There are no days off when it comes to farming. Farm life doesn’t stop because of a holiday. One of the final discussions we had before we signed those closing papers over two years ago was the one about vacations and holidays. Vacations from my town job would be spent on the farm, and the mere idea of getting away for just a long weekend would be years down the road. We both agreed and we both have stuck to that.
The care and safety of our livestock is needed daily. They depend on us for food, water and a safe place to live. If we neglect them, even for just one day, we could lose so much.
Sick days? Nope. Farm life goes on.
Sick relatives? Not a chance. Keep farming. This was something we had happen last summer. Farm life continued, albeit at a slower pace and just the basic needs were taken care of so that we could spend our evenings with our sick loved one.
Thanksgiving? Christmas? Easter? Birthdays? No, Negative, Denied, Thumbs Down. We still celebrate, but the farms needs come above everything. We have kidding season starting the week of Christmas – this could be fun!
We have been able to find balance, and while it’s not easy sometimes, it’s working. Yesterday was Thanksgiving. We were hosting dinner for our families, so I stayed home and cooked while Mark went to the farm and did the morning chores. Dinner was served on the early side, and terminal conversations began around the time we needed to head back out for evening chores. It was much more polite than telling the family to get out. We went back to the farm and got things closed up together.
Which brings me to family - they understand. They go along with the crazy dinner times and being rushed out the door. A bribe of fresh eggs helps.
Have we missed out on events? Absolutely. While we both wish we could do more fun things and spend time with friends and more time with family, we know that our upfront sacrifices we are making will pay us back 10-fold in the future. It’s hard to say no when a friend invites you to dinner or to watch a football game, but you have a huge farm project that can’t be put off. You hope they understand, and you finish your project.
The future has us living on our farm. Definitely sooner now, rather than later. Once that happens, life will get easier and we’ll have the ability to free up more space for off the farm fun. Who know? Maybe we’ll hire some help and fly away for a weekend…someday.
In 2014 a couple of 40-somethings decided to make a change. The purchase of 10 raw, pine scrub acres along Florida's Nature Coast started it all. This is that story.