Farmers Aren't Superheroes
I know the title sounds like a downer, but hear me out.
I have lots of friends and acquaintances who want to be a farmer. Maybe not a provide-it-all-for-others farmer, but a homesteader or hobby farmer. And, I think that's great. Obviously, I love farming. I grew up in a conventional farming family, and now am some sort of one for life.
Yesterday, a government application asked me my occupation, and I said "farmer" over "homemaker," "mother," or "data entry." So, I guess I am a farmer.
When people come to the farm, they get that starry-eyed look that I know so well. And, inevitably, it comes out.
"This is a perfect life."
"You are so lucky!"
"This is our dream."
Let me be clear: all of those things are true. Farming looks romantic, and my rose-colored glasses are not totally gone, it is romantic. But like all romances, there are crazy-in-love moments, and moments when you would rather throw in the towel.
I try not to give a funny face back, but I do. Nearly every time. Because, I am not thinking of those nostalgic moments when I gaze on my children running in the pasture in the sunset (which does happen), but instead of the intense amounts of poo I have come to not even notice, the seven hours my husband goes looking for a missing calf multiple times per summer, and the millions of tiny, baby transplants sitting under lights I need to put in over the next day. And the many, many other things on my to-do list.
Farming has a way of both invigorating you and blowing the wind out of your sails. Not only are you working hard, managing the business side of things, but you are also working with the unpredictable weather. I say with - because it's not possible to work against it. You will have to take the sunny and the rainy days, the hail and wind, the late or early frosts, with the sweet June sprinkles.
When friends and volunteers come to help me for a few hours, I normally hear at the end of the time something like this...
"That was a lot of work."
"You do this everyday?"
And that's what I am looking for. A dose of reality with the romance. A little sweat with the smile.
So, before you sign up for your dream life, spend a few days or even weeks on a farm. Learn just how in love you will fall with the land, but also the level of blood, sweat, and tears. And instead of painting farmers in an unrealistic light, grab a shovel and come help us. Because we are not superheroes - we are people, mothers, and fathers just like you.
Much love and light,