Tuesday, May 29, 2012

expressing one's farmness

Tonight the Mister and I went on a drive. As old people, we sometimes drive around seemingly aimlessly, not because we're lost, but because we are found.

No, this is not a tent revival.

As we were driving, I counted no less than 5 empty barns. Once upon a time, these were thriving homesteads, with the farm owners taking pride in the places they were keeping. Now as the old-timers are heading to their eternal homes, the farms are standing empty. Or worse. They are housing city-folk posing as country-folk. Sound harsh? Not when you see a perfectly good 5 acre field being mowed with a lawnmower, and the only animal on the property is a frou-frou dog who sees the groomer as often as I see the inside of the refrigerator.

Chickens expressing their chickeness.

What I saw broke my heart. And this old farm girl even shed a few tears for all that has been lost. Whether it's a lack of motivation, exorbitant taxes/upkeep, or shortage of funds, these small homesteads are disappearing. Soon, the big beautiful barns will be gone, replaced by housing developments and acres of concrete. And once this happens, the farms will never come back. It's referred to as progress. The homes they were replaced with will be replaced by even bigger homes, or worse, concrete jungles with soaring buildings as far as the eye can see.

Cows expressing their cowness.

I guess what I'm sad about is the fact that society as a rule, thinks that being a farmer is beneath them. It is the work of peasants. It is not a noble profession. 

Society as a rule, is pretty clueless.

Here's the thing. I don't care if you live on a corner city lot, or in a high-rise apartment with a view of another high-rise building. I don't care if you live in subsidized housing, or in a trailer in a park. You may be lucky enough to live on an old homestead with a big old barn that is just, well, old. Or you may live in a subdivision with neighbors who share the same schedules as yourself. It doesn't matter where you lay your head at night, what matters is what you do with it while you're awake. Maybe you only have room to plant 1 bucket with a tomato plant in it. You're a farmer. Be the best tomato farmer you can be. Maybe you only have room for a couple of backyard chickens. Well, be the best chicken farmer that you can be. If you can plant a seed, grow a fruit tree, or even have room for larger animals, you are a farmer

Turkey's expressing their...oh, never mind. They were just happy to see us!

Living in the country doesn't make one a farmer. Or a homesteader. It's what you do with it that matters. 
Be the best farmer you can be in the place you are planted. 

And encourage others to do the same.

This post is linked to Dandelion House's Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop,
The Homestead Barn Hop


Tami said...

I'm scared to think of what the world will look like without a strong healthy farming community. Society may learn to regret "progress."

Lisa said...

Thank you for this! Here we sit on our small 2.5 acres in the Cascade foothills trying desperately to carve out a little farm for ourselves, trying to give our youngest two children a different vision for how to live, and sometimes being told, "that's not a farm..." If we could afford to, we'd buy up one of those abandoned barns/fields/farms out there, but since we can't, we'll take dominion and bloom where we've been planted! Kim, you are a wonderful encourager!! ~Lisa

Anonymous said...

Awesome post and so true! Thanks for sharing.

Oh yes, if it weren't for the farmer *those* who look down on farming would be left to fend for themselves or starve.

Praise GOD for the farmer! They are the true heros.

Matthew 6:33

Susan said...

Amen, sister.

SweetLand Farm said...

Great post!

Freedom Acres Farm said...

I'm going to share a family secret. Every time we drive by one of those riding lawn mowers that is mowing 2, 3, or even 5 acres of "grass" the whole family yells out inside our car... "get a cow". We always think its such a waste of gas to mow all that each week and not do anything with the grass, no benefit to an animal or a human.

I too wish we could convince the world how noble a profession farming truly is. Not big ag farming but the ones with the barns that are beautiful!!

Candy C. said...

It wasn't until I moved to "the country" and grew a garden, raised chickens, and milked goats that I gained a true appreciation for all the farmers out there! Our country would truly be lost without them!
Thanks, Kim, for such a great post! :)

Jocelyn said...

Wonderful post!!!

I am very much like Lisa. We own 4 acres that are in a suburban-ish area, and I get the "that's not a farm" quite a lot. But it truly is, and that's what counts.

Thanks for your post. It's made me think!

Mountain Home Quilts said...

What a wonderful post, Kim! I just read this post this morning and last evening the family was driving back up to where Gavin had worked yesterday and I noticed that the neigbor was mowing his lawn on a riding mower. The lawn had to be 1 acre. I said to Gavin, "Isn't that awful?! Look at all that grass he's mowing. That could be food!" I don't know how someone would want a lawn that big...how could they justify all the time and gas it takes to maintain it? When they could be growing enough food to come close to sustaining his family! It makes me sad too.........and a little scared. Those are the people who will beat down your door when really tough times come because they have no idea of how to raise their own food.

Kelsie said...

Equally as sad for me is seeing all of the beautiful old Victorian farmhouses falling into total dilapidation/disrepair. People inherit the farmsteads or buy the land cheap, and rather than fixing the house, they slap a hideous mobile home on the property and let the land just sit. It breaks my heart, and that's why I'm in the process of doing something about it. I have found an amazing old Victorian farmhouse on four acres of land in Illinois. It's in foreclosure and in BAD need of restoration--but it has fantastic bones. I WILL have it, and I will put the land to the use it was intended--to grow food that nourishes myself and as many other people as possible. Great post, and sadly, so true.

Unknown said...

No true'r words have been spoken on being the best " farmer " you can be no matter where you are...
MaryJane Butters ( MaryJanesFarm) say's Farmgirl is a condition of the heart. It's not where you live, it's how you live! I watched much of the open range land disappear to large housing develompments, golf course communities ( in the high desert) and shopping centers. Like you I always feel a certain saddness when I can't look out and see the cows in the field any more or the tiny little farmhouse plunked in the middle of acres and acres of open land! Progress? Well, I guess folks need a place to live, but it's still sad to watch the changing landscape... AS for this farmgirl.. I'm " farming " my rear end off in my back yard and loving it... BTW,,it's hard work.. but very satisfying too! Thank you for your wonderful words about being a modern day farmer. I hold all farmers in HIGH REGARDS!

Unknown said...

I'm a transplant from Southern California to a small, rural town in Texas. To say that I love small town living, would be an understatement. We don't have a lot of land where we live, but we do plant a modest garden and a few other miscellaneous things. My mother in law lives a few properties from here, and has a whole flock of chickens. Nothing beats farm fresh eggs!

I catch a lot of flack from my family back in CA for living in such a 'desolate' place....they seem to think that since I don't eat take out, go shopping, or the movies, that somehow I am a recluse and missing out. Sadly, what they don't seem to realize is that they are missing out on so much more. Life is more than box stores and restaurants.

We have a 3 month old son, and I hope to raise him in a way that reflects simplicity, hard work, understanding, and free from the material frame of mind.

Thank you so much for the encouragement. With the little one, I wasn't able to plant nearly as much as I like to, but you have reminded me that it is important to live intentionally and to do the best with what I can.

Here's to living away close to the Earth, with dirty hands and muddy knees....just the way God intended it.

Take Care.

Unknown said...

Well said! Thanks for sharing your heart... it reminds me that others think like I do and that I'm not alone!