altWe watch the weather at our house because our livelihood depends upon it. Whether we are watching to see if we can cut down hay that day or if there will be a ballgame that night, we are constantly on the lookout for rain or sunshine in the forecast.

We are just wrapping up the first few fields of first cutting hay. My husband and his team have been hard at it. Fixing equipment and replenishing supplies all along the way makes for some early mornings and late nights at our house. Baseball and softball season went long this year as we fought heavy rains that flooded fields on a weekly basis.

Record flooding in the Arkansas River Valley has also affected our family. One of the manufacturing facilities used by my husband’s company was filled with waist-high water. It took several days before anyone could get into the buildings to even begin to assess the damages. As the waters have begun to recede, the clean-up has started. Last week he drove our family’s camper to Fort Smith and spent several days overseeing and helping with the clean-up operation. A caravan of workers and extra helpers hauled several pieces of equipment and trailers full of cleaning supplies to the site. The destruction was heartbreaking as he and several employees started to go through and throw away much of the ruined property.

I sometimes shake my head and wonder how my husband gets himself in the middle of these kinds of projects. The truth is, he is a man of action and has a lot of tools to get the job done right.

By the end of the week, he arrived home weary with several bags of some of the smelliest laundry that has ever hit our home’s floor. We spent the weekend catching up on chores and getting him ready to go back to the plant to continue with the next phase of cleaning up the building. Our 9-year-old son was extremely curious about the equipment being used to do this massive project. He begged his dad to let him tag along to see it all and “help” where he could.

On Monday, loaded down with fresh laundry and more equipment, the two of them headed back to Fort Smith. It will be a long process to get the mess cleaned up – from equipment to drywall, there is still a lot of work to do.

In the meantime, the rest of the kids and I are holding down the fort at home. We are down to one bottle calf who is just about ready to be weaned! The kids have been helping keep up with the yard work and we had a productive week working in our garden. It’s about time to spray the fence rows again. The more it rains, the more the weeds grow.

The forecast looks sunny this week and we plan to soak it up at our farm. We can’t control tornadoes, floods and hurricanes, but we can say a prayer for our farm friends around the country who continue to fight the effects of bad weather and flooding, neighbor.

Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to and click on ‘Contact Us.’


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