Thursday, June 30, 2011

How Farming Has Changed Us

There is a scene in the new movie Bridesmaids where the lead actress gets out of the car and begins to walk home along a highway flanked by fields. It is an important point in the story, and she’s wearing a cute outfit. But, I couldn’t help wondering, “What is growing in that field? Are those potatoes? What season is that? Maybe late spring?”  

Oh. My. Gawd. What is happening to me? Six months ago, I would not have even noticed that there were row crops in the picture! Now, it is what I saw in lieu of everything else. On the ride home, I mentioned this disturbing thing to Rich, who admitted to seeing them, too. 

So, we made a list of all the ways farming has changed us in the last four months. It turns out it is more than just noticing crops instead of outfits. (Although that is becoming a trend with me. On the way to the outlet mall, I saw that corn over in Saunders Settlement is about 18 inches higher than ours. It was as exciting as the 40% discount at the Gap Outlet.) Okay, here goes our list:

  1. Hands are becoming stronger, with many more calluses
  2. Can tell a Rome apple from a Northern Spy, a Bosc pear from a Bartlett
  3. Have sat on a lawnmower (actually a tractor with a 52-inch deck) more than in entire life previously
  4. Know where items are located in Home Depot – like 3/16 inch galvanized cable, aisle 8, safety gloves, aisle 5.
  5. Apply  100+ sunscreen everyday
  6. Growing obsession with OPG – other people’s gardens
  7. Forgetting what a cubicle looks like
  8. Adjusting to not talking for hours or interacting with only one other person
  9. Forgetting what 9-6 feels like
  10. Understanding how to ‘be our own boss.’ Getting to solve problems and be creative - like saving an old farm by planting hops, which is a new crop for Niagara county
  11. Learning that ‘being your own boss’ also means ‘being your own employee.’ Those 28 post holes are not going to dig themselves.
  12. Realizing that seasons change every few months, but nature changes every week. New signs pop up everywhere when you are watching. There is a new type of flower blooming, last week it was wild climbing roses, this week it is tiger lilies. Or a new insect. In June, we have seen grasshoppers, ladybugs, wasps and Japanese beetles emerge.
  13. New reading material, like “Cornell Guidelines to Commercial Fruit Tree Production 2011”
  14. Forgetting what days off feel like
  15. Getting mentally stronger so as to not sweat the small (and big) setbacks and know that the other can look to you, to depend on you for motivation and to make the experience fun and worth it

Farming has brought new meaning to our lives. The old meaning of work is still there, but we’re slowly adjusting. We don’t feel as compelled to sit in front of the computer after coming back from the farm. For so long, that was our work space. Completing a project was done by hitting the ‘Send’ button. Now, we are adjusting to this new work place, where sitting is rare and nothing is virtual. We are restless when we haven’t been outside. I even get a little antsy if I haven’t gotten some dirt underneath my nails (Oh, for the record, they’re still painted. I haven’t changed that!)


  1. the best thing is that this feeling will stay with you even if you move away from the farm one day. your post reminded me of my childhood of growing up in a farm. thank you!

  2. Thanks everyone! I agree that the old 'farming feeling' never leaves you. It brought both of us back to it after 20+ years.

  3. I think the changes are exciting! Never had a life like this, but I am feeling I am there when reading your post!

  4. I might have said this 2 million times already but I need to say this again, You guys are so cool. love the post

  5. i agree with selvan, you guys are amazing! :) keep on keepin' on!