Friday, January 18, 2013

Farm Friday: Living the Dream Life

I get a lot of awesome comments from my awesome readers.

I'm sure they must be here for the skillful and poetic writing (see above sentence).

Anyway, one comment I get a good bit is something along the lines of
"You're living my dream life".

And it is a dream life for many people. Myself included.

But if I'm going to be a responsible blogger, I think I need to point out a few of the less-than romantic realities of hobby farming.

Because it's not all gathering wildflowers in a sunny field or walking through pristine bedding to collect fresh eggs in a vintage basket.

So if you're picturing Laura Ingalls in a Massengil commercial, I think it's time for me to paint you a new picture.

In fact, let me give you a little quiz on this "dream life", and we'll see how you fare.


If you have a farm, they will come.

So let me ask you, when you hear the word 'rat', do you picture


Head straight to your nearest Petco and get yourself a little cage and a hamster. That's as close as you should get to farming.


Buy a horse and board it at someone else's farm.

or c:

Get you some barn cats and a rat terrier. You're ready.


No one is quite sure of the science behind it, but farms seem to generate mud. Lots of it. So again, I ask, when you hear 'mud', do you picture


Buying your eggs and veggies from a farmer's market is as near as you should get to farming.


Not even close.

or c:

Yeah.  That's about it.  Get a snorkel and come on down.


Living on a farm, you sometimes have to make tough decisions.
For instance, if you see a mangy, skanky-looking fox skulking around your barn for a few days, and then one day you find him curled up in the corner DEAD, do you

Cry a little, offer up a prayer to the god of wildlife, and bury him under your prize rosebush?

Cut off his head and stick it in the mail?

or c:
Scoop him up with a shovel and ditch him in the thicket and marshes under cover of night, a la Jimmy Hoffa?

I still can't talk about it.


If you were to live on a farm, which of the following would you be physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared to do?

a: sexually violate your hen with mineral oil and rubber gloves when, in your chicken ignorance, you mistake broodiness for being egg-bound.

b: Scrub out dirty water buckets.

c: Scrub out dirty water buckets in which you have picked out drowned rats.

d: Scoop manure till your back breaks.

e: Track said manure into your house, as if you didn't have enough to clean up already.

f: Castrate ram-lambs and bucklings with your very own Elastrator.

g: Fix fences and gates while your household projects remain on the to-do list.

h: Spend $300 on a hay delivery while you feed your kids Ramen till payday.

i: Pull #$!*ing burrs out of manes and tails till your fingers bleed.

j: Massage the udders and nipples of mastitic does and ewes and mares.

k: All of the above and much, much more.

If you answered "c" in the rats, mud, and decision making portions of the test, and "k" in the preparedness section, you might be ready to buy the farm.

But just one more word of caution:

While you'll find there's a little of this in farming:

There's a heck of a lot more of this:

And believe me when I tell you, if that's the worst I ever looked doing the dirty work of farming, I would be thrilled.

But go ahead.  Get some chickens.  Maybe a few goats. 

Live the dream.

Just don't say I didn't warn you....

Image sources:,,,,,,,,,


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  1. Well...I took the test and I am good with it all except the beheading of the dead fox, so I might be a hobby farm candidate, but why bother when I can tune into yours...all of the pleasure, but none of the muss or fuss:-). Great post!

  2. I recently got a few chickens and although they're not hard to take care of compared to some other animals I had a hard time getting used to the fact that no matter how often I cleaned their coop and run ten minutes later there is poop everywhere!
    The bonus is I didn't realize just how much fun they are to watch, and the eggs are great too.
    This is the extent of my farming however, I know what I can handle :-)

  3. Love, love, love the honesty! I do as much "farming" as one can on a suburban lot, but I grew up in a rural setting, and can relate to much of your post.

    (If I had to go for fox option #2 [oooh, ick!], I would spring for the extra postage and just send the whole carcass. Just sayin'.)

  4. Sure wish I would have read this BEFORE we bought the farm. :)
    We've had more than our fair share of mice, but never the big rats.
    And that is the nastiest fox I have ever seen. Ew.

  5. Yikes and I am contemplating getting a farm too - may need to seriously do some thinking before taking action! Love the pics!

    Thanks for the follow - I'm following back from the hop!

