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Silver anniversary sparks memories of adapting to farm lifePosted Tuesday, August 11, 2009, at 12:25 PM
Silver anniversary sparks memories of adapting to farm life
Last week my husband and I celebrated 25 years of marriage. That means I passed another milestone -- 25 years of living on a farm.
Although I grew up in the city limits of Kansas City, the pre-1900 era
home we lived in was the old house in a baby boomer neighborhood right on the east edge of the city. We were always told it had once been the "farm house" and the neighbor's yards and 1950's era homes were built over the family's farmland.
We even had an old-fashioned hand pump in our yard -- which still pulled up rusty water if you worked it long enough.
Maybe that was why I always wanted to live on a farm. Or maybe it was because of the answers my mom gave me when I asked to have a big dog, horse, dirt bike or, ironically, a John Deere riding lawnmower.
"You can't have that because we live in the city -- but if we lived on a
farm you could have a (big dog, horse, etc.)" she would often say.
So when I met a Saline County farm boy in college, maybe it was fate,
maybe it was luck or just maybe it was a case of "be careful what you wish for, you may get it."
I was young, idealistic, in love and thought I knew everything I would
I left the land of holidays off, paid vacations, weekly paychecks,
shopping malls and city traffic. I went into the land of "What holiday?
The sun's out isn't it?" -- no pay if the rain's not falling or falling too
much, crop markets, yearly paychecks, debt, Wal-Mart and gravel roads.
My mother-in-law used to tell people, "Marcia doesn't know a thing about farming." And she was right. Even after three years of dating a farmer, riding a tractor with him during breaks from college and spending time at his parent's house -- I didn't have a clue.
The idealistic and simplistic view I had, and many others have, of farming is different than actually living it day after day, year after year.
That's probably why I get upset when people who have never lived on a farm write or talk negatively about modern agriculture based on untruths, Internet myths or just plain ignorance.
It seems to happen more everyday.
The truth of agriculture -- what I've learned in 25 years -- is nothing like what I thought I knew.
I've learned farming for a living is not for the weak -- of mind, body,
spirit or faith. I've learned there are days when everything looks bleak
and unmanageable -- when prices or rain keep falling, often followed by wilting crops because rain is not falling.
I've learned we have to make decisions everyday that will affect our
future -- and our children's future. They are based on lessons my husband has learned from the generations of farmers who came before him.
We take care of our farm and our animals with that in mind every second of everyday. Sustainable agriculture is not a buzzword -- it is our life goal.
I've learned that farming is better -- and worse -- than I ever imagined.
It's full of ups and downs, disappointments and triumphs, hills and
valleys, bumps and bruises, late nights and early mornings, worry and joy, laughter and tears, rain and drought, planting and harvesting, crunching numbers and cutting back, bumper crops and crop failures.
By no means is it the simplistic life I imagined 25 years ago. Like all of
life, the truth is much messier than the fantasy. However, going into the next 25 years there is one big difference -- this time I know I still have a lot to learn.
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