Monday, August 26, 2013

#500...and Finding my "Voice"

August 2013
This is a milestone...

…a momentous event…

...a red-letter day in history.

Today marks the 500th time that I’ve hit that “publish” button and committed my ramblings to cyberspace.


I’m kind of impressed with myself. 
I didn’t know I had it in me.  
I didn’t know I had that much to say. 
(If you hear laughter…that’s the Boss.  He knows better than anyone just how much I have to say…he’s been putting up with it---I mean---listening---for nearly 30 years. )
...and I really hope someone is reading my ramblings.

October 2009
(the changes are subtle)
When I started the farm blog back in ’09, I did so thinking it would…well…be "cool" to have the farm represented in cyberspace. 

It was October. Market season was nearly done for the year.  It had been raining and it was cold. We were amazingly “caught up” on farm chores. The Boss had one big project to finish before winter and it didn't require my help.  Our eldest daughter had just gotten married.  The younger one was "nearly" engaged and working off the farm.  Life had taken another quantum shift and it seemed time to focus on the farm. I didn’t have any grand ideas of reaching the masses or helping folks to “know your farmer…know your food”…I was just amusing myself in my little corner of the office.

Okay, let’s be real honest…face it…I was bored.

But, the more I wrote, the more I realized I had to say.  The odd and random, very circuitous route that brought us to the hill also gave us a different perspective and a most eclectic array of contacts. Our experiences and friends really do run the gamut. This grants us---me---a unique perspective on a wide array of the aspects of agriculture.

The more I talked to folks at the Market, the more I realized they needed to know.  The fact that most grown-ups are two to four generations removed from the farm is made painfully obvious by the recurring questions and comments at the Market. Nearly every week, I wondered how to meet the growing need for firsthand farming information.

One thing the Boss and I truly enjoy is visiting other farming operations.  No matter the size or the practice, we always learn something.  It just seemed that maybe…just maybe…someone would enjoy virtually visiting our little piece of paradise. …and since I love talking about this place and the things we do… 

The farm blog was off and running.

in the garden with Grandpa Bing 1966

I’ve always loved growing things.  One of my early blog entries detailed my first experience with lettuce in a neighbor’s garden.You can read it HERE. I will be eternally grateful to old Mr. Payne for taking the time to show that little girl the wonders of gardening. 

While I may have issues with some of the aspects of my childhood, a lot of good came from growing up at the end of an old gravel road.  I was the odd little kid who surprised the teacher by identifying the types of grass in a bale of hay and never quite fit in with the other kids at school. Did you read this one?  On occasion, I even got to take live animals for show-and-tell. 
bottle-baby goat 1971
gardening 1968

Those summers of weed-pulling and rock-picking have served me well over the years. I’ve got years of writing material! ...and an outstanding work ethic to share with our children.

The sometimes funny, sad, exciting, silly things that happen  here on the hill provide constant fodder for entries.

barn antics are always amusing

I just can’t find time to write…or don’t type quickly enough to cover all that I would like to blog about. It’s always surprising to me how seemingly mundane farm work is so interesting to other folks.  Most of the time the interest is open-minded and genuine. 

…but, sometimes…not so much.

While I knew there was a lack of connection between producers and eaters…I didn’t realize that there can be such a sense of distrust, dislike and in some cases, animosity and hatred for the very people who work so hard to bring food to our tables.  That realization floored me. I was living in my own little rural world where farmers were admired as the pillars of the community until a customer asked me “is this from a factory farm?"  Read this. To this day, I have yet to find a "factory farm" anywhere quite like those portrayed in the media.

That chance encounter led me to research various and sundry Ag subjects on my own.  I was astounded to find that a lot of what I thought was factual---really was NOT.  This in turn granted me a whole host of subjects to share with those who would listen. I’ve also met some real interesting folks, found some amazing operations,  even if it is only through my computer screen.

at the Market- October 2011 
 Since the Boss and I are the only farmers some folks ever actually meet, it is imperative that the information we dispense is both factual and fair---and un-biased. We are in a unique position to act as a sort of liaison between urbanity and Ag.  This is not a responsibility or opportunity that I take lightly.

It isn’t that farmers don’t appreciate the consumer; they just don’t have opportunity to actually meet them very often. I’m glad to see that producers of all types are embracing the “Agvocacy” movement (read about that HERE)  and beginning to tell their stories. There are some awesome folks out there working hard to provide each of us with the food, clothing and shelter that we all need. I am constantly inspired.

My recent very personal encounter with the cyber-bully/haters (and those in the community that don’t support...appreciate…even like farms, farmers) just strengthened my resolve to continue to write about my life and my work from MY perspective. In the past, there have been times when I’ve held back and tried to tip-toe around certain subjects.  I don’t think I’ll be doing that anymore. There are some touchy subjects (particularly in Ag) but, they do need to be addressed from time to time.  I can only hope that I will do a good job, coming to the subject with a fair and open mind...hoping that any readers will do the same. But, I do this with the realization that won't always happen.  I can only hope that at least I'll make people think about the various issues of Ag...even if they never agree with me.

If just one person learns something from any of my ramblings, I will count myself successful.  I have always appreciated this quote from Emerson…

"To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children;
to learn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a little bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded."
                                                                 -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Rather than writing just to "amuse" myself anymore...I hope that by blogging I can help someone re-connect with the sources of food, teach someone about food production, preparation or preservation...or maybe just make someone smile.

Thanks for reading! 

        …’s to the next 500.

If you want to know more about food production and handling, I would like to help you answer your questions.  If I don't have personal experience or know the answer...I know people who do. I’ll be glad to help you find the information you need.

1 comment:

  1. Then consider yourself, successful. :-) Thank you for sharing with us.