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The farming life

FARM work doesn’t make you stronger. It doesn’t make you anything. It reveals you.

There’s gym strong and then there’s farm strong. They’re mutually exclusive. The toughest women you’ll ever meet spend their days on a farm.

There are more uses for twine than you can possibly imagine. You can tie up a hole in a slow feeder, fashion a tail strap for a horse’s blanket, mend a broken fence and use it as a belt.

“Well that certainly didn’t go as planned,” is one thing you’ll say quite a bit.

Control is a mere illusion. The thought that you have any, at any given time, is utterly false.

Sometimes sleep is a luxury. So are lunch and dinner. And brushing your hair.

If you’ve never felt your obliques contract, then you’ve never tried stopping an overly full wheelbarrow of horse manure from tipping over sideways. Trust me, you’ll find muscles that you never knew existed on the human skeleton to prevent this from happening.

When one of the animals is ill, you’ll go to heroic lengths to minimize their discomfort.

Their needs come first. In summer heat and coldest winter days. Clean water, clean bed, and plenty of feed. Before you have your first meal, they all eat.

When you lose one of them, even though you know that day is inevitable, you still feel sadness, angst and emotional pain from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. And it’s a heaviness that lingers even though you must regroup and press on. You’ll cry a lot. But you’ll never live more fully. You’ll remain present no matter what because you must. There is no other option. You’ll ask for so many miracles and hold out hope until the very last.

You will, at least once, face-plant in the manure pile. You’ll find yourself saying things like, “we have maybe twenty minutes of daylight left to git ‘er done” whilst gazing up at a nonspecific place in the sky. You’ll become weirdly obsessive about the weather. You’ll go out in public wearing filthy clothes and smelling of dirt, sweat and poop. People will look at you sideways and krinkle their noses but you won’t care. Your entire day can derail within ten seconds of the rising sun. You can wash your coveralls. They won’t look any cleaner, but they will smell much nicer.
Farm work is difficult in its simplicity. You’ll always notice just how beautiful sunrises and sunsets really are. Should you ever have the opportunity to work on a farm, take the chance! You will never do anything more satisfying in your entire life.

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