Nov 2, 2012

This Is What We Do!

 When Tim and I married we never expected to be farmers.  I am not sure that we had much in the way of specific ideas of what we would do, but I can guarantee farming was not it.  In fact as recently as a dozen years ago I was occasionally suggesting to Tim that having more space for the kids to run and play and explore would be nice and he was saying "Do I look like a farmer to you?  I am a city kinda guy!"

Once we moved to the country, however, our lives changed.  In the country our family dynamics changed and each of us changed in very distinct ways.  Learning to work together became not just a cliche but reality.  When we lived in the city "working together" meant making dinner together or perhaps getting a bedroom clean.  In the country it meant putting up fencing, unloading a ton of feed or hay and tending to animals.  Instead of sitting down to a meal that was bought at the store thanks to "dad's job" we might instead sit down and look at a meal that we all worked together to produce, from the tomatoes to the cheese to the eggs in the quiche.  Everyone was essential to seeing success in our endeavors.

We also became introduced to a culture that was age-old but new to us.  Families and communities working together to provide food was something that we had never before directly experienced and it was a heady feeling.  When I strained and poured into that glass mason jar the very first milk from our very first goat I was overtaken by a sense of wonder and pride.  We did this.  When driving into town the fields that previously seemed just empty expanses of grass took on a whole new meaning.  How did the hay look?  How much would it cost to feed my animals this Summer?  I had never in my life even known what a feed store was and at first it seemed as foreign a territory as any of the countries that I visited as a child growing up in the oil field.  Before long the women behind the counter were cherished allies.  They gave advice and they shared in the joys and struggles of our little farm.  They also shared stories that became heartbreaking to me of the community in decades gone by...of the dairies in the county that once numbered well over a hundred, now reduced to a mere handful.  They spoke of the mills lost due to lack of business, the family farms sold and parceled due to a lack of interest in continuing the family heritage of farming.   We were seeing how vital farms are to communities as we heard of once strong communities being incrementally swept away by each generation's tide of migration to the city.

We were coming to see how hard farming could be, but we were also seeing the rewards rich beyond our imagination.  With each year that passed we knew more and more that this was what we were born to do, what we would always do.   We are called, not just to farming, but to sharing our experiences of family farming.   When we sell at markets we spend four hours sharing what we do on the farm.  When customers call or visit we share about family farming.   This blog is used to share family farming with readers.  Each interview we are asked to do, whether for television or print, we share family farming.  It is what we do and what we will continue to do for as long as there are people to listen.

This past Sunday we shared with the people who came to to the farm for Farm Day III. 

Tuesday we spoke to over 600 elementary students about agriculture in general, goat dairying in specific.

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