I get up early in the morning. Always have, and probably always will. Personally my clearest thinking happens in the wee hours before the light moves above the trees. The beauty of watching dark turning light makes my day. A time to sort out my thoughts, and lay out the days jobs ahead of me. A cup of hot brewed coffee warming my hands and I’m almost ready to go. I know that the most important job of the day will involve caring for the animals. It is a job I never grow weary of. One step in the barn and I feel good. Really good! There is a feeling that comes with being responsible for a barn full of animals. I think it comes from the relationship that is developed after feeding and caring for livestock. Sounds pretty simple, but after years of following Farm Boy(my hubby), I have come to the realization that he has carried this feeling all his life and isn’t he lucky! To some it looks like a crazy way to spend your life, working 7 days a week, 12 months a year. This lifestyle of the not so rich and not so famous! But imagine a life lived, watching nature work around you. The seasons that change from the depths of cold, white and quiet to the rebirth of trees, plants and animals. The simplicity of the different smells that come with seasons. There are new wonders with each new day that await us on the farm.
We have developed relationships with our farm that comes with the years spent observing our surroundings. This quiet contemplation can give us information necessary to run a healthy farm. A blight of certain weeds on our pasture can tell us the health of our soil. The coolness and wetness of an early spring can help determine the health of our hay crop for winter feeding. The fullness and feel of the fur on the cattle in the dead of winter can tell us their health . We are constantly navigating many different relationships that make this place tick. The operation of a small diversive farm requires heavy investment. I’m not talking money here( mind you cash flow does help) but the investment of our time , patience and in depth knowledge of what it takes to make this farm run smoothly(mostly). There will always be the moments of frustration as to who forgot to shut the gate and the cattle have rearranged the nicely piled grain bins across the yard. The hay that was ready to bale and instead the rains came, and the not so nice fox that has told all his friends that there are some hens free for the taking! Those moments where you think you have have it “Made in the Shade” bring you to a realization that the continual observation of your surroundings is a must.
My passion for building a local food system has developed over the years and is becoming somewhat like a third eye. The more time I spend working with Farm Boy the more I believe in the rightness of food that comes from our region. From producers that are working directly with the food that makes it to our table. These people ,like ourselves work with and understand the land/plants/animals/insects ect. I could go on forever discussing the symbiosis required to make a healthy community., but I will say this! What happens in the farm ecosystem, happens on the plate, happens in your microbial system. You are what you eat!
The average person will visit the Dentist and Doctor 1 to 2 times a year. Most people will eat three meals a day. That’s three times a day that you need a farmer. Three times a day you fuel your body to prevent too many visits to the doctor or dentist. I am coming to the heart of the matter! Providing good, nutritious food is a profession. As a producer, Farm Boy has gone to school his entire life. Perhaps not an institution whereby he sits at a desk. He has been educated through the careful observation and constant consideration of his surroundings. He is a student of learning and the homework will never end. Do not be fooled by the dirt under his fingernails or the smell of his overalls. The dirt and the smell are real. They are the product of working in agriculture! Speak with him and you will hear an intelligence that has been developed over the decades. His love and passion for his craft are evident in discussion. You will find his repertoire is vast. He can speak to you of the mechanics of tractors, the biology of plant life and the anatomy of animals to name a few. His profession is complex and requires a learning that will not end.
I am a lover of reading! Bring me to a book store and I may never leave. I love to see words on a page, that form pictures in my head. It has been a way that I like, to become informed. Books hold a special place in my heart for knowledge, but I have found that it is not the only form of learning. I have been taught by Farm Boy to use other senses. I smell the hay to determine quality, see the frost on the coats of cattle knowing that their thickness is keeping them warm, hear the different clucking from the chickens mean different things and feel the twitch of the muscles on the horse after a hard day pulling logs from the bush. Every day is a new day and with it brings the great expectation that I WILL learn something new!
That’s Why I Get Up In The Morning!