By Kim Baldwin, McPherson County farmer and rancher
Late summer on our central Kansas farm has consisted of keeping our crops irrigated, checking cattle, working ground and the start of fall harvest.
Since the kids are back in school, my main focus has been monopolizing large tracks of uninterrupted time during the day working in our office while my husband is out and about checking fields, switching water gates and running equipment.
In the mornings, my husband usually heads out in the side-by-side to check irrigation and switch water gates while I get the kids ready for school. During the summer mornings, he’d usually have one of the kids with him helping and keeping him company. Since school has started, my husband’s main helper is now our farm dog, Rosie.
Rosie has a constant known presence on our farm. Whether she’s barking at mysterious creatures in the night, welcoming visitors to our home with dirty pawprints, dumping out trashcans or harassing the barn cats, we can’t help but love that dog. Rosie is truly a gem of a farm dog and definitely takes all of her jobs very seriously.
When she was a puppy, we wired a plastic egg crate onto the front of the four-wheeler that she’d ride in while checking irrigation.
She would trot with pride behind her humans and remind us that she was ready to go to work as we’d pick her up and place her in her little crate. With her two little paws propped up on the edge of her box, you’d see her nose pointed high sniffing the air and her ears blowing in the wind as my husband would zoom down irrigation roads.
When she no longer fit in her crate, she’d ride behind the driver. Something she still does to this day.
Rosie is a staple in the farm truck when my husband or I are driving. Wherever we go, Rosie generally goes as well. She’s claimed the front passenger seat as her own and will begrudgingly make allowances for others to sit in her seat by scooting over to the middle and sitting right next to the driver only if the passenger will give her scratches behind her ears.
When we take the side-by-side out to check cattle, Rosie will only allow a passenger her seat if she can still either prop her front paws up onto the dashboard to get a full view of what’s ahead of her or if she can lay underneath the passenger’s legs and stick her head out the side of the UTV.
Rosie also rides in combines and tractors for hours with one of her humans. One might see her on the lookout for wildlife to bark at while properly sitting at attention in the buddy seat as the tractor makes a turn at the edge of the field.
While sitting in the buddy seat, she’s also been known to place her paw on my husband’s leg while he drives a combine for hours keeping him company. When she needs a break, she’ll just jump down to the floor and take a nap while enjoying the cold air coming from the vent.
She’s entertainment, protection, motivation and a companion all balled up into one large ball of fur.
From checking the irrigation in the mornings to harvesting fall crops late into the night, our Rosie is living her best dog life this fall on the farm.
“Insight” is a weekly column published by Kansas Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization whose mission is to strengthen agriculture and the lives of Kansans through advocacy, education and service.