Living the Dream Life
By Anne Kimball on January 18, 2013
I get a lot of awesome comments from my awesome readers.
I'm sure they must be here for the skillful and poetic writing (see above sentence).
Anyway, one comment I get a good bit is something along the lines of "You're living my dream life".
And it is a dream life for many people. Myself included.
But if I'm going to be a responsible blogger, I think I need to point out a few of the less-than romantic realities of hobby farming.
Because it's not all gathering wildflowers in a sunny field or walking through pristine bedding to collect fresh eggs in a vintage basket.
So if you're picturing Laura Ingalls in a Massengil commercial, I think it's time for me to paint you a new picture.
In fact, let me give you a little quiz on this "dream life", and we'll see how you fare.
If you have a farm, they will come.
So let me ask you, when you hear the word 'rat', do you picture
Head straight to your nearest Petco and get yourself a little cage and a hamster. That's as close as you should get to farming.
Buy a horse and board it at someone else's farm.
Get you some barn cats and a rat terrier. You're ready.
No one is quite sure of the science behind it, but farms seem to generate mud. Lots of it. So again, I ask, when you hear 'mud', do you picture
Buying your eggs and veggies from a farmer's market is as near as you should get to farming.
Not even close.
Yeah. That's about it. Get a snorkel and come on down.
Living on a farm, you sometimes have to make tough decisions. For instance, if you see a mangy, skanky-looking fox skulking around your barn for a few days, and then one day you find him curled up in the corner DEAD, do you
a: Cry a little, offer up a prayer to the god of wildlife, and bury him under your prize rosebush?
b: Cut off his head and stick it in the mail? AS ADVISED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE, I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP PEOPLE!!!!
or c: Scoop him up with a shovel and ditch him in the thicket and marshes under cover of night, a la Jimmy Hoffa?
I still can't talk about it.
If you were to live on a farm, which of the following would you be physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared to do?
a: sexually violate your hen with mineral oil and rubber gloves when, in your chicken ignorance, you mistake broodiness for being egg-bound.
b: Scrub out dirty water buckets.
c: Scrub out dirty water buckets in which you have picked out drowned rats.
d: Scoop manure till your back breaks.
e: Track said manure into your house, as if you didn't have enough to clean up already.
f: Castrate ram-lambs and bucklings with your very own Elastrator.
g: Fix fences and gates while your household projects remain on the to-do list.
h: Spend $300 on a hay delivery while you feed your kids Ramen till payday.
i: Pull #$!*ing burrs out of manes and tails till your fingers bleed.
j: Massage the udders and nipples of mastitic does and ewes and mares.
k: All of the above and much, much more.
If you answered "c" in the rats, mud, and decision making portions of the test, and "k" in the preparedness section, you might be ready to buy the farm.
But just one more word of caution:
While you'll find there's a little of this in farming:
There's a heck of a lot more of this:
And believe me when I tell you, if that's the worst I ever looked doing the dirty work of farming, I would be thrilled.
But go ahead. Get some chickens. Maybe a few goats.
Live the dream.
Just don't say I didn't warn you....
Image sources: shutterstock.com, istockphoto.com, equinaturaledits.blogspot.com, nfws.org.uk, saviortpc.com, sodahead.com, animal.discovery.com, stylecraze.com, yesspaces.com, 123rf.com
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