Saturday, June 23, 2012
I'm always a bit surprised when people mention to me that living on a farm
must be isolating, lonely, worrisome. I suspect a certain portion of
that reaction comes from the obvious ~ compared to the city or
suburbs the vastness of nearly 50 acres (tho very small by true farming standard)
is so unfamiliar that the pure distance and space around me strike them as significantly
Then there is the very real connection of 'life to living' in that on a farm you are required to interact intensely with the reality of your day to day needs (and those of your crops and livestock if you have either). Tho wells and pests (aka varmints) and large broken equipment are not unheard of in city or suburbia they are somewhat, or totally, dealt with by others. A phone call to landlord or repairman.
So to be certain, whatever degree of farming/equipment/livestock/water/building repair there is in a farm it is almost always something you deal with directly. Hiring someone is often impossible and if found the ongoing costs would break the bank.
So you learn, you read, you watch, you try and fail. Try and succeed.
You quickly learn the words 'budget' and 'save' and 're-use'.
The phrase let nothing go to waste from water to material to time becomes a mantra for survival.
But lonely? No not at all.
The amazing thing about people who always have or eventually choose to live close to the land, to be close to the seasons, watchful of water from rainfall and rain barrel, winter melt to rain-shower embrace the concept and practice of commuity. The sharing of it all.
Neighbors are not the next people down the road. Neighbors are people who care. Who teach. Who ask how you are and then actually listen. Neighbors in farmland share news about fox sightings if you have chickens. We all show up to help each other with roof jobs. We loan equipment, we find (and leave to be found) things on each others' porches that are useful or needed or to give a bit of cheer in hard times. Yes, there sometimes is the bad person, bad event. Such is life anywhere.
But day in, day out, season after season, the mentoring, the laughter, the shared stories of hard work, big barns, talk of fox and bear, worries over rain and wells are the norm. Kitchens in Ag districts in the middle of nowhere sill fill with the aroma of handmade bread. Laundry still floats and drifts on clotheslines rather than in dryers with softener sheets.
Days pass quickly, nites pass quietly.
And when there's time to visit, to talk, to learn to compare notes while visiting it's heartfelt and wonderful. The people here have hearts as big as the acres that surround this farm. I am so far from lonely because I sit right in the middle of acres of caring kindness. Life here is good. Hard work with tremendous responsibility, but filled with good people.