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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Livin' Out of Town: An Appreciation for the Farm Life

Today, I'm part of a group linkup "Real Farmwives of America." Our hostess is Heather at 3 Kids and Lots of Pigs as part of her regular "Farmer Friday" feature. The question posed to us all is:
"How did you get here?" My family's farm story.


As you know, I have two daughters. And they are becoming a statistic.
Like so many Americans, they are growing up further away from the farm than the generation before them.

I grew up on a small farm with lots going on in various phases and combinations--corn, tobacco, hogs, cattle, goats, chickens, pickling cucumbers. Not many like it anymore in today's world of specialization. But it was a great place to grow up.

I realized, even before they were born, my kids would not grow up with the experiences I had: hours mending fences with my dad, feeding goats, castrating pigs, rounding up loose cows, walking the field to pick up corn the combine missed (we were a thrifty bunch), gathering and cleaning eggs for the local grocery, stripping tobacco. Those were some of the sights, sounds and smells of my youth. (To this day, nothing smells as sweet as a tobacco barn in the fall... nothing like a burning cigarette!)

Those were the experiences, along with my years in FFA and 4H, that really shaped my education and career choices.

So, after a few years in the 'burbs, when The Husband and I had to uproot and move back to Indiana, I succeeded in convincing him to buy our 10-acre plot of land a few miles outside of our little town. Here, we rent out the "back 40", er, 7 (along with a couple adjoining neighbors) to a local farmer, who share-crops corn or soybeans with us every year.

Because of this little homestead, my girls have had the opportunity to sample some of the blessings and experiences that their suburban classmates are missing, like riding a combine in the fall and watching the soybeans sprout in the spring. They have the chance to work with the dairy cows on a generous neighbor's farm for their 4H projects, learning what's involved in caring for large animals (including the manure!). They have friends who raise pigs and friends who raise sheep. This life comes with an appreciation that our food doesn't just come from Kroger.
While it's not exactly the same as growing up on a real-live working farm, it's the best I can provide--and that is something very important to me.

So, I don't call myself a "Farmwife" my any measure. That would be an insult to all those hard-working gals married to real farmers.

If you ask The Husband, he's more likely tell you I'm the farmer around here.

Our little plot of land (which is just enough to require us to file an Agricultural Tax Form with the IRS each year) doesn't need the blood, sweat and tears that so many American families put forth every day to feed some 150 other people.

Instead, my day-to-day job is more of a support role, in which I get to educate and communicate with farmers, as well as veterinarians and consumers about issues related to animal health and care and food safety. While I play a very small part in a very big picture, I'm proud that I can be involved with the industry I love.
If you want to check out other stories of Real Farmwives of Indiana, visit my friends at:


  1. Great story, and by the way, once a farm girl, ALWAYS a farm girl! You go girl!

  2. I'm another "homesteader" who admires my hard working farming neighbors. We're hear for the same reasons you are - it's in our blood and I want my kids to experience it too.

  3. So what is your day to day job? I'm glad your kids are getting to experience some of it, but you're right - it's very different being on a full-time farm!

  4. Hello BigD,
    Thanks for dropping in. I read your post with interest. It's a good thing you are doing for your daughters. Perhaps it's not a ful-blown farm but they'll grow up with a sensitivity for nature and the land. I grew up on a farm in the midwest about the same as you. My time was before chemical farming so people were healthy and didn't have to worry what they ate.
    Re the boots on my post..... yeah, you're right ..... I associate street walkers with them but that leaves me out ... I couldn't even walk 2 steps in them. Ha.

  5. That my dear is terrific. Even if not a big farm you have given the girls something to learn by, be inspired by, grow up by. I have done the exact same thing here with my son. We have just a small hobby farm with the feathered variety but just across the lake is my uncles farm with the goats, sheep, cows, horses and so on. So Mike has had the chance to learn it all. He has decided he does not wish to be a farmer like Mark but wants something small like ours. Enough to sustain a family of 3-5 with out weekly shopping trips to town. We grow our own foods, can and freeze just about anything and everything and have our own meats. It's a great life.
    Thank you for sharing. Also, thank you for stopping by and visiting. I am following you but not just cuz you followed me but because I love your blog, your posts and all that comes with it.
    Take care and have a safe and blessed weekend.

  6. I've always felt it's so important to preserve our natio's farmlands. So many farms in my area are being sold off because the kids don't want to be bothered trying to run it or have no interest. The local developers buy them and build their mini mansions and now there's more traffic and congestion and noise. Sad, it really is. It's nice to see someone like you who wants her kids to appreciate the love and gratification of having a farm.

  7. Neat story! Love the fact that I now know another FFA Chapter Sweetheart! My oldest got mine and her Dad's FFA jackets out last year and thought I had made up the Chapter Sweetheart thing!!!!

  8. What a nice story, great blog. I will be back to visit soon.

    I am late, but I am following from Follow Friday Over 40. I would appreciate it if you could stop over and follow me back.