I think this is probably one of the most asked questions I get when people hear I farm. Besides the assumption I'm growing corn or soybeans. When people realize I do chores twice a day, rain, sleet, snow or over 100 degree heat, they wonder why. Or when they realize I collect poop to check it for worms, draw blood from goats to send off for testing, or treat wounds myself. Not to mention the questioning look when I talk about planting gardens, canning, and butchering our own meat. People wonder why. I bet now you really are wondering why! Here are my 4 reasons why I do what I do.
The family farm. My grandfather bought it over 50 years ago, my mom and dad live there now, and I will live there someday. The farm truly is a legacy, a place passed from one generation to the next. Owning, operating, and actually making a profit from a farm these days is difficult, if not impossible endeavor. Furthermore, a small, 80 acre farm like ours is becoming extinct in America today. Most people today have never even been on a farm, had fresh milk, seen a chicken, or eaten a still hot from the chicken egg. To actually put down my dreams, I'd love to help the farm regain some of its former glory. If I could use it to grow the majority of our own food, I'd be ecstatic. If I'm lucky enough to provide food for extended family, or even to a few people in the community, I would be over the moon.
The love for food. Grocery store vegetables are, honestly, a complete travesty. When vegetables are picked out of season, chosen for their shipability, and gassed to "ripen", you can't expect quality. I'm lucky to have had it both ways, I've eaten store bought, and homegrown, and there is absolutely no comparison. The first strawberry you pick in the spring, that's ripened in soft dew, and sunshine, has a flavor that is beyond description. The first, warm, slightly dusty tomato popped from the plant, straight into your mouth is simply delectable. In fact, it's easy to make a meal out of these fresh, just picked vegetables. You can't find that quality at the grocery store. And if you do, you pay a very high price.
The animals. I love animals, I've never met an animal I didn't like. I understand them well, and I hope to spend the majority of my life giving animals safe, natural, happy lives. From chickens, to goats, to cats, dogs, and anything else that stumbles into my life. Although some would call it inhumane to raise animals to eat, I see it completely differently. Every animal I raise, kill, and eat keeps an animal from being raised inhumanely. I can give my animals love, fresh air, and a wonderful life before they are butchered. I talk about this bluntly, and often. Not because I relish, or look forwards to that fateful day, but because it signifies something big. The ability to realize that the meat we eat comes at a price, and the ability to come full circle in life.
Truly, it is all about love. There is a love I can't describe when it comes to farming. A connection to the circle of life. Watching the earth come alive in spring, and die back in winter. Where you experience heart wrenching loss, but watch in amazement as a newborn goat plops to the ground. As much as I nurture and love the farm, it loves right back. I see God daily on the farm, and it changes who you are.
My name is Monica, I'm passionate about farming, food, and the humane treatment of livestock.