I am a wage slave. A gubment employee (state, not fed; the distinction is small but it matters to me).

This is what I am, but it is not what I dream of being. I don’t dream of being a famous actress, or a pop diva, or a runway model. I don’t dream of being the President, or an astronaut, or a jet pilot, or a race car driver.

You will not believe it, but I dream of being a small farmer.

I dream of tilling soil, of dirt under my fingernails, of the cooing sounds of happy hens, of the warm wool on a sheep, of green things growing under my care, of pounding fences, of moving hay, of caring for my animals, of harvesting my goods, and being far from most of the rest of the world.

I dream of serving my family a salad grown by my own hands, or bringing in eggs from my back yard to make the morning’s breakfast. I even dream of the dirty or distasteful parts; choosing an old hen for the pot who no longer lays eggs and dispatching her with care and thanks, but dispatching her nonetheless; cleaning animal waste up to put into the compost to help the garden; the sore back bent from weeding, the achy knees bent in damp dirt. I may have dreams but I have few illusions.

You don’t have to tell me there is no money in farming; especially on a small-holder scale like I dream of. I know that. You don’t have to tell me I would have to give up my annual pilgrimage to Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. I know that too. You don’t have to tell me I am too fat and lazy to do it. I would show you that I can.

But that is the joy of dreaming. I can imagine what my world would look like even if I am not able or willing (yet, or possibly ever) to follow through with my dreams. My husband shares none of these dreams (that I know of) and I could not, would not, embark on a path into my dreams unless he shared them as well.

I spent lots of time at the farm my grandparents lived on when I was a kid. No small hobby farm, but 500 acres of a larger farming system owned by family friends. A herd of cattle, fields of corn, soybeans, cotton, and peanuts. Huge machinery and vast stores of hay. I saw it and I loved it.

I worked in the gardens with my Papa (a little) and my Mother (a lot) and my Grandmother (as little as I could get away with), and I helped with sowing seeds, weeding, turning dirt (shovel not tiller), canning, shelling beans, shucking corn, and snapping peas. I don’t know if I loved it because I was a kid and didn’t know how much we depended on those activities, or because I was honestly born to love such things.

I was made heartily fun of in the 8th grade when we were given personality surveys to help us determine what types of jobs our personalities matched best with. My top rating, by a LONG shot, was a farmer. I was crestfallen back then. I had much greater ambitions.

As I have aged, spent time in the Cube Farm, working for the Gubment, and trekking into the city every day, I find that maybe my quiz wasn’t so far off. I have for years read homesteader’s (urban and rural) blogs, imagined owning a handful of hens in my back yard (Chesterfield allows hens, no roosters, fine with me), turning more and more of my yard into garden space and having an herb section, a glorious flower and rose garden, and a slew of delicious and nutritious vegetables growing.

This is what I dream of. What we do with our dreams says more about us than what clothes we wear, what car we drive, and what area we live in. Maybe one day, I really will do something with my dreams.

I hope so.


3 responses to this post.

  1. I don’t know about there being no money in having a small farm. Small farms where I live all seem to sell whatever vegetables and fruits that they don’t use themselves, and local farm-grown food is very popular around here. You can sell your neighbors their eggs (I remember my grandparents had a hobby farm when I was a child, and sold the eggs for a couple dollars a carton, to any neighbors that wanted them. The neighbors were always happy to have fresh, very-very-very tasty eggs.)

    And, even if you don’t sell excess produce, the satisfaction of being able to eat your own lettuce, carrots and tomatoes, is such an amazing thing, that it’s so worth the no-money-in-it thing :)

    And whoever thinks you’ll be fat and lazy after working a farm after a few months, would be completely crazy.


  2. Posted by Lisa on April 10, 2009 at 7:25 PM

    I hope your dream comes true one day. Many of us have similiar dreams. How lucky we are to have supportive spouses!

    ps…did the yarn make it to you?


  3. Thats a great dream to have. Unlike many other peoples dreams, you made that one up yourself. It wasn’t sold to you like “Being a rockstar” or “Having a flash car”. Well done!

    I’ve got the same dream, and I’m in a similar job. The way to get to your dreams is by making progress now. I’m saving and I’ve adjusted my lifestyle to make the most of the money coming in, because with less than you think you can get a peice of land, put a yurt on it, and you’re free! In the meantime, most houses have enough room for vegetables and maybe even a hen or too, start ripping up that lawn :)


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