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Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Why do we call it Rancho Cappuccino?

By Bryan Welch 

Tags: Rancho Cappuccino, agriculture, agricultural reform, whimsy, art, cappuccino cowboy,


When I'm introduced to a new acquaintance, the introduction often ends with, "Bryan farms." Like it's the most interesting thing about me. Well, maybe it is.

A few years ago I was introduced that way and the fellow said, "Why would you choose to live way out in the country away from everything."

"Well," I replied,"we like the peace and quiet. We like having space around us. But we're just outside town. We're, like, two miles from the nearest Starbucks."

"I see," he smirked. "You're one of those 'cappuccino cowboys.'"

I should have felt insulted. Maybe I did for a second. Then I thought, "Well, yeah. If that means I farm for fun, that's true. If it means my motivations are more artistic and philosophical than they are economic, then I plead 'guilty as charged.'"

We started calling our farm Rancho Cappuccino.

Industrial agriculture has turned a lot of farmers into underpaid laborers on their own land. The pressures of the industrial model prevent creativity. They grow what the system tells them to grow, in the way the system tells them to grow it. There's too little whimsy in it, and too little joy. Their day, like bad coffee, is a routine grind. The opposite would, I guess, be cappuccino.

True, we're lucky enough to make a good living elsewhere so we can enjoy the farm as a refuge, an avocation, a source of physical and spiritual nourishment: an amateur work of art.

It's sad, though, isn't it that just a few years ago most farms were all those things.

If being a real farmer, or a real cowboy, means trading in my agricultural whimsy and my creativity for a grind of conformity and worry then I don't want to be a "real" cowboy. I'm happy being a cappuccino cowboy. I'm right where I belong here at Rancho Cappuccino.

virginia smith
2/16/2009 6:58:33 PM

Beautifully said! It helps justify my 25 unusual "tophat" chickens who do nothing but make compost, crow and add beauty and whimsy to my yard. I have layers, these are "just because". Back in the 40's, I grew up on a homestead farm when country wasn't cool. It was our means of living. It broke my father's heart to see family farms disappear, and I hope that when I am mucking out my cappuccino chicken house or chopping ice for their water, that he can feel the love and honor I have for that upbringing. You can never remove country living from your heart and soul.

allison clark
10/26/2008 1:49:14 PM

life is a work of art! Urban homesteading or traditional homesteading- if you enjoy the lifestyle you are trekking lighter on the world. go out and play, Allie

lisa reitz_1
10/3/2008 12:46:23 PM

What a great story! I agree that homesteading isn't about doing it a certain way, or it being the ONLY way, but that it provides the participant with the needs they want to fulfill. That may be large scale or small, animals or no animals, 2 acres or 200! The point is that those who are homesteading are doing it because it's a better way of life for them, however they decide to do it. :) Thank you for sharing! -Lisa

10/3/2008 3:17:21 AM

Well said. Living in the fundamentals of farming and a natural lifestyle should not need to be defended, just enjoyed.

melissa rodgers
10/1/2008 2:54:47 PM

Bravo! From a cappuccino chicken farmer...