place in the back of the freezer for the last Schwann’s ice cream bar. However, this sometimes became our biggest tragedy when we unfortunately discovered that our sibling had also found the same “perfect” hiding place. But moving on…
I think it’s safe to say that growing up on our family’s small dairy farm in southeast Minnesota gave my siblings and I some interesting summers. Growing up as “farm kids”, every day was a new adventure. The farm was our playground and my sister, brother, and I, the three Musketeers who were always on the search of that next adventure.
With our crazy hair, dirty hands, and knee-high muck boots, we would tear around our family’s small farm almost every single day in the summer. Often, it consisted helping Dad and Grandpa with various chores like watching the gate, watching another one, and watching yet another gate to make sure no cows, heifers, or steers got out. Although, as we got older, more jobs included unloading hay bales (always on the hottest days of the year I might add), help Grandpa with calf feeding chores, and picking endless amounts of rock in the field (I swear, if we had gotten a nickel for all the rocks we had to pick every year, we’d be billionaires!)
But before those extra responsibilities were bestowed upon us and when we weren’t having a “grand ‘ol time” watching gates, we tamed the wild kittens around the farm and picked out personal favorites before anyone else claimed the cute gray one as their own. After playing with the kittens got boring, we would climb up the hay bales in our hay barn to our “fort” where we stashed Ziploc bags full of treats (mostly consisting of honey nut cheerios) and we played “house”. Amid the hottest summer days, we were mostly found running around the feed bunk of the milk cows where the water sprinklers were to keep the cows cool. Who needed to go to a crowded pool when you could just run amongst bovines under some sprinklers?
As days got shorter and summer drew to the end, the county fair approached. Instead of chasing kittens around, we were chasing heifers to catch and hopefully by the grace of God, show them at the fair. This annual “rodeo” of sorts consisted of lots of bumps, bruises, complaining, and some cussing here and there. But among all the washing, clipping, and training our heifers, there was also a lot of laughs and good times generously sprinkled in.
I could go on reminiscing about the glamorous times the Kruger kids had in the summer like all the times we played bike tag (think a combination of tag and bumper cars and you get the picture) or having water fights in the milking parlor while Dad attempted to finish milking before he got drenched too, but I’ll leave that for another time perhaps. For now, I just go on remembering the summer of my youth and hope you all have a great rest of your summer.