A Farmer's Vacation-rare, but much needed

July 3, 2018

If you know a farmer or are a farmer, you know taking vacation is not an easy or frequent task.  First, you have to be willing to walk away from the farm for several days.  That means you have lost total control of the farm.  Those animals you feed, water, and care for at least twice a day aren't under your control.  Your watchful eye isn't there to catch any injury or illness that can befall your herd.  Your electric fence may break (oh, it will) and you aren't there to fix it.  You aren't there to make sure the freezers are working properly.  The garden is not getting watered or harvested by you.  "How many tomatoes will ripen while I'm gone?",  the farmer wonders.  July isn't the best time to leave by the way.  It is hard to walk away from the farm, even for a couple of days.  Step one is to convince the farmer that a vacation is in order and that the farm can survive without the farmer IF you have a trustworthy farm sitter.  Step two is to find a trustworthy farm sitter.  Now, I'm not just talking about a friendly person willing to come out and do a few chores.  Nope.  You need a dependable person who is willing to play the farm game.  Game, you say?  Oh, yes.  Game.  Because, you see, farming is like playing Frogger.  You think you just have to get to the other side, that is, do some simple chores.  But as you are hopping from one chore to another, BAM, you get hit by a truck.  In other words, something happens you weren't expecting.  Here are just a few things that have happened to me when hubby has been out of town: a pig gets out, electric fence breaks (happens every time he leaves), or I can't figure out how to pick up 1,000 pounds of water with the tractor fork by myself.  However, this time I wasn't the one playing the solo farming game.  It was our friend Kim.  Kim used to do a little farming back in the day and has been itching to return to a little farming one day so he was gracious enough to agree to farm sit for us once again.  Shane didn't want to go on vacation unless Kim was available to farm sit.  We've had other willing friends and we love and appreciate each of those friends.  But Kim has experience and can engineer broken things on the fly.  I have no doubt that if a water pipe broke three feet underground and Kim was farm sitting he could and would fix it and not even complain.  Three cheers for Kim agreeing to farm sit so we could scoot over to the Smoky Mountains for a much needed family vacation.

So what happened to Kim?  He walked out one evening to do chores and what does he find? 


12 pigs on the loose!  12 pigs NOT in the electric fenced pasture they were left in.  A dozen.  It's not like you can pick up a pig and set it back where you want it.  Pigs are smart and they like to explore.  It was day 2 or 3 that Kim let us knew about the pig debacle.  Shane briefly panicked and considered flying back to town.  But, he knew Kim could figure things out.  Kim's wife may no longer be supportive of Kim's dream to one day become a farmer again after the pig debacle added a few hours to his chore time.  Oh, dear.  I can SO relate.  Think you are going out for your ten year wedding anniversary dinner?  Nope.  Sow went into labor.  Think your hubby is taking you on a romantic date?  Nope.  Blizzard is moving in and the cows need moved closer to the barn.  Think you are stepping outside to get something out of your car?  Ha!  Put on your muck boots because this or that got loose and you are needed now!  It takes a special woman to be a farm wife.  We call it #farmwifelife.

I still don't know exactly how Kim got those pigs into a safe, contained area so you'll have to ask him.  I can guarantee he'll back up our $10/lb bacon prices after he's put in a few days in our shoes.  

Rachael Ferguson

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