Farming: Part 1

I’m going to start out with a Curmudgeonly Gem of Insight. Ready? You might want to grab a pen and write it down because it’s important. Here goes:

“It’s harder than it looks.”

What’s harder? Everything! However, today’s subject is farming.

My adventures with homesteading should have led logically to gardening but I got weird and reinterpreted it as farming. Farming is hard.

I have a homestead. Because it’s a verb that applies precisely in this context, it seemed logical to engage in homesteading. Don’t judge me. What people do on the privacy of their own property is their business. It could be worse. I might, for example, do yoga.

Part of homesteading (among other things) is making your own food. There’s a technology for that. It’s called gardening. Unlike most homesteaders I don’t have a garden. I’d like one. I’d also like a Ferrari and free beer. Some things aren’t in the cards. I can barely find time to breathe, much less lovingly tend the soil to coax forth Mother nature’s goodness. Also, every time I get something nicely growing the boss calls up with a job that’s located in another timezone. I rush off to East Cowschitt, a suburb to Nowheresville which is itself either 200 miles off Slabland on the Interstate or an hour’s drive from Gropesville where the plane lands and TSA fondles my nuts because apparently this stops terrorism. (Yeah, I just love the TSA.) Being awesome and all, I’ll get my stuff done in record time but I never return before the garden has gone feral. Thus gardens, through no fault of their own, come out near the bottom of my time allocation spectrum. So much for homegrown veggies.

Meat is a different matter. I can find time to fish and hunt. Why? Because I’m male. Duh! I simply must. I wish I could stalk though the forest and shoot a tomato. I really should eat more vegetables.

So while everyone thinks of gardening as step one of homesteading I’ve gone at it differently. Here’s a hint for busy homesteaders; a woodpile will wait patiently for your return while a tomato will start evolving new life forms. Remember this and choose your battles wisely.

Still, I like plants. There must be a way. If “gardening” is the high and noble calling of personally growing food using hoes, rakes, weeding, and biological voodoo, then perhaps “farming” is the proposition that one can impersonally mechanize gardening and go large. I find this entirely reasonable. Being optimistic I dismissed with gardening (at least for now) and started daydreaming about a combine churning through crops amassing eleventy zillion tons of something.

More in the next several posts.


Note: If you’re a master gardener reaching for the keyboard, let it go. Yes I know gardening is easy and simple and no big deal and I’m a mechanistic putz who’s rejecting the one true path of Zen like enlightenment. When I retire I’ll go nuts and grow a garden of Eden. For now I like machines. OK? I’m American. I’m a redneck. Driving stuff is in my DNA. I don’t care if it’s a Subaru or the Space Shuttle, if it’s got wheels count me in. Torque makes me happy. Don’t harsh my mellow.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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2 Responses to Farming: Part 1

  1. cspschofield says:

    I don’t garden. Several of the ladies in my extended family do. So far as I can see, gardening is a labor intensive way of obtaining far too many zucchini. Also of feeding tomatoes to the ants and (I watch a lot of David Attenborough) vice versa. I buy vegetables from local produce stands, and from supermarkets. I do not homestead. I am a 50+ year old bookworm with bad teeth, gout, and poor eyesight. If civilization falls, I’m done for (though I WILL enjoy watching all my Liberal acquaintance find out how much they depended on everything they scorned, and that might make me ornery enough to survive anyway).

    Which doesn’t make YOU wrong. Go for it. And, please, keep writing about it.

  2. MaxDamage says:

    I grew up on a farm in the Midwest. Corn and soybeans, about 1000 acres of each most years, with hogs and cattle to diversify that grain into meat. Row-crop wasn’t terribly automated then, we had to do another pass through the fields with a cultivator or go through manually with bean hooks and corn knives to weed them properly. These days a barrel of Roundup and a spray rig does that job, but all in all it can be said I’ve done some time farming.

    My Good Wife is a gardener. Has about three acres under grass clippings and that black fabric they use when planting wind-breaks, not to mention raised beds and stakes all laid out showing what’s supposed to be growing where… Makes for some tasty vegetables, I suppose, but to me vegetables are what food eats. I don’t take it as seriously as she does. To my way of thinking, if it grows in a row it’s a crop, if not it’s a weed, and 24D is the greatest invention ever made for keeping a horse pasture full of harvestable grass goodness.

    After 17 years of marriage I’ve learned my job is to keep the tiller running and my mouth shut on the subject of gardening.

    – Max

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