To those considering farming.
Just with any job – and actually anything in life – there are pros and cons to it. Farming is no exception. I’m sure you probably are just thinking of the obvious – that farmers are at the mercy of the weather. While that is certainly true, there is more farming than just that.
Farmers get pooped on.
Farmers get peed on.
Farmers also deal with vomit and other bodily functions on an almost daily basis.
They get up with the sun, but don’t normally get to go to sleep with the sun.
The reason? A lamb isn’t eating well. A cow is about to give birth. The steer escaped. They have 150 chicks coming in the morning, and there isn’t a spot ready for them. The field needs to be planted before the next storm hits, even if that means staying up till midnight.
And they deal with a death on a regular basis.
Since moving onto our farm, we’ve lost 4 cats, 1 piglet, 1 dog, 25+ ducklings, 2 goslings, 4 turkeys, and too many chicks and chickens to count. 3/4 of those deaths were caused by animals living on our farm.
Our neighbors lost an entire pond of catfish in a matter of days.
They also deal with the death of trees, crops, and vegatables & fruits.
They spend more money on gas than you could ever imagine possible.
Frustration is a frequent visitor to a farm. Tractors, trucks, and vehicles break down. Tools also break or stop working. The ground can be too wet, too dry, too acidic, or too rocky. Some years find you with a shortage of water for crops, or hay for your animals. Other years hit you with storm after storm. Again, other years, like this year, find you with unpredictable weather. One day it’s 85 degrees and sunny, and the next it’s stormy and 38 degrees.
They break their backs planting seeds, just to have something like the chickens accidentally getting lose and destroying your hard work.
They miss events that are special to them, because an animal is sick and needs nursing, or the cows need to be milked. When farming is your livelihood, you can’t just take a break whenever you’d like.
Farming is hard. On everyone and everything.
Besides becoming a mother or father, it’s one of the most rewarding jobs ever.
The wonder of seeing your siblings, children, or grandchildren’s faces light up with joy when they get to ride the tractor.
Looking out a window, and being able to say that everything you can see, is yours. The cows grazing happily on the new spring grass. The lambs and calves bouncing around the field. The eccentricity of some animals – like a goose that likes to be petted, a cat that nurses on a dog (that has never had puppies!), and the miniture horse who likes to chase and bite the cows.
All the babies! Calves, lambs, foals, and kittens, all hungrily nursing on their mothers. The chicks, ducklings and poults, scratching and searching for food. All bring laughter to your life, and remind you of the miracle that life truly is.
The sound of rain on a roof, or the laughter of a child running free.
Seeing that green of new life after a cold winter.
The sense of home you feel when you go to town and everyone knows your name
The taste home raised bacon. That’s almost a good enough reason to farm there.
I can’t even begin to describe the amazment that I feel when I step outside and see millions upon millions of bright, twinkling stars.
The relief and utter happiness at having neighbors that truly care about and for you.
That first meal evey year, when everything on your table is something you grew or raised. There is such a feeling of accomplishment.
The coolness of the creek after a long day of work.
And the friendly competition that develops between kids, whether that be growing the biggest watermelon or hog, seeing who can milk the fastest, or who can hit the most targets.
And farming is necessary! If there weren’t people like these, you wouldn’t have any food.
So, if you are thinking about farming, here is what I think.
It will be THE hardest thing you have ever done. But it is worth it. Every minute of it.