Chickens. Pigs. Cows.
Three words that inspire another word in the minds of many people: farm.
Yet livestock does not a farm make. It's true that there are some places where such animals are raised and bred to lay eggs, be eaten, or give milk but the stereotypical view of a farm is not always completely correct. See, I know. I work on a farm. And the three words that make me think of a farm are as follows:
Hay. Potatoes. Straw.
At Dibble Farms in Layton, crops are planted, tended, raised and harvested with care and hard work. As workers, we deal with 80-pound bales of hay, 50- to 100-pound sacks of potatoes, row upon row of merciless puncture weeds, and seemingly endless fields of peas. But horses have to eat, potatoes don't pick themselves, cornfields don't magically stay weeded, and, as far as I know, peas haven't learned how to jump off the plant and into a bucket just yet.
One of the best things about working on this farm is that owner Cleve Dibble trusts greatly in the help of teen employees.
"I look for employees that are dependable, and are there when I need them there," says Dibble. "A good employee doesn't watch the clock, but just does the work. He shows initiative and wants to work. He is happy and pleasant, and not a drudgery."
However, there are some things about the job that aren't too wonderful.
"Sitting for hours on end picking vegetables," is one of them, says Conner Knowlton, a Northridge senior.
Braydon Barrett, a Clearfield junior, agrees, adding, "The worst part for me is harvesting rows of crops that are a mile long."
Dibble himself says that "the long hours, and working in the heat and dust" can be physically draining. He also says farming is sometimes a gamble, and that one can "never be sure until the crop is in the barn, so to speak."
Nevertheless, there's always a bright side, and Justin Berndt, a Layton High junior, says that the best part of working on the farm is that it's making him stronger and giving his life purpose during the summer. Knowlton says that he likes joking around and having fun with his coworkers.
"How many jobs are there where you can interact with other people, outside, in the fresh air, and get a good workout?" Barrett says.
For Dibble, "I enjoy seeing the fruits of my labors, along with the process of planning and preparing. I like thinking of what crop to plant and where it will be most productive as well as applying up-to-date farming practices."
As a former principal, Dibble relates farming to education: "When I used to see the students in the fall, I would relate that to the seeds I would plant in the spring for the farm. These students would plant their seeds in the fall, and would harvest their rewards in the spring."
Another great part about working at Dibble Farms is the opportunity to work alongside a great, honorable man. Besides being a church leader and recently retired principal, Dibble is honest, hardworking and a wonderful mentor. Having worked the fields from his childhood, he is a great source of help and teaching.
Knowlton says that if Dibbles sees workers having troubles "he helps (us) learn from our mistakes."
For me, this man has been one of the most influential people in my life, teaching me the value of hard work and discipline.
Although working on the farm can be difficult, it is ultimately extremely rewarding. Farm work teaches hard work, an art which, in my opinion, is lost these days. It teaches perseverance and discipline, along with teamwork and trust. And sometimes it's nice to get away from the comforts and luxuries of the indoors and get outside to haul a few rows of hay.
So keep your jobs behind the counter at McDonald's, or at the local Walmart. I'll stick with the farm, where I learn and grow a little more every time I go.
Kimball Gardner is a senior at Clearfield High School who enjoys reading, playing basketball and listening to music. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OVERHEARD DURING FARM WORK:
* "Should we break it to the new guys that this is the light hay?" "This is light hay?"
* "My hat is so dirty it looks like it has eyes."
* "We need to find a use for puncture weeds so we can get rich."
* "It looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa ... except it's made out of hay."
* "It's getting worse. And by worse I mean better."
* "Dude! We should totally fill that water truck up with gas and blow it up!"
* "How did you spend your Friday night?" "I was defragmenting my hard drive."
* "You just lost your water bottle privileges."
* "Cody, you're in the way." "But in an alternate reality I'm not. You are."
* "I think that pumpkin fractured my wrist."
* "Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and nuclear weapons. Sometimes shotguns."