To become a farmer you must have an overwhelming desire to feed yourself, your family, and part of the city. You must have an intense desire to teach young people where their food comes from (and adults…a woman came up to my friend’s farm booth at the market and asked why the carrots had dirt on them seeings how they grow on trees….my friend just walked away speechless.) because there are an astounding number of people that do not know where their food comes from!
A lady had an argument with me at the wine bar one time because she knew that cows always have milk to give their whole lives and do not have a need to give birth.
My hair stylist did not know that pepperoni was meat.
If the grocery stores closed in an emergency (like the one we are experiencing now in my state of Colorado), folks are going to starve! Children worry they will starve to death as they trample wild foods (weeds), and do not know what to do with seeds. We must teach and grow food! I rather fear I have that inextinguishable desire to be a farmer.
To become a farmer, one must be quite clever on space or inherit a large amount of land. I was feeling pretty smug about my quarter acre of garden this year. Everything looks wonderful and the food tastes wholesome and delicious. I envisioned a bit of California in our small town of Kiowa, where one could leave work and come by to pick up a few things as inspiration for a fresh, flavorful dinner. Pop by my house and pick up a big handful of tomatoes, some crisp heirloom lettuce, a pumpkin to roast, some corn to butter. I have one person that was coming to the farm.
“Do you have a bushel of green beans?”
“No, I just have enough today for a really great side dish.”
The next week, “Do you have a bushel of tomatoes?”
“Um, no, I have enough for you to make some really great pasta sauce tonight.”
Most of the food is going to us, which is what I intended primarily anyway!
To become a farmer, you must not want to sleep. You must be perfectly in tune with every sound on the farm and be able to hear those little deer rascals eating the green beans, or the raccoons partying in the corn, or the squirrels making away with the sunflower heads! (Okay, the latter is really cute and alright with me.) My friends who have large farms are up late picking and harvesting, up early loading trucks, and on the road across the state by dawn. They sleep in January. We, too, with all the farmer’s markets, farming, and classes are just now catching up on some shut eye. But, as the old adage goes, You can sleep when you’re dead!
To become a farmer, you must not want to quit. You must be a stubborn, determined, half sane from lack of sleep, passionate person. My friend has had a farm for nearly 100 years in his family. He is tired, but he is a work horse. Someone offered him two million dollars for his land last week. They did not want to farm it, just hold it for investment. Joe thought of the possibility for a second or two, but then he turned it down. Two days later, he awoke in the middle of the night suddenly (because he is a farmer and one must not sleep if one is a farmer) and went outside. The rain was coming down in incredible sheets and he could not see his truck. It was underwater. He quickly waded through and turned on the pumps in the fields and because of that they are muddy, but the crops are still alive. His farm is literally underwater (as is most of our state) and they have not found two of their trucks yet!
A farmer must be very forgetful. Forget about the fires. The drought. The hail. The scorching sun. The 100 year flood. The seed loss. The debt. If one stops to think of it, two million will sound quite nice. No, a farmer must forget about varmints, and floods that wash away semi-trucks. Next year, Joe will be out there planting again because it is in his blood, full knowing that something will try to destroy his farming season.
Writing all this, I see that I should become a secretary or a truck driver. But, I am just watching for the rain to let up so I can go harvest my crops! I will be planting next year as well. And I will have a larger farm one day. And I will be sleep deprived, stubborn, forgetful….what was I saying? Oh, I am already there. This makes me a perfect candidate to be a farmer. There is no other place on earth for me. Break in the rain, I have to get outside!!..