So You Want to be a Farmer

hoeing the fields closeupOf course it’s no secret that I want to be a farmer. Rick and I joke about it almost daily, and, very un-jokingly, we work hard putting up produce from the CSA, growing our own in the garden, raising the chickens and generally learning all we can about living on the land.

Getting chickens was a baby step. We started with four and moved up to seven. They eat a lot. And they poop a lot. And for the first year, we didn’t get a lot of eggs, but spent a lot of money on building them a coop. Now we know more, and we’re getting lots of eggs, and though they’re messy and dig holes, we are glad to have them, and thinking of better ways to do things with them.

Part of the reason why we decided to be working members on Monroe’s farm, was so that I could get a taste of what went into this pipe dream. Every week last year, Rick sent me off to Kersey with the admonition to pay close attention to what Jerry said, and to ask him about ______. He wanted me to pick Jerry’s brain weekly. Did he grow Brussels sprouts? When did he plant potatoes? How do you know corn is ready to harvest?

A week or so ago, a working member friend, Tracy, posted an article about taking A Farm Vacation on her Facebook page. At the moment I first saw it, I was tired from processing food and working, and thought, “Vacation! What? Farming’s hard work!” And it is. But after the trip to Palisade last weekend, I’ve changed my mind. I want to take this vacation myself.

Henry in the orchard 2I really love having Henry (and now Emmett too) out there on the farm. While his biggest thrill is playing with the other kids, catching toads and feeding the pigs, I have the opportunity to remind him that those pigs will become pork chops, and those toads eat the bugs that destroy crops. He gets excited when we move from the barn to the fields, and he plays behind us in the rows, eating melons, catching “buggies” and pulling weeds. He is gaining an understanding of where food comes from. And this means so much to me.

A few months ago, I read a blog post called This Place We Know by Sharon Astyk. Sharon is a beautiful writer, and the post is quite long, but it really captures something. I want my children to understand where their food comes from and what happens on a farm. That a farm is more then a cutesy place where cows say moo and pigs say oink.

And I know, now days, I’m not the only one who feels this way.  Here are a couple of articles that have appeared recently on people dreaming of the simple life:

Utne Reader: The Organic Farm Fantasy Meets Reality
Mother Earth News: Skills for Farming

What about you?  Do you dream of the simple life?  Do you garden at home?  Why did you join the farm?

An excerpt from my personal blog: Schell Urban Homestead


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