Wednesday, September 13, 2017

We Bought a Farm: A Little Break

I'm taking a break right now. My hurricane-fleeing family are still at my house. But I'm not. I'm on vacation. Taking a bit of a break -- recovering from the farming life with laying around and ... well ... not farming. Not homeschooling. Not being in charge. Or at least, not in charge of a farm. As is often the case, I don't talk about where I am until I am not there anymore. Just an attempt to maintain a slight bit of protection and safety for my family.

But while I am gone, I am reading a book called The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball. It is the story of a city girl who married a farmer. I am only a few chapters in, but I am enthralled, and I find myself so incredibly moved by her words.

And I moved because, I realize, they are my words too.

As much as you transform the land by farming, farming transforms you. It seeps into your skin along with the dirt that abides permanently in the creases of your thickened hands, the beds of your nails ... farming takes root in you and crowds out other endeavors, makes them seem paltry. Your acres become a world. And maybe you realize that it is beyond those acres or in your distant past, back in the ream of TiVo and cublicles, of take-out food and central heat and air, in that country where discomfort has nearly disappeared, that you were deprived. Deprived of the pleasure of desire, of effort and difficulty and meaningful accomplishment. A farm asks, and if you don't give enough, the primordial forces of death and wilderness will overrun you. So naturally you give, and then you give some more, and then you give to the point of breaking, and then and only then it gives back, so bountifully it overfills not only your root cellar but also that parched and weedy little patch we call the soul.

I laugh about the fact that I am a farmer's wife.

Okay, okay.

That I am a farmer. 

But even though I have many other dreams and things I want to do (write a book and travel more just to name a few), I realize that I could never not be doing this farming thing anymore. I no longer belong in the suburbs. My husband never belonged there. But I did. And now? Well now, I don't belong there either. And I can never return.

Here's what Wendi and Kristin learned during my/her transformation:

How was it possible that this abundance had always existed, and I had not known it? I felt, of all damn things, safe. Anything could happen in the world. Planes could crash into buildings, jobs could disappear, people could be thrown out of their apartments, oil could run dry, but here, at least, we would eat. 

The farmer she married?

He didn't like the word work. That's a pejorative. He preferred to call it farming, as in I farmed for fourteen hours today. He did not own a television or radio and figured he was probably one of the last people in the country to know about September 11. Still doesn't listen to the news. It's depressing, and there's nothing you can do about most of it anyway. You have to think locally, act locally, and his definition of local didn't extend much beyond the fifteen acres of land he was farming. The thing was to try to understand how you were affecting the world around you. 


Of course, as a Christian, I would sprinkle my desire to LOVE people into those sentences -- to discuss that my other great calling is to simply show people love. But Kristin's words are my words. They are exactly how I am feeling. I am trying to change my world just one 96-acre farm at a time! That's me! Just focusing on whether we are recycling and how much waste we are accumulating and whether or not we have too much garbage ourselves.

Her husband had ditched cookbooks and gone freelance, adhering to a few simple principles: keep your knives sharp, taste everything, and don't be stingy with the salt. His love of food was part of what eventually led him to farming. The only way he'd be able to afford the quality of food he craved, he said, was to become a banker or grow it himself, and he couldn't sit still long enough to be a banker.

Egads! I think she married my husband!!!

I still have many more pages to read. But for now may I tell you that this vacation, while physically helping me recover from the life of a farmer, is emotionally helping me recover as well. I've struggled recently. Why are we doing this? Should we do this? And mostly: This is really hard. 

But the truth is the same no matter which way I look at it.

This is the life we want to live!! We are raising our food and children on our farm.

And we wouldn't have it any other way!

1 comment:

CanDoMom said...

Yay for you!
You need that break....and I mean you NEED it.
Been there. Get it....well, the part about all the responsibility and work.

You need that break for so many reasons, but one is that if you don't it can come to a place of burn out.
Been there. Done that, too.

I wasn't a city girl....I was a farm girl that married a city guy that likes his space (not the same thing as a farmer!).
We did the farm thing....well mostly I did the farm thing while hubby was away working (and in those earlier years gone for a work week at a time). Finally became overwhelmed and everything and everyone suffered. Not good for anyone. Have it up for a while...went back to a farm...Long story, but we've just now loved from our second farm to a few acres...expecting my 10th and at this point I'm okay with that for now.

What I really wanted to say was that you are changing and growing and benefiting from this for sure, but your kids will benefit the most!

I look at my kids (esp the older ones) and see growing up working and being on a farm has been such a great blessing to them in their formative years compared to their peers....even far above just being homeschooled. My kids are hard workers, quite talented equipment operators (some more than others), and great problem solvers (okay, again some more than others!). They are mature in many ways beyond their years (by today's standards) and those out in the world now on their own have a great reputation and are well respected for their work ethic, good attitudes, and more. They catch on quickly and are willing to dig in and move mountains when other kids their age (not all, but many) are just getting by with the least they can do. They've learned some leadership skills and how to work with others.

There's more, but you get the point I'm sure...

Things will get somewhat easier as your precious little ones grow. They will rise up and not only be a blessing to you, but many others. Your arrows will be sharp. They will meet with the enemy and not be moved.

It IS hard sometimes (if not every day!) now, tired hard....but it'll be worth it. I know that you know this....and can see much blessing in it now...
I promise that you will be even more blessed and even astounded as your children grow.

You certainly have it are raising children...first and foremost. There are many ways to do that well. Farm life is one of the best.

Good job, Momma. Hang in there...and do get that rest for your body and soul....and don't forget to take time for just you and hubby. Your children need to see that, too. You need it, too. More than you know.

Hugs and blessings!

Kim Eskola