On TV where I live, there's an ad for a website called Farmersonly.com. It's an online dating site that hooks up farmers with other farm-loving people.
Now I know why.
You have to be crazy to be a farmer – or marry one.
Crazy hours, slave-like labor, back-breaking work, below-poverty pay.
I'm not so sure I signed up for that.
When Tom and I dreamed of farming, we dreamed of skipping to fields of bushy-green plants over-flowing with fruit and veggies.
Instead, we trudged to uneven clay-baked dirt to find our plants withered and malnourished. Japanese beetles feasted on the green leaves, leaving them unworthy of the farmers' market and unsellable to the public. We picked off the bugs and ate the questionable plants ourselves.
Our livestock guardian dogs "played" with a few chickens – to death.
The chickens, or "ladies" as we call them, decided not to lay eggs. For six months. We almost chopped their heads off until we realized I wasn't feeding them enough.
I'm just glad I haven't been charged with a crime.
Now they're laying. Things are looking up. Thirty-two eggs yesterday.
Peeled Poplar Farm is making head way, too. I'm selling to a few high-end restaurants and they even like me. I've produced value-added products that seem to be popular. A few local stores carry them and wineries are testing out my jellies.
All in all, it's a better year.
And there are benefits of farming.
Fresh tomatoes pulled right from the vine and eaten over the sink.
Growth – both plants and people.
For instance, if you would have told me five years ago I'd be making my own laundry and dish detergent, I'd tell you to get out of town. Or that I slow cook my own yogurt, I'd tell you to take a hike.
Yet, I'm learning and growing. I know what a baby cucumber plant looks like and when tomato plants have their true leaves. I know that a bush hog is not a pig hiding in the woods. I know AI is not a scrabble word, it's has to do with cows and other livestock and you should ask your mother.
Which brings me back to FarmersOnly.com. Photographs of happy couples horseback riding on a wide open range or snuggled up beside a cozy campfire.
Sounds good to me.
I'm looking forward to to year three ...