The farm down the (gravel!) road has let the beef cattle out to pasture, and I keep meaning to send a letter to the owner. Because it’s such a well-kept farm, and the man lives alone, getting a little help from his son sometimes, and it’s evident that he works his retired ass off to keep his 100+ acres in pristine shape and his animals look fat and happy, and it makes me happy. Every morning I see him out on the tractor, and when we see him wave as we drive by, I am so flippin’ jealous. I want to be him.
I bet he’s thinking, “Man, I really need to get inside and get on the Tweeter.”
The sight of his rolling pasture with calves and mama cows running along the fence line in the morning is the greatest part of the day for Seth and I. And also a sad reminder that we’re on our way, once again, to our windowless cubes of death.
Crap. Crap. Crap.
On the way to work I realized my dream life:
I wake up early in the morning and kiss the kids goodbye because I go to work as a Kick-Ass Queen Nurse, and I remind Seth of some chore I’d like him to do because I am his Sugar Mama, and he stays home to tend to our cows and the youngsters and the produce that we are growing on the side for a little extra income. And people buy food from us knowing where it comes from and how it was made because I document the whole thing in a hilarious blog and we probably have a webcam in the chicken coop or something.
And when I drive to work?! Do you know what happens then?? I see OUR cows along our pristine fence line and Seth is up in the tractor and I am immensely happy.
I want to be a farmer’s wife.
Seth wins, again! Curse him!
And then I compare this Dreamlife with our current life, only it’s a decade from now, and we are both 37 and we are driving into work to Columbus every day and we spend our hours sitting in front of the computer and checking our Facebook status updates while we wait for returned calls, and we’re both award-winning writers and all the politicians and the developers and their handlers recognize us at the press conferences and we get really good stories and we smear our bylines on everything we do and the kids are at daycare and the treads on our tires are bare and I think: NO! NO! I do not want this! I do not want this!
Journalism is absolutely wonderful and fun and you can make a name for yourself while taking down some real slimeballishness if you want, but it’s not Biblically or financially sustainable–in the global economy or in the life of theteet, even. I do not regret it, but I am ready to make something happen with my hands. In Knox County. The greatest county in America. And I never want to read another newspaper or Twitter or maintain my RSS feeds ever again. Lets leave it all to the citizen journalists and the bloggers!
And I want people who live in Columbus to come up to the farm to eat dinner from things that were grown on the farm and I want their kids to play with our chickens so they won’t laugh at you when they are 12 and you tell them that the eggs in the carton actually came out of a bird.
But being a farmer is something you cannot just DO. Much like circus performers and carnies, you have to be born into it and inherit all the land and the knowledge and the equipment. But this Local Foods trend and this ill-informed Factory Farm Hate is making much more room for small-time, much more inefficient but much more personable families to actually carve out a living if they’re willing to work their asses of and if they have any sense at all of how to market. Even now — when we’re all Poor as Dirt and the economy blows — even now people are looking outside the grocery store to feed their families.
But to do this, to really do this, we need a much bigger farm with lots of land (SETH! YOU HAVE BRAINWASHED ME FOR THE LAST TIME!!!!) and we need to get our starter farm in order, and I need to get to school (mandatory informational meeting the 28th, okay!?) and we need to get the floors done and there are a whole host of items on the list (be careful when you start making the list!!!) and the devil is in the details of how we really make this happen in the next 3 years until we get me a new career, and in the next couple years after that when I have to work the night shift, but I am done stalling because I am finally okay with the idea of ‘cutting the cord’ to Columbus because it’s a great, hip place with lots of stimulants and entrepreneurs there is at least SOME diversity and people don’t seem to be afraid of gays as much, but I think food production and empty skylines are rewarding enough to tip the scales away from the festivals and Gay Street and all the cultural things that Columbus can offer toward a commute-free rural life that’s much more focused on 10 acres of grassy field.
I’d rather sell something at the Downtown Farmer’s Market than live there. Is that okay?
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