Our days are busy and full. Family life is busting at the seams, full of life, characterized by happy and many times chaotic loudness and a dizzying array of movement. Farm life looks the same. We’ve added another drop off day for our farm products. We’ve had more babies born on the farm and we’ve added a few extra animals from various places along the way. We have a land flowing with milk and eggs, void of honey, as of yet. It’s exciting but it is also the hardest work we have ever been engaged in. It has made us stop and reevaluate many things in regards to food, family, work and the times in which we live.
In regards to food: Something happened to me. I went to the grocery store the other day and called my husband saying that something was wrong with me. I aimlessly walked around the grocery store…the food seemed fake…impersonal….gross…bland…dull even amidst loud, bright, colorful advertising and elaborate packaging…”buy me…buy me”. I looked at a head of lettuce and wondered where it was from and how old it really was. I moved on to the shredded cheese: it had some anti-fungal ingredient/drug in it to keep it from spoiling. I had coupons for a popular brand of crackers…which would have been just pennies after the sale and coupons…but I decided to pick up the box and read the ingredients first: High fructose corn syrup, modified corn starch, monosodium glutamate….. and something like monogylaridiadiaziedaathanthum–well, you get the point. Thanks King Corn. I put the box down and left my coupons on the shelf for someone else less critical. I left the store with my .75 organic juice bottles, free Bic pens, lots of bananas, $.99 cent toilet paper and my pasteurized carrot juice for the ride home. On the way home, I kept thinking about canning and how much I would have enjoyed a trip to the you-pick orchard or the Amish produce auction better.
In regards to family: I won’t romanticize the ideal family farm work. It’s grueling a lot of times and wonderful the rest. It has highs only with corresponding lows. It’s not heaven working in a tiny kitchen with 10 other people trying to make breakfast, make a herd of calf bottles and strain the cow’s milk to be put away in the refrigerator from the morning’s milking all at one time. However, the rare moment we get to sit down, it’s pure bliss hearing our happy children gather around the breakfast table each exchanging the morning news, informing one another about their new latest, greatest idea and raving over the farm eggs and fresh milk. As we break for the day, the day’s plans are given and everyone heads off to do the days work. Later on in the evening, we hope to gather back for a big supper meal and a long awaited story. It’s hard.. It’s busy and it’s loud…and it all-starts-over the next day…..but it is good and worth it.
In regards to work: Specifically, I’ve been enjoying reading lately about farm women. Most women use to be farm women and had to work like you can’t imagine for daily survival and sustenance. I have loved reading about these women and fear for every modern woman who is caught up in today’s dependant, easy, convenient culturalism. It’s the frog in the kettle analogy. The heat is on and the frog is slowing cooking to death. We’ve lost more than real food in the industrial model. We’ve lost our ability to work, create, produce and survive. If only we could have great, great, great grandmother show us all a thing or two about how to work like women use too!
In regards to the times in which we live: Incredible and unprecedented times is all I can say. It’s just wise and prudent to jump off the train heading for the cliff. I’m sure I could ramble on about this topic for a while, but time waits for no man…not even the farmer’s wife and I have to meet my family in the kitchen in the morning, where we’ll once again try to figure out how to live with one another in peace and harmony as we make breakfast for the crew, make cow bottles for the 8 cow babies bellowing outside and strain the morning’s milk from our ol’ faithful Guernsey giant.