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Life on the family farm under an open heaven: It’ll cost you

Tom Heck for Progressive Dairy Published on 19 July 2020

It was the middle of the summer, and the day dawned bright and sunny. It was a perfect hay-making day. We were thankful since we had a large field of hay cut to chop into the silo that afternoon.

The weather forecasters were predicting heavy rain for the coming night, so we along with a lot of other farmers were anxious to get the hay off.



We were able to start chopping shortly after noon that day; I had chopped just two rounds off the field when I noticed a silver-colored pickup driving down my field road toward me. I wondered who that could be and what they wanted. I had one thing on my mind, and that was getting my beautiful hay off before the heavy rain was due to come that night. Needless to say, other farmers were thinking just like I was. As the pickup got closer, I saw it was my neighbor, Harley, who farmed a couple miles down the road from me.

Harley had an urgent request: Could I come and bale his small field of hay? He had had another farmer lined up to bale it, but that farmer had too much of his own to bale, so there was no way he could make it. Harley was getting out of crop farming and had just sold me his baler a couple of months before.

I looked over my own hayfield and told Harley I had to get mine chopped and then I would try to get to his place and bale his hay. I told him it wouldn’t be before 5 o’clock, though. He said if I didn’t get there until 6 or 7, that would be fine; he would go back home and rake his hay.

As he was turning to leave, I said to him, “It’ll cost you.” He quickly turned back around with a real serious look on his face. I then asked him, “Do you have a couple packages of frozen bluegills in the freezer?” He broke into a big smile and replied that he did. Now, Harley is an excellent fisherman and catches a lot of fish, so I knew I wasn’t asking too much. Nothing beats bluegills fried in butter; they’re just delicious.

Well, we kept moving fast and got our hay off; then we hooked the baler up to the tractor, and I got down to Harley’s at 10 minutes to 5 o’clock. We had done better than I thought possible. Harley was ready and waiting for me. I went right to baling and had his small field off in less than an hour. There was an excellent crop on it, and Harley was sure relieved to have it off. As soon as I got done, he took me to the house and pulled two packages of bluegills out of the freezer. With that, I headed home. And that night it poured, but we were sure happy because we had our hay all off. For supper the next day, we had bluegills, compliments of Harley.


A lot of people think they can live their lives just for self; if they hurt others, it’s no big deal to them as long as they profit by it. But nothing could be further from the truth. It will cost them.

The Bible tells us there is a judgment day coming for everyone, where we will each give an accounting for all that we have done. For those who have not followed the Lord and His ways, it will cost them dearly. But for the righteous, for those who have followed their Lord, it will be an eternity with Him beyond their best dreams. I learned a long time ago that the best, most rewarding life is one fully given to Jesus. end mark

Tom Heck, his wife, Joanne, and their two children own and operate a 35-cow dairy farm in Wisconsin. Email Tom Heck or order his book at Tom Heck Farm.