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.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Six... no... Seven... Things I'm tired of explaining to (non-farm) people.

The other day I found one of those "What are you sick of explaining to people" posts over on "the reddit." Most of them are funny, some are snotty, but it's interesting so see other people's point of view. I also think it's a good reminder of how folks know about what they know about - and it's good to expand your knowledge and not limit yourself to your own world. People are very interesting.

 Sometimes this is what my day looks like.

Many people don't know about my world. I don't really "get sick" or "get tired" of explaining these things because I think it's important to share knowledge and educate folks. But these are the conversations I tend to have over and over.

1. This isn't the "simple" life. I do not know who got this falsehood started. There is nothing simple about it. Sure I tend to do the same thing over and over but it's all different all the time. There are always complicated problems and the stakes are high when the circle of life spins so close to where you are standing. I'll always tell you The Truth About Farming... and it is not simple.

2. Meat chickens and pigz are not my friends. They are dinner and I don't feel bad about it. Farm raised meat tastes like victory.... or as someone said, "Revenge Bacon."

3.  I used to be someone. With a job. And a nice house. Now I'm someone with a farm, and dogs, and a full time occupation.  It's a long way from there to here. But I remember what regular life is like.

I think it's kind of hard for folks to look at me now and even guess that I was a normal person once. I used to shop at Nordstroms, pay over $100 for a hair cut, and think my biggest problem was that stupid person at work who made my life hard. Ridiculous things happen to me now.

4. No. I don't have nice clothes. This is as good as it gets. Some of us say, we have farm clothes and church clothes and nothing in between. The last clean shirt I ever owned was before I learned to put little creatures in my bra. Nothing I own now has not been pooped on, peed on, or worse.

5. Just because I "don't work" doesn't mean that I have a lot of free time. No, I cannot drop everything. During the growing season I figure that I need at least two weeks notice before I can make any changes to my schedule. This is both frustrating and bewildering to people around me. It's even more confounding because I never actually know what day it is. My closest friends have learned to send me reminders before we are supposed to meet up. I am eternally grateful for that.

6. No, I'm not going back to the rat race. The only rat race I'm interested in is seeing if our barncat, Shine, can run down that huge rat that has been living in the turkey house. Other than that I think I'm stuck with this life - funny tho it is. People are really interested in the money thing tho. Maybe that is what they are really asking and maybe I'll talk about it. But to answer your question, yes I miss the money. But not enough to go back to it.

This next one is a freebie because it was actually my pal, D, was the one who said it....

7. No, I am not wasting my education.

I don't think education is ever wasted and I whole heartedly believe that you should get the best education that you can afford.... but I'll follow quickly with a reminder that unless you are in a specialty field then most likely your education is just a ticket to your first real job. My experience is that from that first job it's more about your work history and your ability to network with other people than your degree.

But am I wasting it? Nope - are you kidding? You always have to be learning, solving problems, managing, crafting, creating, scheduling, figuring, promoting, communicating, and crunching the numbers in this life. You must run your farm effectively - like a business - or it will fail. You have to investigate, research, strategize, and science the shit of of this life.

Regular people think that farm folks are not educated. That is not true. Friend, I have amassed a huge body of knowledge from this life. I couldn't get this education anywhere else. So nope, all those hours sitting in university courses were not wasted a bit. In fact, it helped.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Do you get asked the same questions over and over? What are you tired of explaining?


Anonymous said...

What happened to their ears? I raise Lamancha dairy goats, they have ears, they are just tiny. This is an ok question if you are sincerely puzzled and want to learn, it is not ok if you are shaking your finger in my face in front of my children at the fair and ranting about how I should not cut their ears off to make them look like camels. And I would appreciate it if you would read the umpteen signs that tell you they are born that way before you start on me. That's my favorite I am tired of this question question but I get a lot of other ones from people when they learn I have goats. You know the oh, goats will eat anything from the guy who is trying to sell me crap hay and the eww doesn't their milk taste awful and .................

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Anon, I usually get it like this, WHAT HAPPENED TO THEIR EARS!?! DID YOU CUT THEM OFF? DID THEY GET FROST BITE? YOU ARE A HORRIBLE PERSON. oh boy..... and ha! i never thought how they looked like camels. i'll never be able to unsee that.....
*goes and looks at camels in barn...* ha!

