Reality and hard choices.

Posted by & filed under reflections, Uncategorized.

For 3 years now, I’ve been scraping by financially. But what farmer doesn’t really?

I take a lot of pride in that I’ve always succeeded in making sure all animals and obligations are taken care of. All of the farm critters have a good diet and regular check ups from their vets, rent and bills are paid and we eat very well. These are all things to be pleased about, and I am. But there is never anything left for me at the end of the year for savings or even to pay myself with and that kinda stinks. Running a farm mostly on one’s own is a lot of work and while I’m certainly very grateful that I get to enjoy a career in a field (pun intended) of my choosing and keep a roof over my head, I’d like to be able to afford new boots and proper work clothes and heck, even a luxury item like a professional haircut every now and then. As it stands, I cannot. My clothes are threadbare, my boots have been cobbled but will probably only last this winter and I haven’t had so much as a trim in over a year. If it sounds like I’m complaining, I’m not. I’ve got it pretty good. But I’ve got ambition, damn it!  I want a certain type of life and I’ll do whatever I can to have it. This season being the least productive I’ve had yet, I’ve decided to get a part-time job over the winter. Yup, it’s every self-employed person’s worst nightmare next to having their things repossessed.

Oh, don't worry about feeding us! We'll fill up on goat poop.

Oh, don’t worry about feeding us! We’ll fill up on goat poop.

But, here’s the thing: I’m ok with making that choice. I’ve been poor all of my life and I’m an expert in making it work. I’ve never gotten a bill in the mail and thought “Shit, what am I going to do??” I’ve inherited a certain amount of grit and determination from the other women in my family and when a problem arises, I’ve learned to just put your head down, set aside your pride and do what needs doing to find a solution. So working part-time is that solution, and I’m alright with it. I have no desire to hustle my way out of poverty forever, but i’m grateful that I am able bodied and have skills that would make me employable. I’m glad I have an opportunity to make a little extra money when I need to. I don’t feel like I’ve failed. Failure would be to give up and that’s not something I intend on doing anytime soon.

Usually winter is a time for me to catch up on rest and plan for the following season. There will be a degree of that, out of necessity. I’ve got a friend in the financial sector coming by in the next few weeks to help refine my business plan and set up a better system of tracking cash flow. I’ve already started planning for next season, infrastructure improvements and even started working with someone with real aspirations to become a farmer and will hopefully stick around next season. All in all, I feel hopeful for the future.

As for now, my goal is getting through the winter. With luck we will not only make it through the cold months ahead, but perhaps we’ll make a little bit extra and I’ll be able to get those new boots I’ve been hoping for.

4 Responses

  1. Maggie November 10, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    I’m sorry for the lack of boots and the whole goat-poop situation, but glad you were able to find a part time job.
    I picked up another job so I could add a few more garden things and hopefully talk the owner of the property next door into selling it to us. (It’s an Itty bitty lot, but perfect for chickens)

  2. Anthony November 10, 2015 at 2:44 pm


    I just wanted to mention how much I enjoy your Instagram and blog. My wife and I live in Brooklyn right now but are planning to move upstate in the next couple years to start building a biodiverse/permaculture farm. Following your work has been very inspirational, and of course you’re photos are beautiful. Keep rockin’!

  3. Amanda November 13, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    I feel for you. I always feel the same way. All my cash goes to the farm and animals – nothing left for me : ) But man the view outside my door is always amazing!

  4. Teresa Stuth March 12, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    What an inspiration you are, I love your IG page and how you keep it all so real. You hand the kind of life I do desire, but will
    Probably never have.


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