1. Get good tools. Seriously. You'll be using that hammer, hose, or fence post pounder a lot. So get a good one. At the end of last season I got about a dozen of those cheap-o sprinklers from the Dollar-More. None of them work now. But the heavy duty one from TSC? Works great. I wasted money trying to save it.
Our Bubby really loves his bucket. Good dog.
2. Get a good dog and train him up right. Good farm dogs just don't happen. Sure, some are more intuitive than others but a well trained dog - or Dog Horde - is a joy. My life is so much easier with my crew helping me out. I spend a lot of time teaching them, talking to them, and keeping them in line. It's worth it.
3. An excellent barn cat is worth his weight in gold. We treat our Shine, King of Barncats, like a prince. He is well fed, is safely locked up at night, and we spare no expense on his veterinary care. Over the years he has saved us hundreds, if not thousands, in lost feed due to varmints. All he wants is his can of catfood a night, his "cat-puccino" in the morning (goat milk fresh from the tap), and for me to stop taking his kills. The other day I saw him trotting thru the garden with a fat field mouse. When I called for him he ran faster. Yes, I would have taken it from him and he knew it!
4. Life is too short for a mean rooster. I'll have to do a post about this one day but due to extreme immaturity I haven't been able to do it. We'll just cut to the chase and say - everyone should have a big rooster who is not mean.
5. You will lose friends. Your city friends will get tired of your constant yammering about chickens, poop, and dirt. There is a lot of ways to hear the sentence, "I worked outside all day." Either they will think you are bragging... or complaining. They will think, "I wish I could work outside...." or they will think you've had the worst day ever.... slaving out there all day in the hot sun.
Sunflowers in the sprinkler. You need to know if it's going to rain that day.
6. Find farm friends - people who understand how gut wrenching it is to find your best rooster dead. Or how frustrating is is when your best Momma Hen quits her nest. Or who knows exactly what you mean when you say, "I worked outside all day."
7. Nothing will bring you so much joy as well a stranger gives you four cases of canning jars. For free. This happened to me this weekend. She just had them in her mother's basement and no one was using them. Free. She gave them to me for free. I hugged her and was speechless.
What a non-work day looks like. Even hard working farm dogs need a break.
8. You need to take a day off. This is my worst thing so I'm preaching to myself. About this time of year I start to get a little run down. My shoulder hurts and I tweaked my knee. The long days of working outside all day are starting to catch up with me so I need a day when I can just rest. Altho, my "rest" days are sometimes like other people's work days.... I still have a list of chores to do, dinner and snacks to make for the week, and I have to weed and run the sprinklers. THEN... then I'll rest.
9. Living life largely without any sense of time is tough on people around you. I never know what day it is. Everyday is a work day. But it's either Church Day or Not Church Day... even so there are still the basic chores that need to be done. My best pals remind me the day before that I'm supposed to do something - like meet them or to mail something. I always appreciate it so much.
10. You need someone to talk to who doesn't cluck or quack at you. Living pretty far out can be tough. It's worse when you have bad neighbors. So I love being able to have a quick chat and exchange work lists and farm victories with other farm nerds. Most of my farm friends are online and that is great with me. But sometimes you just have to see other people. I make a point to drive into town once a week even if it's just to get a milkshake and chat with the ice cream ladies.
You need a good sprinkler and a good barn cat.
11. You'll be obsessed with the weather. Many of the feeds on my 'the facebook' are weather related. Most of my conversations are about the weather. The weather determines what you can and cannot do that day - and sometimes who lives and dies. When I first got back here to The Good Land some non-farm-folks were complaining that the local news only talks about the weather - but if you work outside the hour-by-hour forecast is the most important news of the day. The second-string weekend weather girl on the one channel we get never has her act together so I have to hunt down the real forecast on websites or whatnot. It's very irritating. Those are usually the days I head to town and check in with the ice cream ladies - they always know the forecast.
What about you? What things didn't they tell you about farming?
Happy Sunday everyone! Are you having a rest day?