Friday, February 3, 2012

I Want To Be A Farmer . . .

I want to be a farmer for the rest of my life. I want to start my mornings in the barn. I want be greeted by wet, new babies searching for the comfort of milk as their mothers gently lick them. I want to gather eggs from my hens and cook them for my breakfast. I want to feel the warmth of the sun and the crispness of the breeze on my face. I want to clean stalls and lift hay bales and move livestock -- and never have to go to the gym. I want to complain about the heat in the summer and the cold in the winter . . . happily knowing it means that I work outside. And not in a cubicle. And not for anyone else. I want to drive a vehicle that is always a mess, because it can haul feed and hay and goats and dogs and even a cow. I want to dress up and go to cocktail parties and answer the question of "What do you do?" by telling people I am a goatherd & a butcher. And then I want to laugh when they slowly realize that I am absolutely telling the truth. I want to cheer for 4-H kids at the county fair, because others once cheered for me. I want to laugh about the ruts in my yard from my friends' trucks and the goat skulls that my dogs leave lying on the driveway -- because it's a farm, not a country club. I want to get together with my farmer friends and complain about the weather & the government & non-farmers . . . beacuse as much as we might bemoan these things with each other, there is no other job we would rather do. I want to have working dogs that protect my livestock and cats that guard my barn from vermin; I can only respect animals that work just as I do. I want to volunteer to speak to college classes -- not because there is any financial benefit for me -- but because I love to share with young people why farming is so beautiful, and so painful, and so glorious. And if I do a good job, and they understand agriculture, eventually there will be a profound benefit to me. I want to cry over every loss, and rejoice over each success on the farm. I want to worry about the weather, and the planting, and the harvest, because this means that I get to live my life in the outdoors. I want my best friends to be farmers too, because they understand my world without explanation. I want to work and live in a community where even though there are other farmers that confound me, these same people would support my rights as a farmer no matter what. I want to cry everytime I watch the movie Babe, because the farmer is exactly like my grandfather. I want to sing country songs as I work in the barn, knowing my dogs will never tell what a bad singer I am. I want to serve meals to my guests that include meat from animals I raised, butchered, processed, and cooked. I want to endure the mud, and the droughts, and the ice storms, because they toughen me. I want to take naps on bales of hay in the mow on lazy summer days. I want to breathe in the aroma of saddle leather, after a good ride on a horse, when I put my tack away. I want to get excited about my bountiful garden -- because it is fertilized by my own livestock. I want to watch a sunset on a spring night, as baby goats play in the sinking rays of light. I want to spend the rest of my days on this land that my mother, and my grandfather, and my great-grandfather, and my great-great-grandfather did. As my grandfather always said, "I want to be carried out of here horizontal." I want to work this land long past the age of retirement for an office job. I want to wear out my body from the physical labor it takes to care for the earth and God's creatures. I want to know there is no pursuit more ancient or more noble than the one I have chosen. I want to be a farmer for the rest of my life.

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