Why I'm Going Back to the Farm

| 1/9/2012 4:34:24 PM

I’m plotting a revolution. It’s a personal one, but it’s a revolution just the same. At age 49, I’m reinventing myself as a farmer.

I consider myself a work in progress, a diamond in the rough, and particularly a late bloomer. I’ve looked at people who have happily held the same career their whole lives with envy. I’ve never felt that passionate about anything until recently. At times I feel like I’m ADHD, as my attention is easily distracted by something different all the time. There are lots of things I think I would enjoy in a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none way, which has led me down lots of various job tracks.

But over the course of the last couple of years, I have been experiencing increasing job dissatisfaction. It actually goes beyond dissatisfaction to borderline depression, hopelessness and despondency.

One day a particular email in my inbox caught my eye. It was from Dave Ramsey of debt-free living fame. A simple thing struck me about the short article. It said, “Stop looking out there, outside of yourself; look back at your past to find what you love.” Another article I read recently said pretty much the same thing but added to it: Look for something you have done where you weren’t aware of time.

That really got me thinking. What is it that I enjoyed in my past? So my mind was drawn to several snapshots from my younger years with experiences with gardening, experiences on the farm, in the outdoors. Right now, I sit in a cubicle, in front of a computer monitor, sometimes on the phone, contrary to being outdoors as in my growing-up years on the farm.
Robert as a KidOne particular childhood memory-snapshot involved freedoms I enjoyed on the farm, to do things like converting several empty farrowing houses to various poultry houses, incubating eggs, having ducks for pets, and raising rabbits.

A few years back, when my kids were grade-school age, we lived in a small town on a large double lot. I took advantage of the empty lot portion by moving a tumble down shack from the neighbors over, rebuilding it, and creating a chicken run. We also had a large garden with some very rich silty dark soil. We raised a few chickens and tried rabbits. We named the two does Rachel and Leah because, for rabbits, they seemed to struggle with infertility like their biblical namesakes. We were able to sell some of our leftover produce on a curb up by the town square. I loved it and the kids learned a lot.

1/13/2012 2:28:56 PM

In my youth I dreamt of living on a farm. I worked on one, why couldn't I have my own? Then school / jobs / children / mortgage / divorce got in the way. Now I'm 52 and happy to say that the BIG PLAN is to put the suburban house on the market next year (last child will be a senior) and move to the country. I've already started looking for land. Not that I haven't been busy - I keep bees, an organic garden, I put up my own jams, etc. I have just run out of outdoor space - and my town prohibits me from having chickens, nevermind livestock. My heart is with you Robert, and all the rest of you. We will do it; we will be successful!

Rachel Frank
1/11/2012 4:03:31 PM

This makes me so happy! At 26, I don't want to wait to be able to do this, I want to start as soon as I can. I want my son to grow up with these experiences. Good luck to you all and I hope to be joining you soon!

1/11/2012 3:17:59 PM

Okay, you guys are making me cry here. I love it. God bless you all. Robert, thank you so much for sharing your story. You've obviuously given a lot of people, including me, renewed hope.

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