Bipolar Farming

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We started farming due to health reasons. Almost ten years ago our local food supply all contained GMOs and soy. So, on a mission to find clean food, we felt we had no choice but to do it ourselves. We don’t come from farming backgrounds. We had no clue what we were up against — all we knew is we wanted delicious, nutrient-dense food!

There is never a “typical” day for us. For example, let me tell you about our Tuesday:

It started off the same as always. Egg production seemed to be down — not anything out of the ordinary considering the heat; a few CSA customers will substitute eggs for a different farm product. We made sure all the animals were fed and watered and safe. We noticed a raccoon had found its way into a chicken tractor during the night (resulting in 2 dead chickens), so we set a live trap for him. Awesome. Felt everything was good — off we went to our food deliveries (we love making our customers happy and hearing their glowing feedback about how good our food makes them feel) and “day jobs.” We got back hours later to find a turkey brooder on fire. John feverishly did all he could to stop the fire from spreading. Unfortunately, the damage was already done. We lost 30 one-month old turkeys. The same day, while we were out, one of our guinea hogs farrowed five piglets. As we were enjoying them, we heard a hawk attack one of our ducks that was laying on her nest of eggs. We ran to scare it away, but, again, she couldn’t be saved.  

To me, this is the worst part of farming. No one talks about the emotional roller coaster one faces each and every day raising animals. Taking them to market is one thing — we know they had a great life and that we are responsible for that. It is the constant unexpected that gets tough to handle. To be a farmer, one needs to be able to balance the devastation along with the joy, which could happen all within 5 minutes. You need to be resourceful and be able to think on your feet. And, the most important trait — BE FLEXIBLE. No type “A” personalities in this industry. No matter how “organized” you are, it never matters. So much is out of your control, and really nothing can prepare you for the daily heartbreak. Yet we find it in ourselves to pick up the pieces and do it all again tomorrow. Wednesday will be better. 

Photo by Fotolia/monticellllo