I grew up farming, but nine years ago, I gave up a rural lifestyle in favor of traveling the country with my family. In those nine years we, saw amazing sights, learned a lot and had a blast. From driving across the Golden Gate Bridge to driving the Marias Pass in the dark, in the snow, in a motorhome, to chilling by the ocean in Galveston, for a while we had nearly constant adventures. In 2015, we finally made it to all 48 continental states, finishing the list with a whirlwind tour of New England. And so, having seen many sights, and had many adventures, it feels like it is finally time to come home.
Farming has always been big in my family. My parents were farming organically long before it was popular, primarily because my dad wholeheartedly believes that you cannot grow a really good watermelon with chemical fertilizer. He’s right, of course. The flavor gets tainted. Some of my earliest memories are preparing the garden. In Alabama, weeds are inevitable. They are always going to be there. The goal is the hold them at bay a little, to keep them from taking over, claiming sovereignty over the land, and growing into a forest. To help combat the weeds, my parents would hold competitions to see who could pull up the biggest pile of weeds. I almost always won. It’s only looking back that I realize that that was probably because the “prize” was just being told you won and getting to throw the piles of weeds to the goats. Yeah. I was five.
My Dad’s passion has always been growing things. He was renowned for his watermelons, which grew to unbelievable size. He passed that passion on to one of my brothers, who is endlessly planting and growing things. But for me, the real fun of farming has always been in the animals. So while my dad and brother considered our farming life restarted when the first seed hit the soil, it just wasn’t official to me until we had animals on the ground.
Well, now there are animals on the ground.
Dad went after four weaner pigs yesterday. He came home with four pigs and four rabbits. The pigs are mixed breed, born and raised on pasture. The rabbits are New Zealand Whites, and have also been pastured, and are surprisingly docile. Considering that conventional farming in still very much the norm in this area, I am absolutely delighted to have found animals that have been raised mostly all naturally. And the pigs are cute on top of that!
Thus, I hereby declare, farming life is officially back on.