A Farmer’s Hands

close-up of cow face

Pexels/cottonbro studio

By Patty (Stutzman) Paulus

A farmer’s hands are like no other. Large, gnarled, scarred, calloused, rough with soft palms like a well-worn leather baseball mitt. I had the pleasure of holding my second-cousin’s hand while saying grace at one of the Woodbury Heritage Society’s luncheons last year. Wayne Schilling, president of the Woodbury Heritage Society, was the last dairy farmer in Woodbury. He is retired, but his hands still show that he has milked cows, birthed calves, harnessed horses, hauled hay bales, repaired machinery and fences, plowed fields of corn and soybeans and more. They are not the hands that hold a thin paint brush, compose a symphony or perform delicate brain surgery, but they orchestrate all the necessary parts of running a farm in perfect balance and harmony.

As the future of small farming seems to be taken over by large corporate farms, we can lose the sight and feel of a farmer’s hands. Do yourself a favor, and shake the hands of a farmer like Schilling and thank him for all his hard work to provide food for all of us. Those hands are strong but gentle ones that you can count on to offer help to a friend, neighbor or any stranger in need of assistance. I am grateful and proud to come from such a legacy of hardworking farmers.

Patty (Stutzman) Paulus is the board director with the Woodbury Heritage Society. Learn more at woodburyheritage.org.