Friday, January 4, 2013

Selling it

Been a busy time at work this week.  You know, I have been thinking I would love to work on my farm full time, but then, the other half of me says that I do like getting out of the home, and seeing people, and it makes me appreciate what I do even more (with the livestock/dogs).  It's a catch 22 in many ways.  In some ways it makes no sense- I need good health insurance, decent pay, and retirement- none of which I would get if I farmed full time.   I watch Pioneer Woman on TV, when I get a chance, and though she has her detractors, she has pretty much got a life that I could lead :)  Her husband works very hard with their livestock business, and the kids have all been taught to work.  They like to do it!  Ree has definitely been successful in what she does, but I actually think it's great, what she does, even if she has help with it.  One thing you KNOW, is that this family is tight and they love each other- and maybe that's what I like best about the shows... The food isn't too shabby either.

In my area, it's very tough to earn a living farming.  The seasons can be very tough- long hard winters eat into any profit you have; feeding your animals.  If you get a drought in the summer you have to down size.  Basically, I believe in the north east, you are fortunate if you break even.  That's all I want to do, but I am seeing this winter with all the hay I am burning through, that it may be very tough.  I may end up keeping all my wethers to grow out to make the most on them.  I love the hard work it takes to keep up with livestock, well, maybe not love, but I like being physically active to an end goal- be it cleaning out the barn, brush hogging, you name it.  And, if it results in my animals being more comfortable, even better.

Cold Antler farm, whom you probably all know, is an entity I have ethical issues with, but I am trying to accept that we are all different, and do things differently...  Anyway, she is a great writer, who can sell a snake oil salesman snake oil, is very good at drawing people in, as she did me some years ago, into her own little Narnia.  First, it was a little farm, then a farm, then a homestead and now it's "on the mountain".  It just grows and grows, both in her mind and in her writing.  She waxes poetic about feeding fires all night in her small wood stove, just to keep the heat out and pipes from freezing, but she has an oil furnace, and a second wood stove.  Her prose also includes how she has to haul water to her animals every day- even in summer from her cistern, but she can use a hose... ah, but it's much more romantic to talk about the work- that she makes for herself... She talks about the primal need for heat and food, when in fact, all she need do is look in the freezer.  She sells, and I believe she's selling agri-tourism.  It's big now, and she's got that market cornered.  She keeps telling people "thank you, this is your farm too".  This is perhaps the biggest pile of horse puckey I have ever read.  The farm is hers, and hers alone- she just happens to be funded by the naive who honestly think that she must be the first real 21st century chick who is ahem, "farming".  It's a good gig if you can get it.   Every flame burns out eventually... Who knows.  She's not a bad person, she's just twisting a time honored tradition to pay her way in life.  She does not make a living off of farming, she makes a living from selling the farming life.  


Sarah said...

Ah but wait, there's still more - looks like CAF is expanding this coming year - more livestock is on the horizon...I think she's spread pretty thin as is, something will give this year I'd say.

Anonymous said...

A scary thing to me is that people, including organizations that have her speak at their conventions, consider her to be an "expert". Yet, she totally bashes and dismisses advise from tried and true experts who have lived the farming/homesteading/mountain life longer than she has. Am I the only one tired of hearing, "learning curve!" from her (and, her dedicated sponsors) whenever an animal dies because she was too busy (for whatever reason, usually a social thing) to take care of the sick one(s)? Why would a real expert keep needing a learning curve?

One thing I must thank her for one of these days...because of her blog and your wise comments you left there, I was able to find this blog! :-)


Elaine P said...

I agree with Sarah's prediction. A recent CAF blog post "informs" us that she's looking to expand upon her garden in order to plant and harvest mounds and pounds of vegetables. Seems she read "The Dirty Life" and wants to play farmer, as she does everything else....and predictably, the animals always suffer and pay...Sarah's right, something's gonna give.