Friday, August 30, 2013

Farmer John Answers - Part 1

Hey it's Farmer John and I am here to  answer a few questions that were presented in a previous blog entry. But first, let me thank all of you for being faithful readers of the blog and supporters or our farming endeavor.

This will be the first of a two part series. Mostly today I am answering general farm-life questions. As a rookie farmer I can't guarantee any of the answers to technical questions are correct.  But of course I will tell you what I do know and make up the rest....

How much of your day is spent outside?
-A. Alesandrini

About half of my day is spent outside. This has been somewhat surprising to me. When envisioning my future life as a farmer I thought it would be filled sunup to sundown with laboring in the fields, which is what I was excited about. But alas, there are bills to pay, customer orders, phone calls, and frequent trips to the hardware store to find the parts for what I have managed to break on that particular day.

Farmer John, from your new perspective as a full time farmer, would you support an effort to repeal the 13th amendment?

Most certainly not P.S. I know I have the reputation of immediately putting all friends, family, neighbors, solicitors, etc to work the moment they have crossed the bridge onto the farm. But, I am convinced that this is not any form of slavery. While I might pay meager wages (or no wages) I know that the workers' compensation is more than satisfactory. They get wonderful meals, good company, learning opportunities, lively conversation, free vegetables, and great exercise.  It would be hard to put a price-tag on these benefits.

Farmer John, what's your favorite part of farming? Your least favorite?
-Karen Schiller

I'll list a couple of favorites and and a couple of hardships. The best part of running an organic farm is the food. I feel Mollie and I eat like Royalty. I also really enjoy being around the farm animals, especially when they are on the correct side of the fence. There is nothing more relaxing than being in a barn at the end of a long day listening to the cattle chewing contently on sweet smelling hay.

On the flip side I really hate when machinery breaks down. When you're using the farm equipment that your 73-year-old father used when he was a teenager, there is a whole lot of breaking down. The hardest  part, hands down, is dealing with the death/slaughter of my livestock. Intellectually I feel strongly that pasture-raised meats benefit small farms and consumers. But emotionally it is never easy to kill something you have spent  time caring for.

Farmer John - Have you found anything of value in your kitchen garden? As kids, we found a lot of marbles. I've seen the picture where the now garden was once a barn.
-Sister Susi

I think you are correct about the building being on the location of our current kitchen garden. Though I heard that it was a small cabin left from the days when this was the county poor farm. We still do often find marbles in the garden when plowing in the spring. There must have been a hundred of them rise to the surface over the years. I am sure that it was some child's prize stash of marbles a century  ago. We often also find rusty unrecognizable tools and machine parts. In the new garden this year I have found quite a collection of broken hay rake teeth.


  1. Thanks for part one of answers. You are a good writer, John. I'm looking forward to part two!

  2. It is nice to read all the answers. About that building and marbles ... well, we've now found them for what? Four generations? So I suppose that "kid with the stash" had quite a collection! I have another question for you. Using the equipment Dad used as a teen, do you find that you connect to the men and women who were there before you more? I don't mean connect on the cell phone asking Dad this or that about this or that either! lol I'm seeing you as the next in line and watching my little brother grow into the man that little boy stood in the shadow of and munched on corn! It is delightful. Your adventures are what Americans are so hungry for - family, solutions, a night on your own porch and that feeling of accomplishment and pride in your own handiwork!

    The "serious" question about the equipment is this ... do you feel new equipment would help or do you enjoy the challenges and lessons taught from learning to fix the old? I learned as a wee one around Pap and Dad that they could fix anything! While I was seeing hero's - they were feeling the same frustrations you do! lol Love you two - three - four ... however many are on the farm sending all my love - Susi

  3. Delightful. We'll look forward to the next installment.

  4. hey john and mollie just wanted to say I am so thankful to have friends like you and always enjoy when I come out to the farm thanks john


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