HOMEGROWN Life: I Quit
…no, not really, although I truly wanted to over, and over again.
As you can imagine, going out of town or on vacation is no easy feat for farmers with crops or livestock. We can’t exactly kennel a flock of chickens, and relying on a neighbor to water our fields is a helluva lot different than asking them to just tend to a couple house plants. I know many farmers who wait to schedule trips until the wintertime, when life on a farm is significantly less busy. However, sometimes vacations can’t wait.
Justin and his family recently traveled out of town to visit other relatives for a whopping five days, leaving me (and a couple saintly interns) in charge of the survival of our plants and animals. And holy hell, was it exhausting.
Worrying about keeping up with Justin’s chores while trying to maintain my 8-5 day job was a losing battle. A half day off here and there turned into complete days off from work at the office, while I recuperated from possible heat stroke and tried coping with my new (albeit temporary) sunup to sundown lifestyle. One night, for example, I was working outside until well after 11pm, harvesting and washing produce, only to wake the next morning at 4am to tend to the animals and get our CSA shares ready for the day.
To top it all off, nearly each day Justin was gone, there was some sort of drama at the farm: kids with rifles trespassing claiming they were hunting squirrels, broken chicken tractors that required repair to keep them predator-proof, giant gashes in our water hose that needed to be mended. A new day, a new ordeal.
Combine everything above with a sweltering heat wave, and it made the difficulty of even the most mundane task completely unbearable.
When Justin finally returned from his trip and I showered him with praise, having established a new appreciation for the tremendous hard work he does each and every day, rain or shine.
With him back in town, and our routines back to normal, merely living my life feels like a vacation.
“I’m half of YellowTree Farm, an urban homestead that I founded with my husband in late 2008. Together, we grow vegetables and raise animals on less than 1/10 of an acre in St. Louis, Missouri. I don’t have children. I have animals, which is kind of the same thing as being a parent, except I eat my babies.”