I call us farmers. But that's a stretch. My husband has a well-paying full-time job off the property that pays all our bills. He supports (nearly) nine people on that salary.
The farm is, at best, a hobby. We don't make any money off the farm. And we don't depend on it to live. Our goal, every month, is to simply break even.
That's all we are trying to do.
And in six years, we've never done that.
And yet, it is actually the fact that we don't completely depend on this farm for our income that I feel I am most able to share about our life here. This thing is soooo hard ... and we don't have the pressure of "paying the bills" hanging over us.
If we had that, the pressure would be leaps and bounds ahead of where it is now.
And yet the pressure, the mess, the pace, the push ... it is constantly present.
Every year, as summer begins to pop its head up, the pressure becomes greater. We move from one job (that isn't quite finished but finished enough to do what it needs to do) to another job. Messes are left where they are -- with promises to "clean that up" on a day when we don't have something else to do.
Except there is always something else to do.
There's a four-wheeler sitting in the middle of our pastures right now. Have you ever driven by an old farm and seen junky farm equipment sitting hither and thither? Have you ever thought, why don't they get that cleaned up?
I'll tell you why. It isn't because of laziness. It's because of time. It's because of priorities. On a farm, if you don't do the next thing, that thing might actually die. If you don't get things planted on time, they don't grow. If you don't feed an animal, it dies. If you don't deal with a pregnancy gone wrong, it's tragic. If you don't process an animal when it's "time," you lose a lot of money.
The list ...
In the midst of that, I'm homeschooling my children. And I'm not doing this in a haphazard way. I take great pride in that, and I do it well. My children have read nearly three dozen books this year. I don't say that to toot my own horn. I say that to say: we aren't going through the motions of education while actually farming. We are giving our children the best education we can.
My house is not pristine, but it's clean. Our meals are healthy. All these things require INPUT. Daily, hourly, sometimes minutely inputting what needs to be inputted to move on.
So if you drive up to our farm this week and see piles of scrap lumber, and a driveway full of half-finished projects, you would do best not to comment on why "so many things are halfway done."
It's a farm ...
... and it's always a work in progress.