Farming is one of those jobs that requires a fair amount of knowledge in a number of departments. As with any job you stick with over a long period of time, you learn alot, make mistakes(hopefully not alot) and you develop a rhythm where by you are part òf a circle of participating factors! As Farm Boy and I work our way through our days on the farm, we use the information that has been stored from countless observations of animal behaviour, paying particular attention to the growth in pastures and following weather very closely. Not carrying out any of these could lead to future mess ups.
A part of our daily routine consists , of course of morning and evening chores. This may sound simple to some, however a series of quiet and unassuming observations happen while feeding the crew. Are they eating? An animal not eating could show a sign of discomfort which requires further observation to determine the possible problem. It could also mean that the quality of feed is lacking in possible nutrition. Do they sound and look content? The gentle clucking sound of chickens moving around the pen or outdoors shows a level of comfort. Animals that are uncharacteristically noisy and huddling could mean they are feeling threatened by predators!
A farm of any size requires equipment! Anything from shovels, hay forks, wheelbarrow, tractors, heat lamps, nuts, bolts and a million more items. Breakdowns are a regular part of owning machinery and Murphy’s Law usually comes into place when you need the tractor/equipment the most.
The Farm Store , being part of this whole operation also has its own life of different issues. It is typically a “One Man” show( that would be me)! There are times when I require a fill in to keep the doors open! Stepping into that job requires skills of a different kind.
These are of course just a few examples of the complexity of farming and we can typically deal with them on our own!
There are however, instances when you think you have everything covered and a curve ball comes at you. The stress levels climb and you wonder how you are going to solve this newfound issue . Problem solving is a necessary skill for us and we can usually work our way through the situation. It may not be the perfect solution but it suffices and knowing that it will be temporary makes it easier to cope with.
We have a number of great neighbours including Teachers, Carpenter’s, Farmers, Painters, Cooks….. . The list is infinite! Neighbours that , at the drop of a hat will drop off their tractor because ” I heard you had a breakdown” and understood that we used the tractor to put hay out for the cattle. Neighbours that showed up one morning with chainsaws, ropes and ladders because ” We heard a couple of trees fell on your storefront” and spent the day removing said trees so our Farm Store could open for business. Neighbours that fill in at a moment’s notice to keep the Farm Store open. Neighbours that show up in droves to help shingle the barn roof( which was no easy task) I could go on and on and on!!!We are beyond grateful and value these friendships. It is also an unwritten rule that we would do the same for them.
We have also met some wonderful young travellers who, over the years have stayed and worked on the farm. As part of a world wide farm exchange program, the farm has had immeasurable help that has not only made the farm run smooth but also allowed Farm Boy and I to see it through others eyes. We have developed wonderful connections and continue to keep in contact with a number of these helpers. Our bucket list includes visiting them in their own country….a girl can dream!
In a world of a seemingly increasing divide of people, I take these experiences of complete selflessness, non judgement, and giving without expectation other than to lend a helping hand, as a testamant to a strong community (and awesome grapevine).To me, it is much more than that! It is the building of a group of people who can work together, live around one another and be there for each other when needed. It gives me hope for our children and grandchildren to live in peaceful cohabitation and restores my faith in humanity.
I do believe my point is…….perhaps we should step out of our corners, look at a bigger picture of what it means to work together as humans and see where it take us. My bet is that it will make us a stronger and happier community!