There is a delicate balance when someone buys a farm and then still has an off farm job.
True – our farm is not producing anything for sale on the market. It may not ever. It may one day support our whole family. But I don’t think our farm has to produce things for other people in order to be considered a farm.
I want to create a food forest so that at any time I can just walk outside and grab things for dinner. I want my animals to contribute to the crops to contribute to the humans to contribute to the animals, etc, etc, etc.
We have an orchard, a blueberry patch (12 bushes in now, with another 6 being added in the fall), a nut and berry shield on the far side of our pasture that’s nearest the road that has hazelnuts, pine nuts, mulberries, serviceberries, a fig tree, some honeyberries and one gorgeous western red ceder (just cause I like the bark, ya’ know.) Our main garden area is gigantic and our pumpkin patch is just starting to come into it’s own. Our flock of chickens is growing yearly – 18 at last count! And our quail hutch is churning out some nicely fleckled little eggs.
Our herb garden is marching right down our hill with a couple of pear trees and an Italian plum right out in front leading the way. The grapes are growing, not thanks to an unwanted haircut by some
rodents with hooves deer. My comfrey has been separated and strategically replanted. Our huge ass compost bin system is quietly filling with greens and browns.
Things are producing. The hops are climbing their new trellis. The hardy kiwis are trying to outpace them but have slacked off as the weather got hotter. The climbing rose has thumbed her nose at both of them and has commenced her own voyage up a different, yet equally awesome separate trellis system.
In 20 years, the heartnut trees I planted will be throwing great bushels of nuts down upon our heads. If we are still here.
We bought this property last year and none of this was here.
Just grass was here.
Well. Grass and weeds and plantain and scotchbroom.
And tires. Tires and screen doors. There was a pile of fiberglass wall pieces that I still haven’t figured out what they were used for. A truck jack. One pair of shoes. Some glasses. Too many car parts to recall. A 20 foot length of industrial chain. Some rusted pieces of god knows what. And a small army of golf balls that I know the previous owner shot into the lower pasture from the hill our house sits on while he was drinking beer with his buddies.
How do I know that? Because he came by after we bought the property and told me. While holding a beer and accompanied by his buddies.
But in the last year that we have owned this land I have bled for it. Hobbled at the end of the day by fence building, hole digging, compost making and weed pulling. My typical foray into the kitchen for a bowl of popcorn and bit of Walking Dead at night is usually punctuated by a waddle only ever seen in me in the long ago time when I was pregnant beyond reason.
My hips scream, my back creaks and I’ve gone through too many bottles of solarcaine to really accurately count. Because throwing a german/irish white girl born and bred in the Pacific Northwest into the noonday sun in July is tantamount to putting a metal bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. AKA – not a great idea and usually accompanied by violent reactions.
But I have bled for this farm. I’ll take the aching back and throbbing, piercing sacro-iliac pain when I stand up if it means I can come out of the garden with a bowl of raspberries, freshly picked. Or if I can go out in the morning and pick breakfast (this morning it was potatoes, kale, strawberries, broccoli and some eggs from our chickens.) Every week, we haul in more and more.
Which reminds me that the broad beans are ready to be harvested and the area cleared for winter greens.
So it stands to reason that when I get all gussied up to go to my off farm job 3 days a week, sometimes I get to my climate controlled office and find that once I’m sitting down adjacent to a cool cup of iced coffee and my notebook, I start to notice my legs. And feet. If I’m dumb enough to wear short pants or a longer skirt, I’m occasionally horrified to see the cuts, bruises and welts criss crossing my ankles and lower legs.
As if, in fact, I’ve been pistol whipped by a rabbit.
Like, a crazed rabbit hopped up on PCP looking to settle a score.
I don’t know if this makes me bonafide or supremely stupid. The jury is still out on that.
Thankfully my client’s don’t seem to mind and the couple that have made comments seem to think my lower legs are hilarious.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
~ Hunter S. Thompson
Rage on, gardeners.