Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Farming as Therapy

Yes, don't fall over, I'm back. Where was I?

Life is good. Life is still hard, full of more bills than money, my father has breast cancer, Brad is hardly ever home, but life is good. All the animals have come through the winter well and in good health, Brad's travels are safe, and more work is pouring in, my job is going well, and spring is here.

The animals have been making conversations moodle around in my head lately. When people find out I have 40 acres, dogs, cats, horses, cows, and chickens, they are astonished. How can you work full time, take care of all those animals, and have time for anything else? And I'm astonished that they think is is so difficult. But it has become commonplace for me. It takes less than an hour a day to take care of all my critters. More if I have to clean the chicken coop, but really, the animals take far less time than laundry does!

And I certainly enjoy it more than doing laundry! The horses nicker when I go outside, the cats all come running to see me, the chickens talk a little louder, and of course the dogs are always happy to see me. The cows are over at the neighbors, and we have agreed to nod politely to each other across the pasture. It's better that way.

If anyone had told me five years ago that I would keep chickens, and still get a thrill everytime I find an egg in the nesting boxes, I would have told them they were out of their minds. And the fact that I have a garden, and actually have grown things, made my own tomato sauce???? I killed an air fern people. But more and more people all over this country are getting into farming, raising their own meat and produce. It's a pheonomenon that is sweeping our culture, and I'm fascinated by it.

It's not that farming, or ranching, or whatever you want to call it is inherently noble or romantic. Shovel out a really dirty chicken coop, and see how much romance you feel. But there is great satisfaction in cooking with produce you just picked from your backyard, making bread with honey from your boss's ranch, and eggs from your hens. Grilling a steak from a beef you raised, knowing no hormones were given to the animal. Hens clucking contentedly while searching for the juciest bugs, horses munching on fresh pasture, barn cats keeping the mouse population under control while checking in for head pats. It's dirty, it's smelly, it's hard work, and I love all of it. I feel more connected to my life. I can get out of my head.

I think, and this is only based on my experience, that this is the real reason why people are so taken with getting back to the basics of life. We have all gotten so disconnected from our own selves, our own emotions, that it takes weeding a garden, collecting eggs, caring for another creature, to allow us to feel again. To take some physical satisfaction from something tangible, real, and self-nurturing. Technology is fabulous, but I really believe caring for all my critters helps me care for myself.


Shannon Blood said...

That's it. I'm moving Nathan and me in with you. How soon can we arrive? *grin*

Cousin Konii said...

I am soooooo positive I was meant to be a farmers wife...all the things you talk about, I yern (is that the right spelling???) for. I think I would have an issue eating my own critters...but would gladly trade another farmer my meat for his cause I had never met his cows...I could do that!
Have you made your own butter? I could set at the butter churn all day...just couldn't EAT IT! (damn lactose intolerance) and how about candles? Make your own candles???? I would def have to dress like Carolyn Ingalls. LOL long as the barn, chicken coop and Tractor have Wi-Fi...I would be set!