Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Farm Friends! Its The Truth About Farming, Chai Chai, now you understand

Hey is everyone participating in Verde Farm's Farm Friends Friday?  Check it out!

I'm actually celebrating two things on this Farm Friends Friday - first this is my first FFF and.... can you believe its been almost a whole year since our 'babe in the barnyard' asked me this question:

“I can't help but read this and try to picture in my mind all the chaos going on around you (smartalec goats, mean chickens, crazed geese, wayward ducks, evil pigs, cats and dogs living together!) and wonder what I'm getting myself into.”

That's right.. it was about a year about that Chai Chai wondered what this whole farm this was about and what she was launching herself boldly into.. Now would you look at her?! Sheep, goats, and poultry of all kinds. Its only been a year and now she's the old pro sharing her knowledge and working that farm. Chai Chai, I'm really proud of all of your accomplishments. You go and farm it, girl, go and farm!

This is what I told her last year this time....The Truth About Farming.

I loved this comment from Chai Chai so much that I'm interrupting this goat series to give some insights into The Truth About Farming.

Here is what she said:
“I can't help but read this and try to picture in my mind all the chaos going on around you (smartalec goats, mean chickens, crazed geese, wayward ducks, evil pigs, cats and dogs living together!) and wonder what I'm getting myself into.”

It reminded me of when my friend Eliza said that “evenings on your farm must be so relaxing” and I could tell that she had a perfect picture in her mind's eye of the sun gently setting over a tranquil barnyard....


As I was standing there talking to her I had chicken poop in my hair, I had a bruise on my leg where I smacked into something while chasing the hens into the coop, I was stinky and sweaty, and my hands hurt so much from milking that I could barely hold the phone. Sun setting over a peaceful barnyard!?!?! Not on your life.

So lean in close, friends, and I'll tell you The Truth About Farming.  They won't say any of this in Hobby Farms or on any of those lovely farm blogs with beautiful pictures of sheep. No siree... There is the 'cover of Vogue' farming...and then the real dirt.

Farming is one crazy ride.

Everyday is exactly the same – and radically different. You'll do the exact same thing everyday. Get up (early), get out there and feed those critters, work that land, feed those critters again, herd everyone up, and go to bed (early). Oh, but what happens in between? You can't make some of this stuff up.  Its all go, all the time.... and success is measured in who didn't die that day.  Step lively now, there is no day off and there is always some kind of skulduggery going on.

Think you won't have a boss if you work for yourself? Wrong. Nature is your boss and the Weather is your CEO – and they won't ever let you forget it.  Your every day is ruled entirely by these two and sometimes its seems like they are out to get you. Think you can get some early spring planting done? Not if you get an unexpected frost ...and then you'll have to start all over. Think those lovely pumpkin plants will win you first prize at the Pumpkin Show? Not if the squash bugs get them first.  Don't even get me started on tornadoes, torrential rain, blazing heat, and this cursed snow...

Then there is the maniacal barnyard where everything and anything can and will happen. You'll never know if you'll go out there and find your best laying hen dead - the victim of some ridiculous barnyard mishap. Or remember our goat Debbie hanging from the feeder?  Don't expect Backyard Poultry to tell you what to do if your turkeys suddenly scatter and you spend 2 hours trying to round them up, just in time to see one of your prized males flying (like an eagle!) over the house, across the ravine, and into your trigger happy, huntin' obsessed, rednecked, neighbor's tree.

Think you are a tough guy? Even the biggest and baddest will shed at least one tear when you find the best chick of the clutch floating lifeless in a water bucket. There is nothing sadder than a dead baby bird, friends.  And while you stand there cursing yourself for letting it happen you'll start to calculate the true cost – not just of one small chick, but of all the eggs she would have laid, and all the layers she would have raised, of all the bugs they would have eaten, and all the compost they would have created,  and...... You see, even the smallest loss has an impact that increases exponentially.

Then there is the mocking by your so-called-friends and family who think you are completely out of your mind. Why would you give up your city life for THAT? Or if you tell a friend that you are so tired that your hair hurts, more than likely you'll hear “All you do is garden all day. Why are you complaining – its not like you work?" Or, part of a real conversation I heard about the other day “Why don't you just get a job so you don't have to grow your own food?”

Its enough to make you want to go out and lay in the compost heap. 


The upside is tremendous. You don't HAVE to grow your own food, you GET to..and that makes all the difference.

You'll learn to work effectively and efficiently, to follow the weather and anticipate her moves, to plan, plan, and plan some more. Gym membership? Nah.. you won't need it.  Need a mental challenge? Its all challenging and the learning never stops. You'll learn you can build a duck garage, pip a turkey poult out of its shell, figure out how to fence in those stupid pigs, and discover a whole world of folks who live their lives by the turning of the seasons and not by the passing of the financial quarters.

Its not simpler but its better.

