It's my birthday today - Heartstone Farm

It's my birthday today

By Dan Kaplan

Today is my birthday. It’s one of the big ones.

 Today, I’ve reached this milestone: I’ve traveled 70 times around the sun.

 This afternoon I’m going to grill some of our Ribeyes and have a party with my family at the farm. My kids will be here as will all my siblings, traveling from as far away as Israel and California.

 I feel honored, and lucky, and reflective. And I don’t feel 70. 70 is old, but I don’t feel old.

 I read a study recently where people were asked “How old do you feel?” The researchers found people consistently answered with an age that was about 20 percent younger than they actually were.

 That feels about right, I guess. I feel like I’m 56.

 It has been my life-long dream to be a farmer. When I was in grade school, living in Topeka, Kansas, my best friend’s grandparents owned a small farm about an hour away. Every Sunday, after church, he went to his grandparents' farm.

 I went with him every Sunday for years.

 The Ault farm was in rural Kansas. The family had homesteaded the farm in the 1800s. By the time I was visiting, in the mid-1960s, there was still no indoor plumbing.  The Aults were perhaps in their sixties when I was there. They were down-to-earth, hard-working farmers. They had a purpose and a mission - which they didn’t speak out loud. Their actions spoke the words. They worked hard because that’s what farmers do - because there’s no other way to survive on a farm.

 Hard work with a purpose - and a lot of love.

 I fell in love with farming on the Ault farm in Kansas and decided that’s what I wanted to do. It wasn’t a concrete plan. It was more like a desire or an itch that lives in the background of your life and never goes away.

 For the next 50 or so years, farming was just a dream. I was a successful entrepreneur, involved in media and technology businesses.  I raised a family and paid my mortgage and college tuitions.

 Ten years ago, with my kids grown, and having sold my last business and no new ventures on the horizon, Tara and I bought this farm.

 At 60, when people asked me what I do I could finally answer, “I’m a farmer.” It made me smile to say those words out loud.

 Now, at 70, I wake up every day with a passion and a purpose. And also, with a list of things that cannot be put off. The animals must be cared for every day.

 At 70, I have never played a round of golf. The word “retirement” isn’t one I have ever used.

 At 70, I have figured out that a pretty good way to not feel your age is to spend your days doing what you love, what you’re passionate about.

 For me, that’s raising good food for people. Feeding people feels like important work.

 For me that’s a good way to not feel my age.

 Maybe something I’ve learned that’s worth sharing is: it’s never too late to make your dream come true.

 Thanks for supporting my dream.

1 Comment

  • Dan, that’s a pretty inspiring story! So glad it has worked out for you to do what you love. I attended some farm informational meetings with you 10 or 15 years ago. I grew up on a dairy farm in South Paris, and we now operate it as a beef farm. We are You are a good writer, and apparently now a good farmer too! Maybe we can meet up sometime.

    David H Shaw

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Shop Heartstone Farm