Who Is Your Hero? ~Ode to a Hard-Working Farm-Mama~ {Who Happens To Be Mine}

5 Flares Filament.io 5 Flares ×

It’s 10:18pm. I’m watching the local (MN) news. I see two Wisconsin-born newscaster-girls who had never experienced dairy farming, they had  heard of something called, “agri-tourism” (I heard it first tonight myself!) and so they took a trip to a farm. They rented a place on a dairy farm to experience Dairy Farm life.

At the top of the story, I heard them say “It’s a vacation.”

I know they couldn’t hear me, but I said, “WHAT??” right out loud to the TV.

And then I added, “Farming is a lot of things, but being a vacation is not one of them!”  I wondered if I might private message them this important news flash . . .

I know it is no vacation because it was my life. I had my first job at age 5. And nearly every single day for the rest of my growing up years, I hung out with holsteins or hay . . . working.

At the end of the news story, Julie and Bel agreed with me. Farming is no walk in the park. {I guess it works to talk to the TV!}

I am going to highlight just one of my heroes tonight.

My mom.

For most of her married life, her title was “wife of a dairy farmer, mother to 5, 6, 7, 8 . . . and eventually . . . a dozen children”.  And, as things go,  children get married and beget their own children.

Now Momoftwelve is grandmother to 35-or-so grands (I’ve lost count!), and great-grandma to four and two on the way. (Three of them are from my offspring.—Yes, I am a granny!)

Mama’s life changed drastically in June. My Daddy-lost his life due to a car accident. I can’t believe it’s been four months already . . . And she still has all these people to love and try not to worry about on her own. Without a man to consult with, to console her with his support.

Mama is a woman of faith who loves God’s word and pursues Him in prayer. And the Lord is sustaining her in her time of sorrow. But it’s hard. They were married over 51 years.

I don’t think there was anything more important to me growing up (until I had a boyfriend ~ ) as pleasing my daddy. It is quite likely that I spent more time with him than with my mom. Being firstborn, I was his “right-hand-man” from an early age-since there were NO men in our family until child #6! My sisters followed suit in being worker-girls . . . {And he did hire young men, often cousins in the summer time to help}

Six Leroux kids

My daily life consisted of afternoon chores, like feeding and cleaning up after the black and whites. And then back out to the barn after supper, milking the 45-or-so holsteins.

In the summer -it was way more fun and smelled SO much better:  much time was spent cutting, raking, baling and stacking hay. (You might notice that I’m an HSP)

{But it’s not like we got out of milking-cow tails hitting our eyeballs swinging at flies, hooves stepping on our less-covered feet, and sweat spilling behind knees squatting in the heat of a 90 degree day in a barn full of hot animals . . .

And as hard as I worked, as much as I “gave up” or didn’t do in after-school activities or hanging with friends, my mom gave up more and worked harder than anyone I know -besides Dad.

She planted and maintained a huge garden, canned tons (I remember a count of 100+ quarts) of beans. Often also peaches, pears, beats, etc. And we cut and froze unending bags of sweetcorn. The countertops were often full of quart jars as we  awaited their seal-ensuring “pop”!

And one of my favorites: the line-up of dozens of fragrant loaves of bread, fresh from the oven, reflecting light from their brushed-with-butter shine.

I wont forget the dance costumes every spring, embellished by her hands.

Mom took us to dance lessons, and the neighbors too! And every spring she sewed sequins on our costumes, and spray-painted our tap shoes. dancing girls 2 Dancing girls in curls

She also baled hay many summers, plowing fields in spring, and milking cows every day -even when she was 9 months pregnant!

Every Sunday, us all piling (literally) in the back of the station wagon, we would go to church. With polished, matching shoes! And we even still had all our hair! (Though as the photo suggests, we may have been quite sober…) 😉

sober church goers

Sometimes hairs curled! And Mama’s up in a fancy french twist.

I enjoyed watching her with hair.

My hair, my sisters’ hair, and also setting both of my grandmas’ hair -all pinned up in curlers every week, and the cool salon-style hair dryer-bent over their heads in our kitchen. And then, she’d comb them out pretty. I remember their smiles. Their ‘thank-you’s. Three girls

Besides putting the pink-foam curlers up in our hair, she would often polish our shoes, and sew pretty dresses.

