Thursday, May 21, 2009

Take it From Me: Lessons Learned 4

This is one of the lessons that I have really begun to appreciate the deeper we get into our farm. The lesson that I have learned is that farming is not a solitary occupation, or at least it should not be a solitary thing. Really I can't do this on my own and I don't even think I should be trying to do it on my own. In fact I'm I think the solitary society that we have created recently in our American culture is kind of not the right thing...

The biggest part of my help comes in the form of my wife (and even my kiddos). She helps with the fencing, getting escaped animals back in, daily chores when I'm busy, encouraging me, helping with the farm plans, and so much more. Our extended family has also been a huge help and encouragement as we set out on this journey.

But, the help doesn't end there. I think one of the greatest things about farming is and should be the community that comes with it. I know that I have received amazing amounts of help from my friends and neighbors and I am beginning to have opportunities to share the love. Right now I'm on the receiving end of so much help and I am very thankful for it.

As we grow on the farm it is my desire to continue the tradition of community that has been a cornerstone of agriculture of centuries. It just works...


Yeoman said...

Excellent observation!

Indeed, in farming and ranching, you can't get buy without the help of your neighbors and fellows, unless I suppose you're so wealthy that you can hire an army of help (in which case your farm wouldn't be paying for itself).

As I'm much more familiar with ranching as opposed to farming, I'd note that I think that this is even truer in ranching. Certain events, such as gatherings, trailing, and branding, require a lot of help from your neighbors.

This is, I'd note, one of the really positive things about agriculture, and something that stands completely in contrast with other aspects of American life. No farmer or rancher really is in "competition" with others doing the same thing, as we all rely on each other. After all, could you imagine one law firm helping out another, or one business helping out an other in this fashion? Probably not.

Katie B Rose said...

Exactly. When Devin and I tell our friends that we want to become farmers, in part, because we want to establish community, they tell us we are wrong. They regale us with stories about farmers who work long hours and hardly see their children and who live far from neighbors outside of town.

We try to explain that we don't plan to follow the "conventional" farming model, which can separate farmers from their families, but rather want to have a family farm; our friends, however, cannot imagine what we mean.

I very much look forward to having my husband around more once we become farmers. I look forward to working alongside him and watching him teach our children practical skills each day. It sounds to me like a very fulfilling life.

Yeoman said...

"They regale us with stories about farmers who work long hours and hardly see their children and who live far from neighbors outside of town."

It's baffling to me that people think that.

One of the things I've always been envious of my full time rancher farmer in law about is that he has been able to work with his children. I always hoped that I'd be able to be a full time stockman for the same reason, so that I could work with my son an daughter.

If you really want a job where you are away from your kids be a lawyer. You leave early in the morning, come home well after an eight hour day, and the job stays with you when you are home, so you are remote. Every lawyer's spouse notes that.

Indeed, people are so foolish about this topic. A lot of those "good jobs" that people aspire to have, or aspire their children to have, actually are of this nature. They aren't good jobs to occupy, and they aren't good lifestyles to have.

Anonymous said...

My father often says, "There is no such thing as a one man farm". So true!

Tim said...

On behalf of the "extended," I say thanks for letting us be a part of your family's adventures!!! I even got to swing a hammer. :)

James Blackwelder said...

I just got 14 arcres in Alabama and am putting a self-sufficient homestead on it. I was there working on the driveway, which was very rutted up and muddy from all of the rain, and before I know it there 3 or 4 neighbors around askin to help out and offering a cold drink. It really made me happy to know that there is help around and from people who have done this for a long time.

In an age of life in a city, where you can walk 15 blocks and never look in someones eyes, or drop an armload of books and people are aggrivated with you blocking the way, it is nice to see people help each other. Its the way it is supposed to be. Thank God I don't have to do it alone.

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