Thomas Jefferson, an avid agrarian, once referred to the land he farmed as the "great workshop of nature." He himself was an avid farmer. He had about 10,000 acres planted in grains and tobacco. He believed that agriculture would be the heart and soul of American society. He was wrong, of course. How could he have foreseen today's tragedy of the government subsidized, heavily regulated agricultural system we know today?
How to stem the tide? We'll, if you've got a few acres, you already know the answer. My grandson decided he'd like to raise sheep. Et voilà.
He's already got 18 head and that number is sure to increase.
The "yeoman farmer" -- idealized by Jefferson -- refers to a population of common people who maintain small subsistence farms by family labor. And the idea seems to be intergenerational. I went out to check on the sheep today. They seem happy on their newly acquired pasture with its large pond. In his own eyes Jefferson considered himself first and always a man of the land. I suppose I do so too. Of course, there's no need to rhapsodize about farming. It has its fair share of headaches as does every calling in life. But when you walk back to your house and see this view, it makes you pause.
One of the simple joys of farming is being out in nature all the time. I can't imagine life any other way. I can sit and watch the animals graze for hours. It really is a lifestyle.
I would say that most people see farming as a romantic, laid back way of life. While it is sometimes romantic, it is rarely laid back. I would say the biggest thing farming has taught me is to appreciate the simple things of life. You know, the thing that money can't buy. I think the world needs more small farmers like my grandson. Mind you, I'm a kid from a beach in Hawaii and knew nothing about farming until we purchased the farm 22 years ago.
Sorry for the length of this post but I justed wanted you to know how proud I am of my grandson. He and his family produce their own milk and beef and eggs and vegetables. In our day and age, I think that's something to be celebrated. The land is a unique gift God gives us. I, for one, do not take it for granted.
P.S. There's nothing wrong with talking to your animals. It's when they start answering back that you have to be worried :-)