A blog reader asked me why I wanted to be a farmer. She thought farming to be a dirty, smelly, tiring, sweaty, terrible job. She said she'd rather work in a nursing home (which I gather she thought was a most disgusting job) than be a farmer. What could possibly make me want to farm?
What can I say? How do I explain? Some children grow up loving animals.....flowers.....soil. Others love dolls, make-up, playing house. Yet others are fascinated with sports. Some dream of exploring, hunting, climbing huge mountains. Many nowadays are enthralled by tech stuff, computers, software.
I was a child who explored the dirt, peeking under rocks, watching worms and insects, collecting tree leaves in an album, walking barefoot in creeks looking for crawdads. Daydreams included imaginary miniature horses and dinosaurs. Yes I wanted a mini triceratops for a pet! But a stegosaurus would have done nicely too. I galloped down wooded paths on my imaginary horse. And I also planted the acorns I found in those woods. I gathered seeds in the fall and secreted them home to try sprouting them. I was fascinated by the tomatoes growing in my mother's garden. They were miracles.
I was the strange little girl that never wanted dolls, just stuffed animals and plastic animal models. I used allowance money to buy animal figurines down at the 5 & 10 store and packets of flower seeds to plant in my mother's flower beds. I read every horse book in our small library, then moved onto the dog and cat section. I also read what few books they had on gardening. I'd rather read those books than go to a movie or party.
At 12 years of age I discovered that agricultural high schools existed, my mind raced, my heart leaped! It was the first thing in my life that I desperately wanted with all my soul, mind, and body. To go to agricultural high school, how wonderful. Yes, my entire self screamed "Farming"! But alas, it was not to be.
I was not a delicate girl. I didn't like wearing dresses. I never liked make up. Frilly things didn't appeal. But I was shy and obedient, thus played the part of the beloved little daughter when I had to. But being outdoors, running and working was what I wanted. At 15 I landed my dream job....working at a veterinary hospital. It changed my life forever.
Why did I get drawn to farming and animals? I can't explain the passion. Yes, passion. That's what it is. There is no explanation or reason. It's just how I was made. It was like a smoldering ember inside the small child burst into intense flame in the teenager. And I became the flame keeper for the rest of my life.
I tried living the lifestyle of modern society......keeping up with the Joneses, living for the paycheck, climbing the social ladder, minding my public image, rubbing shoulders with the right people, wearing the fashions when necessary, attending the parties, building my material items collection, keeping house (oh, how I absolutely hated keeping house!). I wasn't good at it. Actually, I sucked, was a failure. I just can't make the connection or see the importance of it all. A suppose 75% of today's society just doesn't have appeal for me. I just simply can't connect. I'm surely an oddball.
I've always dreamed of farm stuff. My bucket list included a tractor, a rototiller, growing food, feeding people, having a greenhouse, growing flowers, raising animals, keeping livestock, have a farm. I love the feel of rich soil running through my fingers, the feel of grass on my barefeet, a spring breeze on my face. I get high on the smell of fresh mown hay, horses, flowers, autumn leaves, a tree ripened peach. The sight of germinating peas, bees working a flower, a newborn lamb make my heart sing. I find work with animals and gardens to be incredibly rewarding. I don't mind sweating, getting dirty, physical hard labor. I actually feel healthier when I'm working.
It's been a long journey. I'm now a farmer.....a small homestead farmer. Some of us are lucky enough to chase our dream, let our passion run free, embrace our life's desire. I'm a very lucky person because after a long time living my life steered by the opinions of others, I have at last chosen to become myself.
Why am I a farmer? Just because.