Farming has not been with me all my life. I married a man who lived, breathed and rolled in it. I didn’t really get his obsession at the time( 35 wonderful years ago). My earliest and clearest memory of Farm Boy and his infatuation began with our first date. I was to meet him at his parents home at a designated time. I, being the punctual person with a little bit of German promptness waited patiently with his parents while he finished up the chores. I didn’t think twice about his late arrival. That should have been the first red flag. Farm Boy’s parents and I were having a lovely conversation on a warm summer evening overlooking the lake when down the pathway to the house runs the man I end up marrying.
“Sorry I’m late” he says. This being our first date, I was not the least bit concerned. He looked the typical farmer who had finished up chores with ripped jeans, t shirt and rubber boots. It was then that I saw his bare feet , a nice shade of dirt brown. This should have been red flag number 2! Who does chores in their bare feet on a livestock farm. He commented later that he misplaced his rubber boots. Red flag number 3!
Many dates and marriage followed this first event. With it has come stories, children, good times and hard times. Romantic trysts riding in the bucket of the tractor because “I just have one more thing to do in the field” Now I’m not adverse to hard work. I grew up where participation in keeping a household in operation required everyone in the family to help out. I have distinct memories of weeding gardens, picking berries and stacking wood for the winter to name a few. But this life was a whole new level of being immersed in a way of life that would later seep in and become the new me. At the beginning the Farm was a slight annoyance that took this man I loved and left me to my own devices. He worked day and night ( as well as holding a full time job) with his father maintaining fences, livestock, haying, barn cleaning ect.
Enter children! Our first bundle of joy arrived on one of the coldest days in winter. She would be packed up to go to the barn at a very early age. Her love of horses is a by product of time spent with animals. Our second girl arrived on a fall day and was also packed up to go to the barn or spend time on grandpa’s horse drawn sleigh but mostly loving the barn cats. She now has a slightly famous cat and would fill her house with them if possible! The final arrival of a son completed the family and is a huge help with all things farming. He has a strong love of cooking and good food. His interest in local food production grows as he learns the ways of the farm. Packing up 3 little ones can be difficult at the best of times. Winter was an all time favourite with snowsuit, boots mitts, hats ect. This was when Murphy’s Law arrived. ” Mom, I gotta peeeeee!
I’m sure you are following where this story is going. Little by little , inch by inch we became a farming family! We spent alot of our times together planting gardens. Bare footed children putting seeds into the ground and covering them with their little hands, filling buckets with to feed the hens, learning to navigate a fork to spear hay for the cattle. As the kids grew and made their own way I spent more time learning the ways of living the life. For many years I have been following and learning from Farm Boy . I don’t have anywhere near the knowledge that he does but can say that I have learned so much and continue to do so. There is a great sense of contentedness from this living and learning how all that we do is connected. The land, the animals and us!
While I do not do the chores in bare feet I now understand Farm Boy’s obsession with this place we work at, a place called the Farm. It has become a part of my life and will be for as long as we can manage. I guess I can finally call myself a farmer!