Down On The Farm

Linda Sharp - Author - Columnist - Media Guest - Event Speaker

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Down On The Farm

Today I decided that I am a farmer. Not a mother. Not a caretaker. Not a wife. I am a farmer. No slur or negative connotation intended here. On the contrary, farmers perform a frequently thankless job that we would perish without. See? Farmer = Me. Perish = My family.

I came to the realization this morning while harvesting a new crop of my husband’s underwear. Not an easy chore, mind you. While there is an "acre" (the hamper) specifically set aside for this crop, it seems to pop up rather weedlike. The bathroom doorknob, behind the closet door, the side of the bed. (No complaints about how that one gets there!) The underwear crop does not like to grow alone. It is usually found along side a bushel size pile of dirty socks.

The harvesting continues as I proceed to the "South 40", better known as my daughters’ bedroom. Once again, although specific acreage has been set aside, their "crop" tends to prefer growing in "stinkweed" fashion. . . ALL OVER THE FARM!

Further light dawned on my "farmer-like" qualities as I woke the "chickens", my daughters to feed them. Now, on an actual farm, I believe the chickens truly appreciate the farmer who appears each morning with feed. My chickens must be a mutant strain. Regardless of the "feed" I offer, they are always in the mood for something else. "Waaaafffffllleessssss?!? I wanted Pop-Taaaaaarrrrrrts!" (Note: The farmer usually wins in this scenario, unless the chicken wishes to wear her waffles to school.)

As I climbed into my John Deere (actually a mini-van), ready to drive the herd to their respective pastures, I once again felt a kinship with the farmers of this world. Though I suppose driving a herd on a farm is a bit easier for them. . . I’ve never seen much road construction in an actual cow pasture.

With the herd safely ensconced in the pasture, I proceed back to the homestead, where the definitely thankless job of farm maintenance begins. Armed with a pitchfork, I sigh and enter the "barn" to begin the mucking of the stalls. A pitchfork is the ideal farm implement to use in my children’s playroom. Much easier to scoop the myriad Happy Meal toys that cover the barn floor. After an hour of hard work, I stand back and view the "fruits of my labor" . . . a clean room, all in it’s place. But, much like a farmer, the satisfaction is bittersweet. The mucking will merely need to be repeated again tomorrow.

The day continues with more trips across the acreage to herd the cattle back to the farm. They are in an unruly mood. I find that a quick snack of juice and cookies soothes my cows. (I doubt that Old MacDonald’s cattle receive such catering.)

As dinner is being undertaken, I feel much like a pig farmer. Why haven’t I simply erected a trough for my toddler to feed from? She would rather eat from the floor anyway. (Note for tomorrow’s chores: Visit grain co-op and order deluxe trough.)

As the sun sets and the chickens have all quieted for the night, I reflect on the chores of the day. Harvesting, tractor riding, herding, feeding, mucking. Yes, I AM a farmer, and though the hours are long and the thanks are few, there is personal satisfaction in knowing my "farm" needs me . . . whether they know it or not.


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