Inspiration in Elbow Grease

As we begin to hone in on our ambitious goals for the farm, we start to paint the picture of work load and inconveniences. Homesteading comes with those, as do most things for which we have passion or obligation, and it is not unexpected. But what it does is muddy the waters of possibility for time away. Many farmers never get time away; they either aren’t comfortable or don’t have the help required in order to do so. This can burn you out as quickly as any day job, and even cause you to resent that which you love and enjoy. So I put out a call for help on our social media and shared it to local groups:

With children and the majority of our family out of province, twice a year we look to travel to see them; occasionally, we even like to spend a weekend away or go camping. Doing so on the farm, especially with a large dog who must be kennelled, can be difficult. Gardens go unattended, goats don’t get milked (not good for production!), tractored animals temporarily become stationary and inevitably, even with people topping up feed and water, things get behind. The stress of coming home is often greater than the stress of leaving.

So we have been mulling around the idea of having someone come once a week for an hour or two to learn the ropes, do some chores and gain some homesteading experience in the hopes this person would be able to stay on farm while we are away, or at least check and handle everything with a bit more of an intimate connection.

As stated in prior posts and seen in our Vlogs, we are a different operation. On a small, diversified and holistically managed farm who is building from the ground up while trying not to take on additional debt load, things are often done the time-consuming way. We milk daily, put animals up nightly; we peel round bales and bed with straw done the same way; water is hauled in buckets , gardens weeded by hand; pens are cleaned with fork, spade and barrel, and sometimes fences must be climbed when gates won’t work.

This opportunity, however, is ideal for a teenager, mature homeschooler or young adult who is interested in small agriculture, homesteading or rural life where they may or may not otherwise have a chance to test their passion and commitment with a farm. Perhaps it will inspire someone who always wanted to join 4H but there either wasn’t a club or they had nowhere to keep animals.

While there is the chore portion there are also rewards like fresh produce, meat they helped to raise and care for, and welcoming new life. If you are interested or know someone who would be, please consider getting in touch and letting us know what interests you about this opportunity and why, and what you would expect from it.

Transportation would not be provided. Motivation, willingness to learn and make mistakes is required. We look forward to hearing from interested individuals.

When someone answered, I locked up. I would have to teach someone; I would have to show them the ropes, tell them the what, how, when, where and why, explain to them the decisions we have made and our processes. I would have to give them my knowledge. What knowledge? Who am I to teach anything about homesteading when I am still learning every day myself? This really befuddled me.

In 2011, when we found the farm, the concept of being a farmer or homesteader was just a spark in our mind and suddenly it became active potential and possibility. I remember the $2 chickens and the condition they were in, how I picked the pretty ones and by doing so picked mostly roosters. I remember thinking: “If we can do chickens, we can try something else.” We did chickens, and chickens added logs to the kindling and made a fire. I wanted to learn from someone. Books are great, sure, and videos even better, but hands on where someone can pause you and point things out is the way I learn the best. At the time, we were members on a Canadian poultry forum, and I typed up a post looking for a mentor.

I ended up with a pen pal who is now one of my best friends, and a mentor 20 minutes away. She was timid and quiet at first, but what occurs to me now is she felt the same as I do in this moment. To her, her gardens were just gardens, the old dill seeds being passed down over 40 years were just dill; the cows were just cows and her chickens well, they were nothing special. But to me they were goals and dreams, they were possibility and triumph. When the mentor moved, I bonded even more with my pen pal, Uno, I could talk about anything candidly, even the failures, and she wouldn’t judge me. She picked me up, kicked the dust off my ass and told me to keep going; she shared her ups and downs and hopes and dreams and I grew to love her like family. While kids and other things keep our emails short and far between, or the texts brief, we are still in touch and she is still my family.

Who am I? Who cares! Who. Cares. Maybe the person that comes here will look through the forest of weeds and see the tomatoes and not the work, maybe they will savour the salad peppered with accomplishment and oiled with elbow grease the same way I do to this very day. Perhaps, instead of a house in the city, they will choose the commute to live rurally for a garden or a goat or a chicken, or possibly a young soul who otherwise couldn’t do 4H will have the opportunity to do so and develop a passion for goats. If someone tastes true sourdough and makes even one loaf for themselves, I will have set a spark in someone, if only briefly, and shouldn’t we all want to inspire something good? We often spend our time trying to inspire our children or ourselves when we could set great things in motion inspiring others.

So who are you to share your lifestyle? The perfect person for the perfect person. Inspire people, the world needs to redefine greatness.

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