31 March 2014

Farm Life

In the past several weeks, my love for  agriculture, my innate connection to the land, and my appreciation for how this system was designed to co-exist continues to deepen.

Spring is well on it's way, and plenty behind, in my book.  I remember last year towards the end of February putting compost in the garden and being harassed by a guy we know for getting out there too early - before the last frost.  Little did he know that digging in the garden is a love of mine.  As it's been warming up, I've been watching the two-feet deep pile of snow slowly wither away.  Again, I find myself daily looking at the garden, eager to dig my hands into the cool moist earth that will soon enough be growing something - hopefully more edible things than weeds!

Last week, a friend at the office told me about a book he'd been reading and how it made him think of me.  I asked him to borrow the book.  I couldn't believe the similarities.  Greg was spot on in his comparison.  Even when I read a chapter that I didn't think fit me, I stoppped long enough to realize that I am just like Lily and don't want to kill an animal.  I finished the book in four days.  Which you can totally tell by the way my house is in disarray.

Reading was done after the kids go to bed and I had forgotten how much I love to read a book.  I just can't get into reading them on my phone.  I like the old fashioned book.  Saturday morning when the kids started stirring, I put my book down. After a quick breakfast, we headed outside.

Our farm consists of little activity with livestock and crops but lots of dreams.  The pasture that was once inhabited by a horse and goat and will soon be home to cattle, was actually our  baseball field.  I figured it was the best area to bask in the sunshine while we chased two soccerballs and got distracted by the pond in the bottom of the pasture.  While the kids played in what is actually a puddle, yet they call it a pond, I walked down through the tall weeds to see if our drainage area was ponding water as it occassionally does.  Walking through tall dead grasses while the earth squished underneath my feet was just about as perfect as the kids' pond they found.  Our acreage is my own little slice of a farm that will be home to egg-laying chickens in addition to the dogs and cats that have long roamed the lawn.  The small patch of lawn which became home of the dog's "land mines" this winter isn't worth mowing and should get turned into a native prairie flower planting when the soil awakes from it's slumber. The trees, the fire pit, the hammock, oh how I look forward to those things.  We love this warming trend and look forward to summer.

In the mean time, I have plenty of outside adventures for work.  I love being outside with a farmer who loves his land too.  Not all of them do by the way, so it's extra special to work with people who care.  This past week I worked with one of my favorite clients.  We get business done, usually argue about at least one thing telling each other what we think and both of us learn something in the process.  Today's discussion (we don't really argue) was whether he's a farmer or not.  I'm not going to re-hash the conversation that we had to day as we slogged through soft mud tromping all over the farm cause I think we were both right.  As we crossed one rivine and climbed up the hill to the edge of the woods, then sliding around as we stepped, moved across the farm to the pond and then on the grassy lane where we sank in the drifted piles of snow still hanging on, I learned something.  You don't have to be a "farmer" whether you use my definition or his, to live the farm life.  You can be a rural landowner living on an acreage and working in an agriculture environment where I choose to invest myself in everything I do for a person to live the farm life.  You can be the landowner who cares for the waterways, and ponds, run a large business that works on farms, but never plants an acre of crop either and still live the farm life.  

I love this rural area where I live.  Statistics say the towns are dying.  And they are to an extent but they're rich in history.  People in these communities still love their neighbors.  

Today alone I saw how people around here still how good old fashioned neighborly love for each other.  The farmer and I finished up in the field just before 1:00pm.  Having left my breakfast at home I was ready to eat.  Suggesting he grab a bite with me in town, I agrued with him about not buying my food.  Chivalrous, generous, or whatever it was, it was nice that he thought it only right to buy my food.  (However, he also learned that I can't take gifts at work and would prefer to pay for my own $5.00 burger and fries.  When it came time for violin lessons and I was double scheduled with a conference call, Bethany's violin teacher let her stay after practice at her house while we finished our call.  And then tonight, when Ryan got called to do a late night surgery on a dog's guts and needed an extra hand, his buddy was willing to take the time to assist.  

With the wind howling outside, and the house otherwise quiet as it gets, I thank God for where I am.  Who knew that this town kid turned country girl would love it so much where God got His fingers dirty as He planted me right here in the middle of farm life where the high heels have long been gone from my closet and replaced by yet another pair of cute boots.  Where watching my husband pull a calf with his strong arms and back is sexy.  Where chatting with a farmer friend about the calving season is a favorite conversation.  Where walking a farm, even if in the mud, makes my day.  Where I come home to children who want to run down the long lane and play oustide in the yard letting their bare feet touch the cool earth.  This is my home.  

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