• Cannon Cooley

H&H Week 6: So Far to Go.

Updated: Aug 24, 2019

This is the sixth Humans&Harmonies (H&H) blog post. Every Friday, another H&H blog post will be released. Each post will have an associated song that you can watch and listen to via YouTube. The songs are written from a perspective other than my own. This week the song is written from the perspective of a farmer I stayed with in Powell Wyoming. We learned a lot from each other. Click HERE to listen to this week's song called "So Far to Go."


The lyrics to "So Far to Go." are at the bottom of this page for reference.


“Sometimes people forget how little leverage us farmer’s have. I can’t control the prices we sell our crops at, and I can’t control the prices of our inputs — like tractor’s, fuel, water, and the like. I don’t think there is another industry that takes on as much risk as the local farmer. We have to borrow A LOT of money every year from our local bank, just to get the season started. Some years we can make more than the loan, but most years we just barely make it, or we lose money. It’s not that I don’t like what Trump’s trying to do with these tariff trade wars, but man they keep my prices so volatile that I have absolutely no clue how each year is going to go. The only thing I can do is focus on taking care of my land the best I can, every single day. So that’s what I do. And I pray.”


Lyle working in his fields -- watching carefully for rattlesnakes!

I didn’t really know what to expect. A high school friend’s mom had set me up with a place to stay in Powell Wyoming — just east of Cody Wyoming. It was a farm run by Lyle Evelo, and his wife, Vony. I drove into the driveway not knowing where to park amongst the tractors and other machinery, let alone knowing how to connect with these people. I had never been on a real farm for more than a few field-trip hours. Luckily for me, they were some of the most friendly people I had ever met.


I knew we would disagree on some things — I am a young graduate from the left-leaning UW-Madison; a product of the safe suburbs of the midwest. These two grandparent farmers grew up in the open lands of North Dakota. They ended up settling in the desert wrapped inside the Bighorn and Absaroka Mountain ranges in northern Wyoming. They needed to hunt bears to keep their crops and livestock safe. I wanted to see a bear for the exciting experience, and besides, I loved Winnie the Pooh growing up, why would I want to hurt a bear?


The farm dog has more jobs than just being cute and cuddly, he has to protect the farm from other animals!

Vony cooked fantastic meals while Lyle worked long hours on the farm. We would eat together for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, often discussing local politics. It was clear to me that they were trying to understand this younger generation that I am a part of. They were asking really good questions — questions that tested my finance and economics degrees. In turn, I was trying to understand them.


Vony and I spent a lot of time together — she wanted me to see everything I could in the area. As it turns out, Heart Mountain is full of history. Not a five minute drive from the farm stands the Japanese Internment Camp museum. We spent hours there. We learned all about a section of history that was glazed over in my high school classes.


Heart Mountain was the site of a Japanese Internment Camp during WWII. These are some of the barrix that still stand.

I am leaving with a different perspective on “farm life” than I came in with. The song “So Far to Go” is my attempt to write from Lyle’s perspective. It tries to touch on his values of freedom, respect for the land, and personal responsibility. Everyday, he gets up early, cooks his eggs, puts on his boots, and works hard on his land. In the winter, he attends professional farmer conferences to try to learn new ways of farming, which he actually implements. He even squeezed in time to try to learn from me -- a member of a younger generation that he has trouble understanding. This is where we both recognized that we have a long life of learning to go!









Lyrics:


wake up everyday with the sun

crack some eggs, breakfast for one

slip on these old dusty kicks

father always said it’d be like this


staring out at my range

I wouldn’t trade this for change


when it comes down to it all

gotta work so hard, and love on and on

and I thought I knew everything there is to know

but I’ve got so far to go

I’m farmer’s man with a young boy’s soul


I tell my men what to do

I’ve got their back, they’ve got mine too

slip off these old dusty kicks

father always told me it wasn’t a good day ’til you needed rest


staring out at my range

I wouldn’t trade this for change


when it comes down to it all

gotta work so hard and love on and on

and I thought I knew everything there is to know

but I’ve got so far to go

I’m farmer’s man with a young boy’s soul

and I’ve got so far to go



One of the neighboring farms recycle old farm equipment by making them into art!

#cannoncooley #sofartogo #HandH #singersongwriter #originalsong

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