What are you getting yourself into? Its one crazy ride, baby. So hold on tight, pull on those barn boots, and get out there and make that land work for you. And when you're so tired your hair hurts?  Come and talk to me - we're all in this together.

Happy Farm Friends Friday everyone!


Kelle at The Never Done Farm said...

Amen! We had a rough 2010, as far as animals deaths are concerned, it wears a body down. Looking so... forward to Spring, and what new life will abound on our small farm. It's a refreshing time, a time to let go of all the sadness of loosing animals we loved so dearly.

That is why we named our farm; The Never Done Farm, because you truly are never finished and always learning and growing.

Blessings for your day,

Jen said...

I Love This! So very true and I only have an itty bitty farm... but its work and my animals depend on me no matter what and I love it even when I'm out there cussin up a storm over rain, snow, frozen ice, my mean old bantam rooster flyin up floggin me in the head. Started my lil farm 3 years ago and alot of my friends think I'm crazy, lol. But they just dont realize what their missin. Its a great life :)

Buttons Thoughts said...

I like your post. I had poop on me yesterday and calf goo. B

Mama Mess said...

It is truly a lifestyle and will go so much better if you LOVE it. It isn't for the faint of heart, but it is all I've ever known or wanted, and even when I thought I didn't want it anymore, God stepped in and kept me right where I needed to be!

It is so very true........I don't do it cuz I have to, but cuz I want to and that makes all the difference!

Mr. H. said...

What a great post...and so very true.

I was flipping the hay under our roost this morning and one of the birds dropped a little present that almost hit me in the head, I had to smile to myself as I had just read your post...so that's how she got chicken poo in her hair.:)

Verde Farm said...

Ohio Farmgirl--all I have to say is...you could NOT have said it better and more honestly!! Add to that--everyone saying-I would have it, you can’t go anywhere because of all those animals :) LOL I love your real and dirty farm life story-it so spot on. Chai Chai made a great decision :)

Verde Farm said...

PS-thank you so much for joining Farm Friend Friday.

Chai Chai said...

Babe? Are you calling me Babe?

babe (bb)
1. A baby; an infant.
2. An innocent or naive person.
3. Slang A young woman.
4. Informal Sweetheart; dear. Used as a term of endearment.
5. Babe is a 1995 film adaptation of the 1983 novel The Sheep-Pig, also known as Babe: The Gallant Pig in the United States.

Has it really been a year? Wow, you sure were right! Every day is the same and nothing like any of the others. I really appreciate all the questions you have answered for me and all the wonderful posts I have read here. I hope they continue for some time to come....

Unknown said...

Hear hear!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

I hear ya, Kelly, 2010 was tough for a lot of folks. Lets all "onward and upward" together - to this spring and beyond!

You are just right, Jennifer, there is no "day off" not even one. But once you pull on your boots and get out there.. those funny clucks and loud geese just kind of lift your heart.

Thanks Buttons, its an odd day when someone DOESN'T poop on me.

GW, its NOT for the faint of heart. And it strengthens who you are, dontcha think? Its about learning what you can do.

Mr. H, Brother, you don't want to know how I got poop in my hair today.

Verde, I laughed and thought "but where would you WANT to go!" hee hee hee I dream of getting 'off farm' until I'm there then I kinda panic and want to get back.
ps i LOVE Farm Friends Friday! Thanks for getting it started!

Term of endearment, totally hot momma, and never a crazy pig! You've done a great job!

Keep up the hard work RLF, you'll get your farm soon. Then you'll be able to tell all those corporate monkeys to "smell ya later" cuz you're goin' country! Whoot!

ps has everyone seen RLF's beautiful jewelry?

Mary Ann said...

Oh my gosh, just found your blog from Farm Friends Friday and I LOVE it! I needed a good laugh tonight... I don't know how many times my friends have asked ME what the HECK I'm doing out here! Thanks for the validation!

Kristin @ Going Country said...

The term "The Simple Life" always makes me laugh. In a slightly hysterical, often exhausted way, because simple is not exactly the right word. Okay, it's NOT AT ALL the right word. It's totally wrong.

Summersweet Farm said...

I am such a bad farmer. I get up at 9 every morning! In my own defense, I have chickens to match me. They don't start laying til after lunch. :) Kind of another reason I think getting a rooster might be a good thing - get me on a REAL schedule!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Hi MaryAnn and welcome! I love that your place is called "Calamity Acres!" - its just kinda how things go sometimes, huh?

Kristen, I openly mock folks who call it the "simple" life. Then I dare them to do my work for the day

SSF - NINE in the morning? Honey by 9am (in the summer) I've already been workin' for 4 hrs! ha! Thats ok tho, baby - everyone has their own style!

Dmarie said...

don't "have to...get to," you're right, attitude makes all the difference. great post, Ohio!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Thanks Dmarie! Living like this - with a sense of intention - makes it feel like a gift and not a chore. Dontcha think?

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