One thing about farming is the fact that if you are not working directly on the farm, you are working somewhere.
Lazy does not cut it in the farming life.
So, today I am off to the big city to one of my part time jobs. I work a several small jobs for several reasons:
1) I have this really weird need to help people sell their stuff.
2) If things get out of control busy, I have flexibility to roll with the flow.
3) If things get out of control slow I can pick up short term projects
4) A lot of what I do can be done after the sun goes down, and Cowman is watching endless Westerns or other people's cows on TV, or watchng people cook beef, butter some bread or eat ice cream. He is a man of limited interests.
Working in the big city has given me a whole new appreciation for promoting and telling others about what happens on the farm. It is really easy for an urban dwelling person to spout misinformation about farming from partial news reports they have absorbed through the media, or organizations with an agenda that is anti farming. But when they are actually confronted with a farm person stating facts about themselves and their farm that contradict their current understanding, I have learned that most people start to shift their ideas almost immediately.
Urban dwellers and other food consumers want to learn and understand where their food comes from, and they want facts from someone who farms about how food is grown. They do want to have faith in the farmer, the job he is doing, and the purpose the farmer has in being in business. Food is a big part of our lives.
Being fearful because of what you hear in the news is not a realistic view for the farmer to take in today's information age. We can either give personal stories about how much time and energy we spend tending to the resources under our care, or someone else will give a sensationalized or lopsided story to the consumer.
So, when I am working in town, I try to take the view that I am an ambassador for the farmer. I have stepped from my world into the world of the consumer that may not have ever even mowed their own lawn. I share about newborn calves, fresh hay, how cows are the masters at recycling things we can't eat ourselves, and really dark nights without street lights. I talk about worry over the cow that is not feeling well, the sadness over the calf that didn't make it, and feeding the orphan goat kid at 1 am. I share about the reality of predators - those with two and four legs - as a part of everyday life. I talk about deep quiet, and nothing to block the wind. I talk about Christmas morning not starting until Cowman is back from chores at the dairy, because he and the people that work with him are making sure there is milk in the store tomorrow.
So, from Cowman's Wife, go tell your stories fellow farmers. People really do want to get to know you, what you are about, what your life is like, and why you do what you do. To my urban friends, take time to listen to the farmers you meet. Maybe, try to get together to do lunch, because the bottom line for the discussion is every human's common ground - food. Another common ground might be shoes, especially if your are a woman. But that is something we will have to wait to elaborate on another day.
Time to go cook.