    Darla (Mom's World)

  6. I literally--LITERALLY--laughed out loud at the "Option C" picture for mud. I lived the earliest years of my life in a farm house, adjacent to an actual farm. I recall with great fondness playing in the mud, running through fields, and ... ahem ... maybe eating a cowpie or two (I was young. aka, I was stupid). In later years, not only did I get my parents' version of what it was *really* like: the rats in the basement, the mice in the house, the crazy squirrels in the attic; the smell; the frantic searches for two kids in a cornfield; the (apparently) getting kicked by a horse, cow, bull, and goat (again ... I was young/stupid). A farm life used to be my dream life. Then I woke up, but still have great love for them, and great respect for the folks who actually take them on!

  7. Thanks guys. Glad I could give you something to think over. Coop, that isn't a photo of the fox in my barn, but the one I saw looked exactly like it. And yes, Fish and Wildlife told me to cut off the head. I was like, wait, the reason I'm calling you is I don't want to touch it in case it has rabies, so yeah, cutting off the head makes total sense. I think the guy who wrote the movie Seven must've been an agent.
    Khara, I just learned something new about you, and you brought a smile to my face as you recounted your adventures! You and I should collaborate on a book, no?

    Anyway, thanks, guys!

  8. I only WISH I didn't know half the stuff you're talking about, from personal experience.
    ...cutting the head off a rabid (or possibly rabid) animal, has yet to be done on this little farm....
    Oh how I wish...some of those inside projects were being done on a regular basis...rather than mucking through mud and chicken manure!

    Oh, we bought the farm baby!
    loved this post. via FFBH, Pat

  9. SO LOVE THIS! And I won't be showing it to my husband, since I'm the one always hinting maybe a bit more land and a few more animals would be nice... :-) Thanks for making me smile!

  10. When I was little I wanted to grow up, move to a ranch and get a horse just like Roy Rogers Trigger. Well, my brother grew up, moved to a farm, got a dog who had a blood-sucking tick, and it changed my view of country living forever! LOL To paraphrase John Denver..."Thank God, I'm a city girl!" LOL

  11. Pat, Joan, and Loy, so glad to have you drop in. Looks like y'all are a mix of city and country! Joan, I love that you're keeping this post secret from your hubs. Now I feel like I'm part of a deep dark conspiracy. My life just took an exciting turn!

  12. Such a funny post (except the beheading!). What if you mail it and the post office misdelivers ? Then poor Mrs. Smith will think she has received a nice package from some contest she entered for heirloom seeds or an incubator or something --until she opens it! Oh, My!

  13. Oh my gosh I LOVE this post! Hilarious!

    Thanks for sharing at the Farm Girl Blog Fest!

    @Let This Mind Be in You

  14. Hi Anne,
    I'm Andi from You just left a comment on my "belly button" post, so I thought I'd hop over and check out your site. Having grown up on a hobby farm, I know a little bit about what you've included in this post. Some of your comments made me laugh, some made me shudder....yikes! The very first comment on rat caused me to think about how my daughter came home from college for Christmas break with three "pet" mice. Based on my reaction to that, I would say I am NOT ready for a farm. Hee hee.... Thanks for stopping by our site today.

  15. Kathy, thanks for the laugh. Now I keep getting a visual of Mrs Smith opening up her pkg expecting her heirloom seeds!
    Kristi, glad you liked. Thanks for hosting the hop!
    Andi, yeah, you might not be ready, haha! Hope your dtr had all mice accounted for when she returned to school!

    Thanks for stopping by, ladies!

  16. Anne - your posts always make me laugh! I am definitely a "city girl" (well, not BIG city) but growing up in Jacksonville i had my share of being around horses and stables from time to time and I miss riding, actually! I tried to subscribe to your emails but it asks me to choose "Yahoo, AOL, Google.." etc. Can't I just get the gosh darned emails?? :) Also, you might like Big Mama's blog. She's in Louisiana but you guys both make me laugh a lot. :)
    Have a great week! May the force (and no rodents) be with you,

  17. The scary part of this is that it really isn't an exaggeration! (ok, maybe the mud is a little of one ;)) I have done all those things and more with the exception of sticking my finger up a chicken's hiney. My Mom actually bought a rat terrier to get rid of the rats in her barn! It worked,too!

  18. Claire, Brooke, and Dolly, so glad you stopped in! Brooke, sadly you're right: not much exaggeration here!


  19. You crack me up!! This post was so funny! I am from a farm too and I love how some people dream about living on a farm, they just don't know the realities! Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier!

    Jenna @

  20. This post was very interesting, I've found on you the blog hop and I'm now following, xoxo.

  21. Found you on the blog hop! This is honestly an awesome post, I am an Animal Care student and work on a farm so it was really interesting to read this. People really do neglect to realise the lack of poo shoveling that comes first before giving the cute little animals a cuddle!


