Grit Blogs > The Domestication of Cattle Cait

I Am Not A Hobby

The Domestication of Cattle CaitThere is no more rewarding feeling than producing your own food. That feeling swells in my heart each morning when I make breakfast, because breakfast for me is the most farm-fresh meal of my day – eggs with goat cheese, goat milk, gluten-free toast and homemade jam, and a cup of tea. I grew this. I fed the chickens, raised hay for the goats, milked the goats, made the cheese, and made this meal. I farmed and I ate.

I've been accused of not being a farmer. I don't grow enough, I don't have a tractor, I don't make a profit, I have an off-the-farm job, whatever. The reasons go on forever. Let me tell you what, though, I know that I am one. You know how I know? I know, because if I wasn't a farmer, I wouldn't know what I am. I'd be completely without an identity. Farming is not my job, it's my life.

There are traits I don't have, sure. I don't know how to drive a tractor. I have driven my buddy's tractor at the steam show a couple of times with some heavy coaching, but I wouldn't remember how to do it if you plopped me on the seat and told me to go. And those big green tractors that take up the whole road? Never been in one. No desire to, either.

I don't grow cash crops, I don't make money off of what I do, and I do have to work off the farm to support my "hobby." That doesn't make my lifestyle any less important, I'm just not on a big scale, and that's OK. I don't need thousands of acres of corn. What would I do with thousands of acres of corn? I can't eat that!

There's that term "hobby." "Hobby farm." And see, here's where we're going to get to the nitty gritty of it. Farming isn't all completely fun. Is this a hobby, when I'm on my knees, sweat dripping down my nose, pulling weeds out of the garden? When the hail pounds down and destroys my hay field, do I shrug and say, "Well, thank God this is just for play." Tell me, as I'm holding a dying newborn rabbit in my hands, bracing myself to take its life because it's suffering more than living, is that a hobby? Who labeled me a hobby farmer? Who lived this life, and then told me that I don't do enough? Who decided that my farming isn't as important or real?

I am not a hobby farmer. I am not a redneck, a country girl, or a farmer's daughter. I am the farmer. I live it, I work it, I breath it, I am. I raise my food, I work the land, I am the farmer, and I challenge anyone to try to convince me otherwise. Tell me, sure. Argue, fight with me, do whatever you think necessary, to tell ME that I'm not what I am, but you will never convince me.

office

(the view from my office)

suttonsdaze
7/25/2014 6:10:23 PM

Thank you!!! I have been fighting a complex derived of lack of acreage and cattle. With our little 6 acres we raise pigs, chickens and a garden that will feed our household. I'm tired of feeling like inadequate because we don't have 80+ acres, have to hold down and off homestead job and haven't been doing this for generations! Great post!


nebraskadave
7/13/2014 8:24:33 AM

Cait, I have always believed that being a farmer is just in a person's DNA. It's something that comes out as a passion in life. Indeed, a lifestyle so to speak. I diverted from my farmer passion in life with a secondary passion by following a career in technology. After retiring my farming DNA raised up again and now I'm an Urban farmer. Attempting to grow gardens on urban lots. Those of us that have that burning desire inside of us can not explain how working until we drop can have satisfaction in it. I'm not exactly sure how it works either but I just know that it does. Certain traits are undeniable for those that love the soil. Seeing the sun rise is something that's common place on a working farm. Starting the day early just happens and doesn't need to be rudely started by an annoying alarm clock. The joys of watching the sun rise on the farm is ever so much better than viewing it over the steering wheel on the way to a windowless cubical. In my humble opinion, I believe God intended us to work hard physically each day and go to bed tired. ***** Have a great day farmer Cait.


backyardbaers
7/8/2014 11:08:33 AM

Great post, well said!