I made a comment on Facebook a few days ago that “now I have to farm harder.” In many ways it was a dialogue between my philosophical side and my inner comedian, but it seemed to strike a chord with a lot of people.
Farm harder. What does that even mean? I’ve already alluded to the fact that my farming life is a lot of work… full-on-work-my-butt-off, physically, mentally, intellectually, and emotionally, from sun up to sun down, whatever that may be. Farming is hard, well d’uh! I may not have years of experience, but I definitely know that for a fact, knew it before I even started.
When I typed the words “farm harder”, a lot of things were in the wings. The Facebook status, in the most literal terms, was precipitated by the fact that on Friday of last week I did something most folks would consider to be insane, selfish, and completely incomprehensible. I drafted a letter, typed the word “Resignation” in the subject line, and then let NSCAD University know that I wouldn’t be returning to my fairly decent paycheque and reasonably stable job. This time last year I was our main breadwinner. This time this year I have condemned myself to a paycheque of pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, eggs, milk, veggies, sweat, blood, and tears. Farm harder? You’d better believe I have to.
On another level, however, “farm harder” is an ideal inspired by my sorta hero Joel Salatin. Troy and I have bowed to the notion that easy is not always better. I turned our new garden with an ancient tiller and a shovel, not a tractor . We milk by hand. We weed by hand. We farm organically, which means hand picking thousands of bugs instead of blasting them with a chemical killer, and fertilizing by digging for well-rotted manure instead of spraying with a MiracleGro-esque cocktail. Oh, we “farm harder”, alright. We don’t do anything the easy way. But we love it.
“The turkeys got in the house this morning while I was loading the car for the Farmer’s Market, a grand chase ensued, and Milo almost caught a couple”, is a much better story than “While loading the car I could hear turkeys calling from their pen.” Yes, returning them to their rightful enclosure and getting my butt out of the driveway was harder than it needed to be, but over Thanksgiving dinner I’ll have a much better story than “turkeys were on sale at Sobeys this week for $1.99 a pound.”
Farm Harder. I think it’s the solution to a lot of the world’s problems. I think it’s going to be our farm’s new slogan. I know it’s going to be an adventure, and I know we’re going to kick ass. Stay tuned for tee shirts. We’re gonna merchandise harder, too.