Farm cred is kinda like street cred, except I invented the term so it may not be included in the latest edition of the Urban Dictionary.
The Outdoorsman and I have earned farm cred….a.k.a. farm credibility….over the past sixteen months. How have we earned it? Easy. By jumping in with both feet and eyes closed and quickly learning the ways of ranching by being forced to learn the ways of ranching. Do I think that everyone can learn to ranch this way? Not on your life. I am positive that we would not have been remotely successful without The Outdoorsman’s skill and knowledge about ranching and outdoor living in general. I always joked with The Outdoorsman when we use to watch Bear Grylls on his wilderness survival show. I always said that the show executives would find my bones about ten feet from where they dropped me off unless he was with me. In the case of me being partnered with The Outdoorsman, I have no doubt I would make it to my final destination whether it was in a remote desert or the Himalayas. I have that much confidence in his survival skills.
How have we done so far in our ranching endeavor? Well, it depends on your outlook and perspective.
From the perspective of our animals, it has been a mostly good run……except for the hen we electrocuted with fencing before we changed out the wire. That has been our only tragic ending to learning on the fly. (No pun intended.) We have definitely had our normal share of pet and farm animal tragedies, to be sure. Several favorite pets have died unexpectedly, but most of our 60 plus animals are healthy and thriving.
As far as projects are concerned, we have had to slow our roll quite a bit. We had very ambitious plans for how much we could do at the farm during the first year. Over a year has passed now and I would estimate that only about 25% of our initial project ideas have been carried out to completion. We have had a constantly changing, evolving list of projects due to time, money, and jobs interfering with our plans!
The projects we have completed include building a porch addition to our shed, an outdoor table, benches, a temporary chicken coop, a large animal pen, and “shredding” (the local term for mowing) 30 acres on a regular basis. We have learned how to survive without central air and heat. We have done our best to combat poison ivy and poison oak in enormous amounts. We have successfully done our jobs as a public educator, hospital safety expert, and involved community members. We have, praise God, seen our three children more in the past sixteen months then we ever dreamed possible at this busy time in their lives.
Despite all of the wonderful things listed above, let’s be honest. Today, I wasn’t “feeling it” when I arrived home. I wasn’t feeling the magnificent joy of living on a farm. I wasn’t feeling the desire to rush around feeding and caring for anything. I came home late from work and looked around and saw a lot of work. A lot of needy animals to feed and water. A lot of manure, poop, and piles of unknown substances lying around our ranch. A lot of bushy, snaky areas left unkempt on our land. A lot of work to do when you are tired from teaching and staying after to judge the color guard tryout for your school.
I came inside after dragging myself around to feed and check on our dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, donkeys, and cows. I sat down at the computer and thought about writing about the sometimes difficult, unpleasant parts of farming, but when I thought about it, the hard work is outweighed ten to one by the joys brought through the toil. Tonight, I am choosing to remember a lot of joy, a lot of happiness, a lot of memories, a lot of time with our children, a lot of return on our investment, a lot of peace, and a lot of years left to complete those unfinished projects.
Thank you so much, Everyone, for your interest and excitement about our animals and ranch. Your enthusiasm keeps me motivated to keep working towards our dream ranch. Green Acres can be quite a job at times, but I am thrilled that it brings many of you happiness and peace through the pictures I take and the blogs I write. My immediate plan is to continue writing and publishing pictures for you to enjoy. My future hope is to reopen my antique store, The Rusty Coop, sometime in the next year or two so I can offer some products made from pictures I take of our animals and land at Green Acres. Stay tuned for that in the coming months.