I’ve been thinking a bit lately about starting a photo blog detailing rural life. In a way, to give people a little insight into agriculture, farming, and the way of life as we see it. Farmers are often misunderstood or looked down upon for their choice of simple living. A case in point:
It was my senior year of college, and I was working on my graduating thesis with my mentor, a professor who — I assume — had never lived anywhere BUT the big city. So, I’m working on this paper (maintaining my deadlines and keeping up with the work, mind you) and he tells me:
You can’t do anything else this weekend. I don’t care what the animals are doing or what your husband wants you to do farm-wise, I want you to lock yourself in your room and ONLY work on this paper.
It wasn’t so much what he said, as the tone of voice in which he said it. Farming was stupid. Animal husbandry was one of the basest priorities around. I shouldn’t be wasting my time. His thesis paper was God’s gift to me and I had better fall on both knees and worship.
The thing is, it doesn’t work like that. Never has. Farming (and orcharding and animal husbandry and all the other ag-related fields) is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle. Animals need to be fed. Every day. If they’re out, they need to be put back in. If they’re ill, they need to be caught, treated, looked after. If you don’t plant your garden, you won’t eat.
Most of all, NOTHING goes according to plan. Farmers are at the total mercy of Mother Nature (& Murphy’s Law).
Crops can be destroyed in a single, ill-timed storm. Animals can get in accidents and die. Gardens wither under a sun too harsh, too soon. Broken machinery sometimes can’t be revived, and we have to make do with a farmerized, jury-rigged setup until we can sell what we manage to coax from the ground. It’s a hard, labor-intensive way that sometimes doesn’t even pay for the effort you put in.
But we like it that way.
There is nothing more beautiful than watching a baby calf get up on its feet for the first time. There’s nothing more breath-taking than watching giant thunderstorms throw spears of crackling lightning over the craggy mountaintops while you’re pulling your cultivator around and around. There’s nothing more fulfilling, or satisfying, or just plain wonderful than watching the new plants peep up out of the dirt you worked with your hands.
This is why I’ve been thinking about starting a photoblog. To show the rest of you why we do what we do. Why we cling to a profession that’s almost as old as humanity itself.
So. What’s your opinion? Do you want to see what it’s all about?