The Accidental Farmer
We moved to our farm in the spring of 2012. It was a welcome change of pace from living in the center of Poplar Bluff. Admittedly, the first summer I did miss being 5 minutes or less from grocery stores, pizza that was delivered and reliable high speed internet. However, the sheer amount of space, the great reduction in traffic, neighbors who didn’t come home at 3am and yell at each other outside my bedroom window, and just being in nature was way more important.
I grew up in the country. My parents had a small farm with a few animals and I considered myself a farm kid. I soon discovered just because I grew up on a farm and had a few chores, that is NOT the same thing as being the person responsible for the farm.
In our first year, I got a crash course in animal husbandry, much aided by the internet. My husband bought our children a goat when we moved. The goat was very normal at first, cute thing, just weaned. One day he keeled over. Eyes rolled up in his head, legs stiff as a board sticking straight out. The seller had forgotten to mention that he was a fainting goat. Boy was that a surprise! Once we figured out that he wasn’t having an epileptic attack or something, he quickly became the kids favorite animal. He was named Junior Mint and that first summer, my kid’s favorite thing was to spook him so he’d faint. As he got full grown, the kids had tamed him so well, he’d let them ride him.
We started out with a few chickens. Then we bought an incubator and ended up with a bunch of chickens. This was all well and good. I read up on poultry keeping and became aware of bio-security practices (isolating any new birds acquired from elsewhere). However, for some reason it didn’t occur to me that different species could cross-contaminate. I promptly ended up losing a good portion of my initial flock to infectious coryza. What birds didn’t die but showed symptoms had to be destroyed to save the healthy birds. All because I went for a really good deal on Chukar Partridges at the Sale Barn. Lesson learned the “expensive” way.
In the nearly three years I’ve been on my farm I’ve learned to use a chainsaw without loss of limb, milk goats, butcher chickens, drive a 1948 Ford N1 tractor, pull baby goats, castrate piglets, pressure can, and all manner of skills I never would have found living in town. Moving back to the country has made me a better, more resourceful and definitely patient person. It has made my family closer and given a sense of tranquility that wasn’t found in our former urban setting. I definitely have much more interesting stories to tell now, like the Strangest Romance Ever. Stay tuned for that one…