To those considering farming or just wondering why we want to do what we do…this post is for you.
Just like any other job – and really anything in life – there are pros and cons to it. You are probably thinking the obvious – “Farmers are at the mercy of the weather.” While that is most certainly true, there is so much more to farming than just that.
Farmers get pooped on.
Farmers get peed on.
Farmers also deal with vomit and other bodily fluids on almost a daily basis.
They get up with the sun but don’t normally get to go to bed with the sun. Why? A lamb isn’t eating well. The pigs escaped. There are 40-some chicks coming in the morning and there isn’t a spot ready for them. The trees need to be planted before the next storm hits, even if it means staying up ’till midnight.
They also deal with death on a regular basis.
In the 12 months we’ve lived on this farm we’ve lost nearly two dozen chickens and the ram we had bottle-fed since he was less than a day old.
They also deal with the death of trees, crops, fruits, and vegetables.
They spend more money on gas than most of you can even imagine.
Frustration is a frequent visitor to the farm. Tractors, trucks, and vehicles break down. Tools break, go missing, or stop working altogether. The ground can be too wet, too dry, too acidic, or too rocky. Some months find you with a shortage of water for crops or hay for animals. Other months hit you with storm after storm. Even other times you are faced with unpredictable weather. One day it’s 85 degrees and sunny and the next day it’s 38 degrees and storming.
They break their backs planting seed, only to have a torrential rain fall wash it all away.
They miss events that they were looking forward to because an animal is sick or needs attention. When farming is your livelihood, you can’t just take a break whenever you like.
Farming is hard on everyone and everything.
Besides being a mother or father, Farming is one of the most rewarding jobs ever.
The wonder of seeing your siblings (or children’s) faces light up with joy when they get to drive the tractor for the first time.
Looking out the window and being able to say that everything you can see is yours. The sheep grazing on the spring grass. The lambs playing leapfrog in the field. The pigs running in circles when they’re excited. The crazy, hilarious, unpredictable behaviour of the chickens.
All the babies! Lambs, puppies, and piglets just enjoying being alive. Chicks, ducklings, and guinea Keats all scratching in the grass for bugs. All these bring laughter to your life, and remind you of the miracle that life truly is.
The sound of rain on the roof or the sound of a child laughing as he runs through the field.
The delight in the face of a little person when they hold a chick for the first time.
Seeing the green of new life in the spring after a long winter.
The taste of home-grown bacon. That’s a good enough reason to farm in of itself.
The amazement you feel when you step outside at night and see millions of twinkling stars.
The relief of having neighbors that truly care for and about you.
The feeling of satisfaction when you set a meal on your table that wholly consists of things you and your family grew or raised.
The friendly competition that develops between siblings, whether that’s who can grow the biggest watermelon, or who can harvest the most radishes.
And think about it… Farming is necessary! If there were no farmers, there would be no food.
So, to those considering farming or a self-sustaining lifestyle, I have two words.
It will be THE hardest thing you’ve ever done. But it is worth it, Every minute of it.
p.s. Thanks to C. A. of inskirtsandwellies for your inspiration for this post!!