Testimony of a Farm Life

contributed by Janice

My husband was a dairy, hog, and grain farmer until 1976. He is now 70 years old and semi-retired. He had a heart attack, heart bypass surgery, pacemaker implant and a serious stroke all in 2001. We had four children between 1957 and 1964. I stayed at home until the youngest went to first grade. During those years, I saved all that I could while my husband bought farm machinery, etc. and we were paying on our 120 acre farm. It wasn't easy, but we never went without the essentials.

When our youngest started first grade, I started my very first class at our local college. Yes, I borrowed a bit of money to pay for the college courses. We absorbed the money for gas for the car, textbooks, etc. out of the farm income. Four years later, I graduated with a B.S. in Education, but there were no jobs available. I took a teacher's aid job with the school system where my children went to school. Within 3 months, I had a job taking over during a maternity leave. I went to graduate school while teaching and earned a MS in Education. I continued my teaching career until 2 years ago when I retired.

During the 26 years that I worked, my husband continued to take care of the family expenses. We started buying homes for rental property out of my teacher's pay (always making more than the minimum payments). We also bought our vehicles out of the teacher's pay and built on a large addition to our country home. I must stress that we couldn't have done it if I didn't have my husband's support. We worked together.

Today, we are both retired from paid employment (not from work). We have enough property income to pay all of our bills, keep improvements up and put some in savings. Our net worth is in nine figures. Why? Because God blessed us by giving us the desire, and knowledge needed to achieve the goals we had and frugal knowledge passed to us from our parents.

Some of the things that we did to save money were gardening, home butchering, and buying inexpensive, but well-made clothing. I patched clothes, darned socks, canned fruit and vegetables, and went to garage sales. My husband did all the mechanical work, and learned carpentry, plumbing, and electrical skills. We did not take many vacations (remember dairy cows) and our hobbies were learning and using 'hands on' skills. For entertainment, we invited friends and guests over to our home or to go with us to our cottage on a lake a couple of miles down the road. We rent it from Labor Day to Memorial Day to pay for its' use in the summer. Our life also centers around church meetings and activities.

We also realize that we could lose all that we have through sickness, etc. But, I believe I could really enjoy life without "things" as we have lived frugally all of our life. I must say that it helps to be married to the very best man that I have EVER met.

Right now, my husband and I are working together on skills that he needs to relearn after a stroke. We are enjoying each other and this part of our life together.

Hopefully, we will be able to travel to Germany this summer for a heritage tour with a large number of my husband's relatives. Life was and is great.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money please send it to MyStory@stretcher.com

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