Our only regret is that we could not provide a Jersey calf for everyone that entered. We thank you all for your posts and the great response we recieved. Almost 500 views so far today. Keep commenting on others’ posts if you would like. We are sure they would like positive feedback! 🙂
The winning entry comes from Ken in Indiana:
“Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people” –Thomas Jefferson
Farming, if you ask anybody in a large metropolitan area like Chicago, which happens to be where I grew up, consist of iconic red barns, large gardens, apple pie, chickens scratching in the grass and cows mooing in the fields. Everyone knows what that farm scene looks like because the advertisers remind us everyday with their various colored packages on the store shelves.
I ponder, in my conversations with my friends from the city, if it is my job to replace the illusions that they live under. How do you explain to someone that most of the farms that they see on their drive down do not even have a garden attached to them? Is it my job to tell my city friends that most of my country neighbors get their chicken from the same place that they do, from the local Wal-Mart? Should I let them know that the price of their corn flakes might be going up this year because by current estimates up to 30% of the corn they see growing in the fields will be turned into fuel for their cars?
“Ignorance is Bliss” states my city living niece when she asks why the extra roosters are separated from the rest of the flock. I guess she did not like my invitation to come over for a chicken and noodle dinner tomorrow. While I can understand the concept of ignorance being bliss, and in fact some days wish for ignorance about how our food is processed, but I was raised under a different mindset, “You are what you eat” I guess that I just do not want to be a “hydrolyzed corn gluten, modified corn starch, autolyzed yeast, polysorbate 80, propylene glycol or mono-diglycerides and datem” (What is a datem anyway?) All of these ingredients and more are from a package of Healthy Choice Homestyle Salisbury Steak. Homestyle? They call those ingredients Homestyle cooking? For whom, Frankenstein?
Farming for me is a choice, a choice to have control over what food we put into our bodies. A choice to truly understand you are what you eat. From putting in the compost and tilling the garden. Planting the seed and nurturing the plant, watering and weeding until it blossoms in full abundance for you to enjoy.
We started our first Homestead Family Farm on rented land about 8 years ago. Armed with years of yearning and learning we were ready to take the plunge. Horses, dogs, cats and chickens were the mainstay of our animals. Our current Family Farm is now going on it’s second year. Gone is the rented status and now comes the expansion stage. More chickens, meat chickens, turkeys and someday a couple of pigs.
And a really big garden. Which is currently getting bigger.
Farming allows you to create anything from the land if you are willing to work for it. If parents can teach their children only one thing, this will rank up there with one of the most important.
Since this is a Family Farm everyone has some say in what we are going to grow. So at the end of last year out came the “Fund Jar” Only this time it became the “Cow Fund Jar”. So the race was on to get a cow. The time that passes while the jar starts to fill up is used to obtain the knowledge and resources that we will need. Books read, websites like this one found. My wife has been offered help if needed from the local farmer we get our wholesome very fresh milk from. Another Dairy farmer that offers cow shares has even offered to come and walk us thru the entire milking process.
Imagine my surprise when reading the family cow forums to see this contest. Maybe we will not have to wait until the ‘Cow Fund Jar” is finally full. Maybe, by writing this essay I will be able to show the kids that once again, you can create anything you want if you are willing to work at it.