  22. Me, me, me! Pick Me! I want to leave the city (even our small city) so bad!

  23. Love seeing the "reality" of farm living! :) Stopping by from the Empowered Living blog hop.


  24. My dad, who grew up on a farm, is constantly reminding me of this whenever I talk about wanting a farm. I still think I'd like a farm eventually, but not a fully operational make-your-income-off-it farm. I definitely couldn't handle that (and neither could my husband).

    Also, they actually wanted you to mail a fox's head?!?! What the heck?!?!

  25. Jenna, Ourity, Amy, Ashley, Sybil, and Alex, thanks all, for dropping in and commenting!
    Amy, yes, lots and lots of poo involved! Ashley, you sound like Donkey from Shrek. Alex, yes, they absolutely advised me to mail the head if I wanted it checked for rabies. true story. Purity, thanks so much for following!


  26. I love the mud! Too funny. I'm sorry I think it is amazing that you are living your dream life but my great uncle had a farm. And his name was McDonald but that's another story...

    Anyways I know how much hard work they are, so I know that is not the life for me. More power to you though! :)

    Thanks for hopping by Thumping Thursdays! :)

    Diana @ Nanny2Mommy

  27. Wow, funny and a bit scary. I appreciate the view into real farm life! Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday!

  28. Too funny about your uncle, Diana!!!
    Thanks for coming by, Angela.
    Have a great day!

  29. I love it! You are so right, it's a dirty and cold business. Right now I would something about trading out water buckets a couple of times per day because they are so frozen solid you can't even break them up. (Not everyone has the luxury of fancy bucket heaters...)

  30. You forgot the disbudding. Oh, the disbudding! Pinning down those precious babies you helped deliver, holding a smoldering iron to their skulls, enduring the screams of the goat kids and your human kids while breathing in the smell of scorched hair and skin. Trying to count to 10 seconds slowly so the job gets done the first time (oh, to have to disbud TWICE)but not so slowly that you cause brain swelling and death in the goat. Happy, happy, farming joy, joy!
    Stevie @

  31. PTE, you are so right! I was just thinking about that today, b/c the trading out twice a day is exactly what I've been doing with this cold snap. And of course, I fill buckets in the house so I can have warm water, so the bottom of my tub looks like a barn floor with bits of hay and shavings and... well I'll stop there so I don't embarass myself further!

    Stevie, I'm your biggest fan, so what a treat to see your comments on my blog! And you know what? The disbudding is something I've never been able to muster the courage for. Either the vet does it, or they grow horns! My hat is off to you once again.

    Thanks for stopping in, guys! Keep warm this weekend...

  32. lol...I will just keep the romantic images in my head!

  33. I live in a house that divides suburbia from the farmlands. Our front yard is mowed and shares a tree-lined street with a bunch of empty-nester suburbanites. Our back yard spills into crops of soy and corn (which aren't ours, but we like to pretend they are). We keep five chickens, and I think our next-door neighbor (whose family owns the farmland) finds us hysterical for it. She sat at the fence laughing at me the first time she saw me chasing a chicken. I've run into the rats. I've picked up that one dead chicken. I've shoveled dead bunnies. But I've yet to get knee-deep into some manure or try to scoop an egg out of a blocked vent with my fingers! Yours does look like the dream life, but I do think I had the Laura Ingalls in a Massengil commercial in my head (loved that line). And I have one foot in the suburbs at all times because I know I'm not cut out for the reality beyond the property line in my backyard! Thank you so very much for adding me to your blogroll, by the way. I need to update mine this weekend -- haven't done that in over a year -- and I'll be sure to return the follow. :)

  34. Michelle and Momplex, thanks for stopping by! Momplex, you had me laughing at the thought of you chasing that chicken. Lots of love to my sister in farming!

  35. I think you pretty much summed it up. Oh, and be prepared for the barn cats that disappear because of the numerous predators (fox, raccoon, mountain lion, eagles, owls - should I go on? that roam around in the night).

    Popped in from SITS Girls best post of the week.

  36. Love the comment about the fox's head. Too funny! Thanks for linking up with Tuesday Greens!

  37. Hey Tami and Becky, so glad to see you here! Thanks for the comments, hope to see you around...

  38. Ha, ha, ha, love it. And, think of all that well rotted compost! You must be growing some impressive pumpkins. :)

  39. Oh Veronica, I wish. My pumpkins were pathetic. Need more poop!

  40. Excellent article. Very interesting to read. I really love to read such a nice article. Thanks! keep rocking.
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