I grew up in the Gem State of Idaho in the outskirts of town in a little farming community called Pingree. Childhood summers were spent riding bikes around the country blocks listening and watching the irrigation pivots water those good ‘ol Idaho spuds while waving to all the local farmers and ranchers driving by in their pick-up trucks checking on their fields and cattle.
I remember learning how to ride a bike at a young age. The process was probably similar to most kids learning how to ride a bike: not knowing how to stop, a little screaming, and eventually crashing into something… my case was the side of a barn.
I’m glad I can say that little incident didn’t stop me from riding my bike. Today I still drive out to that little community to unload my bike and pedal around those same old country blocks, still waving to all the same old local farmers and friends I grew up with.
As I’ve gotten older and more acquainted with these farmers and ranchers, I’ve gotten to know their stories. They’ve had challenges – serious challenges. I’ve been inspired and taught by their focus, work ethic, and unmatchable grit.
Back in 1985, there was an infamous frost in Southeastern Idaho that wreaked havoc on farmers and ranchers alike. This frost was so bad that it even has its own name, “The Frost of ’85.” Most people in SE Idaho, even if they weren’t around during that time, have most likely still heard of it, and if you didn’t know… now you know.
Around harvest time in ’85 the weather took a turn. It got colder much faster than anticipated and the phrase “winter is coming” was being spread around as quick as an Idaho wind. Farmers were uncertain about their crops, worried about an imminent freeze. Potatoes never had a chance to warm up in the day and the nights drew in some seriously low temperatures. Some farmers were able to dig their potatoes out of the ground and others couldn’t get them out fast enough. The farmers who did get them out in time took to their tractors to help their fellow farmers harvest at full speed. Unfortunately, a lot of farmers saw thousands of acres destroyed by the frost and snow.
Many farmers went belly up bankrupt that year and never took to farming again. Some managed to hang in there and have since recovered. Either way, it brought a lot of tough years for these folks. The individuals I know that had to get out of farming were able to find successful career opportunities and be prosperous in the community and for their family. Those who managed to hold onto farming have now come to see better days and find success and be profitable farmers. Coming out of a situation like “The Frost of ‘85” to find success in future days was not easy for these people.
I look to these individuals and go back to their example of staying focused, having a strong worth ethic, and unmatchable grit. Not to mention, they helped their fellow community members when they could. No matter what life throws at us, in order to keep our balance, we must keep moving and press forward. Also, sometimes helping others in need can give us the boost that we need to face our own challenges. Stay balanced and keep moving.