Patty@inStitches said...

I don't think it matters what you do, there are always people with a my way or the highway attitude!
When we were farming, we ran 150 sow farrow to finish hog operation. People who had never been near are farm would go off on "confinement animals and mistreatment and ....." We raised our pigs in open lots on clean dirt with 100 square feet per pig but it didn't matter.

I raised five children during the equal rights period and was regularly called down because "I should go get a job, be a productive citizen (remember those pigs). Then there was the "why on earth do you have five kids? haven't you heard of zero population growth? etc.

I've been in business for 22 years now (I guess I did get a job), and it has it's own set of silly remarks and plain stupidity. So the best thing I know to be is thankful we are doing what we want, and develop a thicker hide.

Kev Alviti said...

I'm always getting asked things or told things. More about being a carpenter though. At least once a year someone who is really rich and successful will say to me - I wish I could have been a carpenter!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Patty - that is just terrific and you betcha. And yes i get that 'why did you sell out?' comment about leaving my corporate life....um.... because it was stupid and i didnt want to spend my life making someone else money.

Thanks Kev.... ha! i bet those rich folks will work their whole life so they can do carpentry in their free time.

buddeshepherd said...

Is it GMO free?
I'm allergic to gluten
Do I smell poop?
There is a lot of mud here, why don't you get gravel?
Are you sustainable?
Will you take xxx less than stated price?
Are you hiring?
Can I come get hay on Sunday?

Tricky Wolf said...

Excellent Post, Well Said!

there will always be the people that dont comprehend, and there will always be another person asking "but WHY do you do it? WHY do you WANT to?"

Vera said...

It's the way people look at us when we say we slaughter our own animals so we can eat their meat, that is what we get a lot of. Makes us feel that we then have to justify why we do what we do. And then there are the vegetarians...... I walked away from a very long friendship after the woman in question started feeling that she had to make spiked barbs about our lifestyle, and meat in particular, which she then would post up in the comments section of my blog. I didn't say anything for ages, but then got p*******d off with her self righteous attitude, after having always stayed quiet about how her cats were always kept indoors and never had the chance to breath fresh air. OH, I think I have just done a rant! As you can see, I also get a little heated on the subject of people and their attitude towards us farming folk!

David said...

I can identify with Kev's statement 'cept I'd be one of the ones "wishing"- just different priority's. And I can completely understand your comment about why did you sell out. "...because it was stupid and i didnt want to spend my life making someone else money." A-F'ing-men

Rita B Caldwell said...

May I share this post on my blog and facebook page? It so hits the mark with so many of my friends and people that think all I do is sit home all day eating chocolates and get mad if I can't join them for a spur of the moment lunch with them. It's getting really, really old!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for not making me feel alone in the world that this life just ain't "simple" - just about the most overused words ever...

CottontailFarm said...

I think my favorite is "OMG what happened to that chicken's back?!" and then I have to explain that the hen's back is bald because she's Mr. Rooster's most favorite girlfriend of all and well, cue the soft lights and sexy music. Also, Vera, I love your blog and I have to agree with you the WORST is the looks that people give me. What happened to all of the ducks? Where did they go? Why do you have quail? What do you mean you killed the chickens?? HOW??? (As in, literally, how do you kill a chicken?)
On the bright side, I was planning on adding turkeys to the property this year but now that I know I can have my very own tiny camels... well, that's something to think about.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Budd, why dont you get gravel? ha!

you know it, Vera! and i'm sorry that your former friend was giving you such a hard time. i dont understand the self righteousness either.

Dave, i have a very very different point of view now. the eternal question - time or money?

Rita, it is so hard to explain that you have to work when you have the weather, when the conditions are right, and that there are tons of little bodies who all are dependent on you. and then one day off sets you back two! it's really the most frustrating thing.

KJ - nope. you are not alone - we are all in this together. *gives hugs*

Tammy - turkeys! turkeys! turkeys! you will LOVE them - such funny creatures. yay!

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

Haha when we were on the farm we always had to explain why we did not use chemicals, "but that is what you do" apparently...
Also "How can you eat your animals" um as opposed to what? eating someone else's???
When we move to our new farm I am sure these same question will come up again.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

we get the odd look also about not using chemicals. plus no one believes you can farm with out them! thanks for coming by, Fiona!

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