Are You Ready For Farming?

By: Candi Johns

Whether you've been farming your entire life, or just dreaming of your own place, I think we can all agree that living the country life is full of adventure and surprises. For those of you who are considering joining those of us already in the trenches, I thought I'd bless you with some food for thought.

Are you ready for farming?

So how do you know if you are ready for farming? If you don't mind searching for gloves. It doesn't matter that you buy gloves every time you enter a retail establishment and that you've been buying them
for 10 years. You will never be able to find a pair of gloves that match. You'll be able to find 2 right gloves. You'll be able to find 2 left gloves. You will rarely be able to find a right glove and a left glove…that match.
Not matching. Ever.

Did you know that gates open themselves? They do. If you are ready to get phone calls from your neighbors letting you know that the cows are out, again, you are probably ready for farming. Once you get off the phone, finish panicking, catch your cows, return them to their pasture, you will find the gate wide open. When you question the people living with you to find out who left the gate open you will find that none of them did it. The cows let themselves out!

If you have a lot of money to spend on water, you may be ready for farming. Be prepared to find frost-free pumps left on and running at random places around the farm. There will be water running at the barn for no apparent reason. There will be water running at the cow field filling a stock tank that was full 5 hours ago. You will get phone calls from your local water department asking you if you put in a pool. When you question your four small children who were using the pump at the barn or who were filling the cow's stock tank, they will all reply that none of them did it. The chickens must have turned the water on!

If you like tripping over boots, cleaning boots, and not being able to find boots, you are ready for farming. You will begin to have a love/hate relationship with your boots. They will be your best friend when you can find both of them and they aren't housing frogs. Since your children will all decide that your boots are better than their boots, your boots will always be gone. You will find them at the swing, at the forts, by the creek and in the barn. If your boots happen to miraculously be returned
to the garage, they will be unrecognizable. Mud, dirt, straw, hay, chicken poop, cow manure, not to mention frogs will all find their way into your boots. Don't bother asking the kids, none of them did it. So buy five pairs and hide them.

If you like laundry, you are probably ready for farming. Coats, hats, gloves, jeans, everything has to be washed constantly. We were a normal family of six (I use "normal" loosely) with a normal laundry load until we started homesteading. Before farm life I would wear my jeans five times before washing them. My kids would wear the same clothes a couple days before a wash, we NEVER had to wash our winter coats. And, who washes gloves? Farmers do! Your family will never wear the same jeans twice, especially if you have livestock. You do not want to wear anything with pig on it twice!

If you like to buy buckets, youare ready for farming. This is another commodity that you will always need and never be able to find. You can buy 100 plastic buckets in every color, but the instant you need one, you will not be able to locate one to save your life.

If you find Carhartt cover-alls, overalls, and Wrangler jeans fashionable, you are probably ready for farming. Forget the designer jeans, the white anything (hahaha) and fitted clothing. Farmers dress for work, comfort,
and warmth, not fashion. While I am on the subject of fashion, I should also mention that manicures are pointless, so is makeup in the summer, and you may also begin sporting a new fragrance. We were standing in the post office waiting to mail something when my youngest daughter walked over to me, hugged me and said with a smile, "Mommy, you smell like a cow."

If you don't mind driving around in a rolling, trashdump you are ready for farming. What you think is your car will eventually become a livestock trailer, an animal feed transport, and even a hay delivery service. Between the farm animals, feed, mud, hay, four kids, food, papers, toys, etc, my car stays in a constant state of trashed. My dad used to wash my car for me. Every time he cleaned it he said that he needed to get a
tetanus shot. Now he just gives me gift cards for free car washes.

The last item on the farming readiness list is: you must like cats. No one knows for sure exactly where they come from, how they get here, or how they find you. But they will. They will come from the woods, from the bushes, from the creek. They will arrive and make their homes in your barn, in your garage, under your porch or even in your chicken coop. Cats will arrive. Then they will go get all their friends. Before you know what happened, you'll have your own cat farm. It will begin with a tiny, little "meow" and will end with children begging to keep them and call them George. Must like cats.

If you can read this and not be afraid or daunted, congratulations! You are probably ready for the farm. There will be challenges, and probably some days that you'll wish you had stayed in bed, but most of the time farming is very rewarding and enjoyable. It is ever changing, never dull and always an adventure.

About Candi: I grow vegetables, kill chickens, swim with pigs, milk cows, and love anything homesteading. I live out in the country with my dear husband of 21 years and our 4 children. I like doing things the old fashioned way. 

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