A few years ago I vowed to have a farm by the time I was forty years old. I would put it out to the universe and God and watch it transpire with hard work and quite a bit of blessing. In forty eight days I will be forty years old. Bummer, no farm. My vision was of a hundred acres, a blend of woods and pasture. An old farmhouse, a barn, and a few scattered outbuildings. Sheep, chickens, ducks, goats, and alpacas, maybe a cow, would meander lazily in this romanticized setting. Fresh milk would be brought in the warm kitchen early in the morning. Colorful eggs would sit next to the stove to be fried up for a farm breakfast along with homemade toast. My husband would come in after caring for the animals and we would enjoy each other’s company over fresh pressed juice. Then we would go work in our extensive gardens that serve to sustain us and also act as farmer’s market wares. Such a life.
This made me look around. After Doug and enjoyed a breakfast of fresh, pastured eggs and warm bread, with homemade juice pressed from Aunt Donna’s grapes. This was after I helped Doug check on Loretta’s labor progress. We fed the goats, chickens and the alpacas. The ducks, a few more chicks, and ducklings will be here soon. The new baby kid jumped around the pasture enjoying the warming days. Our seeds arrived in the mail. Enough seeds to feed a small army should it be necessary. The quarter acre we allot to our gardens will be overflowing with over forty varieties of vegetables and fruits and almost equal amounts of medicinal and culinary herbs.
We may not be able to buy a hundred acres. We may be in an old farmhouse that is a rental. Our outbuildings consist of a garage and an ancient chicken coop. The dog runs freely through the chickens, scattering them to and fro. The sheep two doors down baah their good mornings. The hoop house in the neighbor’s yard on the other side of us is coming along nicely. We live among like minded folks. Our makeshift basement root cellar still has plenty of sustenance within its concrete walls. The weeds are just starting to peek up in the pastures. By golly, this is a farm, isn’t it?!
I thought by naming it a farm name (Pumpkin Hollow Farm) it would be facetious but I no longer feel like I am pretending when I say I am a farmer. The IRS sees our occupation as farmer. We sell vegetables, fruits, herbs, products made on this farm which in fact makes us a farm. Perhaps my description and vision of what a farm included was not fair to what the essence of a farm is.
Small farms are good because they are easier to keep up. There is little space for Doug to mow. No need for large machinery or equipment to keep in good repair. We do not have to hire anyone to help us with our apothecary or our farm. It is a lot of work, but we can handle it ourselves so we can keep this farm running on a moderately low income. We do not have to make as much money to keep our farm. My original version of the farm I would have when I was forty would be quite pricey and time consuming. We have just enough as it is.
It is a blessing to be on this humble farm. And a farm it is. Bret’s little brother at family dinner replied to this discussion as only a seven year old could, “It’s not a farm, you don’t have a cow!”