Becoming Farmers

Baby chicks when they first arrived in April

I’ve only recently found the courage to call our property a farm.

A farm produces. A farm is hard work. A farm builds character.

Our place was a tiny 5 acre plot with 25 molting chickens that produced nothing but fertilizer for the weeds. We’ve lived here all fall and through the winter.

Was our place deserving of the honored title Farm?

We’ve worked hard. We planted the fruit trees in the freezing rain. We turned over the soil by hand and planted the seeds. We watched the tiny green sprouts work their way up through that beautiful black Illinois dirt. We raised 29 baby chicks. We have begun eating our own food.

I have finally realizes, as I felt the callouses forming on my palms, yes. We live on a farm. We are becoming farmers.

The chicks with their feathers grown in, awaiting their new outdoor home.

My first thought in the morning, after a word of prayer and some time in my core book, is of the weather. Will it rain? Will my baby plants freeze? Is it warm enough yet for us to move the chicks out of our livingroom and into the real world? I have never been so concerned about the weather before. I have never been so connected to the earth and what is going on around me.

This morning, my husband and I were up before the kids, and we decided to take a tour of our farm. Yes, our farm.

We walked to the barn in the graciously wet morning, to check on the chicks who had spent their first night outside. Yesterday, I constructed a temporary shelter for them, a place for them to warm if it’s cold, safe if threatened by predators, fed if they are hungry. A place that they could get out of and begin to explore their world and free-range as God intended them to, and yet be able to come back home and be safe until they are grown and ready to brave the outside world.

Behold, the Mighty Chick Fortress

They were all still there. All alive and accounted for.

I had done this myself. This is not something I could have done last year. It’s not something I would have wanted to do 10 years ago when my husband and I were first married. What a journey it has already been.

It’s not anything impressive. It’s two pallets and an old fence tied together with twine.

But it was a problem I solved with my own brain and my own calloused hands.

We are becoming farmers.

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One Response to Becoming Farmers

  1. Dionne Baldwin says:

    It sounds like you are already farmers! Congratulations! I must admit I am slightly envious of your 5 acres, but as you already know it comes at the price of hard work. I admire what you are doing. We have a fairly small piece (quarter acre) but we work it as much as we can. I can’t wait to see your baby chicks grow!

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