I want to be a farmer. Up to my elbows in manure, sweating in the garden, birthing goats, worrying about the weather, raising chickens, cutting wood in the winter, making due. Oh it's all so romantic in my mind.
I read about it. Daily. A myriad of bloggers. I regularly read gardening and farming and homesteading books. I research composting and starting seeds and naturally taking care of pests and plant diseases and how-tos for everything under the farmers sun and moon. And all I've concluded is that I need some hands-on instruction. Live-in instruction, really, over the course of many many seasons. And a lot more time.
I think I could have lived very happily as a farmer's wife, birthing babies and feeding goats and slaughtering the lambs. Ha! Not at all realistic, but that's what dreams are for, eh?
I was very amused with Sharon Astyk's blog post the other day on Casaubon's Book, where she described "realistic farm tours". I was all ready to take her seriously, and she only amused me with her irony and sarcasm. And made me fall in love with the idea even more. *sigh* But I want to take these classes!!
"Pick a buttload of little tiny things." You've always dreamed of being a farmer, right. Now you can enjoy the real experience - picking a whole lot of little annoying things for 9 hours in the sun. No matter what the season from early spring (dandelion blossoms for wine) to late spring (chamomile blossoms) to high summer (currants) to late summer (beans) to autumn (every last damned cherry tomato), there is always something small that needs to be picked, and picked some more. Learn new curse words to describe the idiot who planted these things and thought it would be a great idea to sell them! Bonus activity - wash an endless number of eggs that birds pooped on!I think it might be the learning experience, the sum of so many intricate parts that all fit together to make that sort of life work, as it has for thousands of year. The rotation of crops and of the animals in the fields and the manure into compost. Sharon, in her other blog The Chatelaine's Keys, reposted something she had written before about the diversity and interconnectedness of the animals on her farm. It intrigues me, not only that everything can be so tied together to those animal's habits, but also that there is such a body of knowledge that I have no concept of. I just amazes me.
I do have a friend, Barnhenge Momma, who lives about as close to my dream as I think I could ever acheive. I'm hoping one of these days she'll grace us with a post about her homesteading life. All the canning and pickling and growing and life at her home makes my soul come alive, and gives her this wonderful mother-earth glow.
Maybe one day, slowly but surely, I'll find a happy medium between my black thumb of plant death and the vibrancy of a life surrounded by life. But the progress is so slow, if at all, that I think this might just have to stay in the 'dream' category.
What are your dreams? Do you have any hope of achieving them?