Not every weekend, but just imagine yourself readying more than two or three children every Sunday!

Mom’s heart, motivated by love for her God, and her family, also lived in service to friends.

During one season, there were many nights that she would be called to take “Aunt Audrey” to detox. Audrey wasn’t really our aunt, but we called her that because before mom married dad, she babysat Audrey’s children.

And the morning after the call, we’d hear stories of what that family endured from Audrey’s alcoholism. And we witnessed my mom sowing love into the lives of Audrey’s children over the years. One of them, closest to my age connected with me during the loss of my dad, and expressed her love for my mom. Her thankfulness for her presence in their lives during those difficult years.

Yes, my mom is one of my heroes. She exemplifies a heart with proper priorities. Because of her faith in God and her love for His word, she loves her family well, and reaches out to others who need to know the love of God through His people.

My Mama Now . . .  and then:

mama2 mama Mom and Dad

This week’s topic at #TheLoft is “HEROES” . . . . Who are your heroes? Let us know by linking up your blog at the bottom of this post!

The Loft is open, come on up!


The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
Graphic by Kerry Messer


Hi Lofters! We have two winners from last week’s giveaway! Sheila, who left a comment on Leah’s blog; and Trina, who sent in her comment via email. Please email Arabah Joy at arabahjoy(at)gmail.(com) with your mailing address so she can get the books out to you. Thank you!

About #TheLoft

The Loft is the place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth.

Each week we provide a topic to start the conversation.

Grab your coffee mug and come on up! Hang out for a bit. We betcha you’ll be glad you did.

When you link up at The Loft, your link will appear on 5 blogs! We’d love for you to visit The Loft co-hosts and know who we are:


Now it’s time to link up!

This Week’s Topic: “Heroes” (Do you have a hero? Did you have one when you were growing up? Do you think it’s important to have others we look up to? Why or why not? We look forward to reading about your heroes!)

Next Week’s Topic: “Potluck” (It’s that time again! Link up a favorite post you’ve shared on your blog and surprise us!)

Add Your Link Here:


 Loading InLinkz ...


5 Flares Twitter 2 Facebook 3 Pin It Share 0 Email -- Google+ 0 LinkedIn 0 Filament.io 5 Flares ×


  1. Ooooooh I love this! I can relate to so much of it, as I also grew up near our family’s dairy farm. I’m going to send my mom the link to this post. 🙂 Our farm was 1.5 miles away—my grandparents lived on it and my dad and uncles and brothers all worked on it. I had seasons where I milked cows, but mainly helped my mom in the house—including all that canning. This is a wonderful tribute to your mom. 🙂

    • Kathy Schwanke

      Thanks Karen. Farm life truly has it’s rich gifts for our development and lessons to live from for life.
      Glad you stopped by. 🙂

  2. Kathy your momma is beautiful and wow, 12 children, whew…she was a hard working gal! Must be where you get your spunk from huh? Thanks for sharing and sorry for your loss of dad!
    Blessings to you!

  3. What a lovely post! And marvelous heritage! Your mom is a special lady, and I know full well how hard farm work is! The part about the agriturismo made me chuckle. They are quite a big thing over here. It’s always made me wonder how people can be clever enough to get others to pay to go and stay with them, AND do their farmwork for them!! Guess I’ll have to change my houseguest rules. 😉 As for me, when I pay to stay in a place, I plan to take it easy!!

    • Kathy Schwanke

      Thank you Sheila, (you apparently are a farm-girl yourself!) … and I know! It had me thinking of putting up a cabin here at our place and inviting people to help with landscaping!

      And I’m with you-vacation is for rest. 🙂

  4. Hi Kathy,
    Loved hearing about your farm life growing up, your amazing mom, and her dedication to live the gospel. What a different life it must have been to grow up on a farm, what a blessing too. Us city gals have it a whole lot easier! But hard work is so much better for ya.

  5. I love this post! Your mom is beautiful and dairy farms are definitely hard work! (I talk to the TV too, on occasion…!) 😉 It’s so fun to look through your pictures and get to know you just a little better! Thanks for sharing your hero with us!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *