Being a farmer is more than a job. It's a way of life. It's a way of life full of learning opportunities.
Here are 6 life lessons I've learned from farming.
*Death is a part of life. It gets easier, but not easy.
We’ve had two goats die this spring. As farmers, we do everything we can to help them, but sometimes there isn’t anything to save them. It’s just their time. Through the years we’ve lost numerous cats, a few chickens, one sheep, and four goats. Death is a part of life. But so is birth. Which is evidenced in the six goats and one lamb born this weekend. And that, coupled with knowing we did everything we could to give our animals an enjoyable life, makes the death part easier.
*We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Those babies born this weekend? It’s amazing. As farmers we never grow tired of watching an animal give birth. It is such an awesome thing. Each of those mamas and their babies is uniquely created. And so are we. It’s the diversity in animals, colors, and personalities that makes farming fun.
*If you want it, you have to work for it.
No ever said farming was easy. Or if they did, they were lying or simply ignorant. But, like most everything requiring hard work, it’s worth it. I envision a farm that feeds 100 CSA members plus numerous Farmstand visitors each week and provides enough income and free time for our family to play and relax together. But I can’t just dream about it. That gets me nowhere. I have to put in time and effort in order to get there.
*Your can’t (or shouldn’t) do it alone.
There is so much to do each day on a farm. I can’t feed and water the chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, pig, donkeys, ponies, cows, and cats; bottle feed the babies; clean stalls; milk the cow and goats; water the high tunnel and fields; and plant, weed, and harvest crops all by myself. And that’s not including the cheese making, newsletter writing, and CSA Pick Up prepping. Farming is a family affair. When we all chip in, the overwhelming daily to do list because manageable.
And it’s not just a physical thing. When you are mentally exhausted or overcome with grief, there is someone to share your burden. Remember those animal deaths? As a family we hugged and shared fond memories of their lives. Each story shared lifted our spirits higher until we could all smile again.
*Life is a balance
Sure, you have to work to get the things you want, but what fun is life if it’s ALL work? Even God rested as an example for us. Just yesterday I was talking to a group of women who admitted they are busier than they feel they should be. We are all busy in different ways, but had the same end result: Crankiness. So I’m done...at least trying to be done...with doing too much work. (Remember how I stopped doing the things I don’t like?) When I’m done feeding the baby animals, I’m not going to rush off to do more work. I’m gonna cuddle them and laugh when they hop, skip, and jump.
Which leads me to my last lesson...
*There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.
Muddy, poopy pasture? That’s because spring is coming and the snow is melting around my animals who provide me with milk, eggs, and meat.
Piles of laundry? That’s because we have more than enough clothes to accommodate our working/playing outside, going to church, and lounging around the house so I only do laundry once a week.
Hot, tired, and dirty from working in the fields all day? That’s because I own a business where I grow delicious vegetables to feed my amazing customers.
I could go on and on about lessons learned from farming. But I think that’s enough for today. Perhaps another day I will share more with you. I’d love to hear any life lessons you’ve learned from your profession.