I left the farm last weekend to meet my newest grandchild. Don’t get me wrong, I love to get away and leave behind the work and worries of farming, but I am just as overjoyed to return.
Farming the land and raising my own food is hard work so using a term like “spoiled” to describe myself seems odd, but quite honestly, it is the way I feel. My daily life is far from glamorous; I sit here right now wearing my fleece-lined torn leggings, a stained long-sleeved t-shirt topped with a flannel of a competing color. I’m wearing wigwam wool socks and I brought my bright orange boots into the farm shop so they won’t be as cold when I head back outside. It is chilly today, but that is no excuse not to work.
My day will consist of laying more PVC pipe and then covering the trenches dug yesterday as we prepare to introduce cows to Happy Earth Farm. Hopefully I will be finished by early afternoon so I can begin planting seed trays for late winter/early spring crops. The only guarantee for today? I will be filthy by its end.
So why is it that my return to the farm brings me such joy? I am beginning to believe that working closer to the land is not only a vocation, but the connection it creates has become a part of my entire being. It is not something I anticipated when I began farming. I go away, and although I thoroughly enjoy my adventure, the farm is always present in the back of my mind. What is the weather like? Are the chickens still laying record numbers of eggs? Did the kale survive the frost overnight? Are the guineas totally pissed that they have to remain in their coop while we are away? I am torn.
And, while I am away, I am aware, constantly, of every consumable. I cannot enter a grocery store or eat a restaurant meal without comparing it my own farm-raised goods. I don’t see a meal when I look at a plastic-bagged chicken in the store display case; in my mind’s eye I see how that chicken was raised and butchered. When I order my meal in a restaurant I am painfully aware of just how out of season most of my choices are and then I yearn for my greenhouse or raised beds because I know it is all fresh, clean and in season. I am cursed with the knowledge that I now know what real food tastes like and very little in the conventional world compares.
So I am spoiled: I am spoiled by the land, the fresh air, the vast blue sky, the burgeoning crops, the same day egg consumption, and the noises of a busy farmyard. I find myself sorely missing these things when I am gone so as I wake my first morning back at the farm and slip on my stained, mismatched clothes and pull on my boots for another long day of chores, I feel a sense of being pampered by my good fortune. Spoiled indeed.