When Liz and I bought and started our farm several years ago, I don’t know that I ever really expected to truly become the farmer type. What I mean by that is, I’m a bit of a geek — y’know, kind of the way a Hershey’s bar is made with a bit of chocolate. I love my computer, I love writing code and building websites, and I love my science fiction and video games. But in my mind, it was my wife who had the horses and who, therefore, needed a nice, little farm where she could keep them.
I’ve always liked to joke that I married into horses and married into farming, that I am the “hired help,” but the more I do it, the more I really enjoy the process of developing and keeping the land. Not that I was ever opposed to the idea, mind you. I did grow up in farm country, after all. I just never really saw myself ever being this involved in agriculture. (If I had, I think I would have joined my school’s chapter of FFA.)
Recently, I came to the startling realization that, most of the time, I really enjoy the labor of farm work. There’s just something physically honest about it. There’s no office politics involved in hefting bales of hay around (though, to be fair, I work in one of the least politically charged offices I’ve ever seen), and no social faux pas to be committed in working with the horses or chickens (the same, unfortunately, can’t be said about the honeybees). It’s just tools and work and sweat — and I couldn’t be happier than when I’m out tooling around the farm somewhere.
Mind you, it’s almost certain I will always favor “geek” mindset that comes so naturally to me, but more and more I find it sharing space with my love for the land and for the animals and crops that we keep on it. Agricultural issues now have the power to get me fired up enough to actually consider the political foray of government and lawmaking, if only to keep certain interest groups from treading all over our rights as landowners and growers of food. It amazes me how much my attitude and perspective has shifted over the last five or so years, but it does not discourage me.
As first-generation farmers, Liz and I are growing an agricultural heritage. It’s simple work, honest work, and it thrills like little else to watch the land develop around us.