The Family Farm

The family farm has a different look today. The changes are a mixed bag, some good, some not so good. Many farms were started by homesteaders, claiming a piece of ground to raise crops and critters to sell and for food on the farm. They cleared the land, they worked the soil and they built their homes and barns to create a way of life, a living for their families.

If all went well, they were able to pass their farms on to their offspring. With luck, the offspring improved the farm, planted better crops and raised their families on that farm, and again, with some luck, they passed the farm onto their offspring. Along the way, that tradition started to change.

Over the years, as parents passed, and children inherited the farms, many decided that they did not want the farm life and sold their farms for the cash they could get out of it. Maybe they had to, to survive the financial pressures that many felt. At any rate, the family farms started to disappear, corporate buyers started to buy up the family farms so that they could expand their operations and to increase their profit margins. Families moved off of the family farm and today, the family farm is becoming a memory, cherished by those who are now wishing they had held onto their farm.

Today, there are many more pressures on the family farm. Because of financial pressures of all kinds, there is much more corporate ownership, and even worse, foreign ownership is growing, something that I don’t even think should be allowed. It is the worst possible situation when foreigners control our food source and a huge chunk of our financial freedom.

Add to that pressure, the quest for green energy. Wind farms are popping up all over the country, each turbine taking out about one acre of farm production. The companies that want to build these farms pressure locals, dangling nice looking carrots in front of them to win their quest to build these wind farms, potentially ruining the farm ground forever. Again, this takes farm ground out of production, yes, it gives the land owner some cash, but more than likely, that farm ground will never be used to farm again. I know that we need to come up with alternative energy sources, but I think a short sided view and effort without studying the long term impact is not only short sided, it weakens the family farm concept and it forces us to start relying on foreign sources of food and income. Not good for our country and our way of life.

I realize that this post may be a little bit controversial, but I believe in what I have said here, and I am not afraid to voice that opinion. I have no problem with differing opinions, but if any comments become snarky and anything other than an opposing view, the comments will be deleted, and commenting will be turned off. It is not my intention to create another reason to hate.

The images below have been more heavily edited than what I normally do. They do not really reflect the comments that I have posted, but they do represent change, change that is outside of my normal. It also shows that change can be beautiful, and if carefully thought out, change can work.

Spring has Sprung, Maybe….

Had to be in the area of the farm today, so I took the opportunity to take the battery for the “Bad Boy”, and get it hooked up with the idea that I will go down sometime this weekend to change the oil and clean it up a little more before starting the mowing season, which by the looks of things, won’t be too long down the road. I am more than ready, I love spending a couple of hours riding around on that mower, getting some work done, but also soaking in the fresh country breeze, enjoying the sights around the farm, and just relaxing.

While they may be small and hard to spot, there are definite signs of spring all around the farm. The trees in the front yard are budding out really nice, if the warm temps hold on, it won’t be long till we see the green of small, new leaves. Next thing you know, there will be the sound of the birds singing and flittering about, making nests and getting ready to raise the seasons new “crop”.

I also saw some workers prepping for some tile placement just south and east of Mom’s place, another sign that spring is just around the corner, getting the last of the winter projects cared for just in time for planting. I also saw a couple of guys getting their planters tuned up, can’t wait to see them in the field. The smell of freshly turned soil, is a joy that I think that most would not understand, but it is perfume of the highest quality, I wish somebody would bottle it.

As I was leaving, the sun was still kinda high in the sky, but the clouds coming in helped to turn it into a beautiful sunset image, another view that is always different on the farm, but always beautiful.

Going to Town

If we stayed on the farm with Aunt Millie and Uncle Jim for more than a day or 2, there was a good chance that one day would be dedicated to going to town, to the market. Time to take the eggs to the market and do a little shopping.

It was an adventure to say the least. Uncle Jim made the ride in exciting, can’t say he was the best driver in the world, but hey, we got there, and we got back, and that is what counts.

While in town, Uncle Jim would find the bench on the town square and sit down for a nice relaxing smoke on his old corn cob pipe. Millie and I would go to the store to sell the eggs, and to pick up essentials before heading back to the farm.

It was interesting to see how the eggs were handled. Until I got to go to the market with them, I had no idea that the eggs had to be checked, to make sure they were “good”, aka no embryo’s forming, and edible. Then they would settle up on a price, and Millie would walk away with the “egg money” tucked away in her purse, now it was time to shop. Can’t say I remember much of what she would have bought, they had almost everything they needed on the farm, but she picked up a few things, and then it was back to the farm. Back into our “work” clothes, and back into the garden, weeding and picking some good fresh veggies. Jim would take care of the animals, and then any other chore that needed to be done, then take his place on the well platform to have another smoke on the ole pipe.

Life back then, and in particular, on the farm, was a lot different than living in town. You had to plan your trips to town, take care of as much as you needed to so you didn’t have to make any unnecessary trips that would take you away from work needing to be done on the farm. A pretty nice lifestyle if you ask me….

While this is not the small town that Jim and Millie shopped and did business in, it is very typical of the small farming towns in the area.