Conversations and Calculations
One late afternoon, Zilpha Anne found her son, John Sterns, poring over a table filled with ledgers, scribbling notes with a furrowed brow. The warm orange glow of the setting sun seeped through the wooden slats of the window, casting long shadows across the room.
“John,” Zilpha began, pulling up a chair beside him. “You’ve been at this for hours. You need to take a break.”
John looked up, offering a small smile. “I’m alright, Mother,” he replied, his gaze returning to the ledgers. “There’s just so much to consider.”
Zilpha picked up one of the ledgers, her eyes scanning the numbers and notes John had meticulously written. “These are the prices of our products,” she murmured, more to herself than to him.
John nodded. “I’ve been looking at our income from the past few years – the dairy products, the pork, the wood. We have a substantial income from the dairy. Cheese and butter alone added to more than $600 last year.”
“But the prices are not always stable, are they?” Zilpha asked, her brows knitting together as she tried to understand the numbers.
“True,” John agreed. “The market prices fluctuate, and we have to adapt. But we’ve been doing well. The dairy is our main source of income. Last year, we had 34 cows on the farm, and our cheese even got second prize at the county fair.”
Zilpha smiled at that, a warm glow of pride swelling within her. “And the potatoes, the oats, the wheat, the corn…they add to our income too.”
“Yes,” John nodded. “We produced 470 bushels of potatoes last year. If we sold them at 25 cents per bushel, which was the current price, that would have added $117.50 to our farm income.”
Zilpha Anne looked at her son, her heart swelling with pride. His keen understanding of their farm’s economics and his ability to handle such complex calculations and market trends had become an asset. Yet, she couldn’t help but worry about his pressure on himself.
“You’re doing an excellent job, John,” Zilpha said, gently squeezing his hand. “But remember, we’re in this together. Your father and I, Levi, we’re here to help too. You don’t have to shoulder all this alone.”
John met her gaze, his expression softening. “I know, Mother,” he assured her. “And I appreciate it. I just want to do my part to keep our farm thriving.”
And with that, they returned to their calculations, side by side, as the sun set outside, casting a warm glow on the ledger-filled table.