I came to the realization today that I identify as a farmer now. Today I casually used the term farming to describe what we’re doing here and it trickled up into my consciousness that I’ve always used less confident terms in the past: "hobby farming," our little farm, we have a garden and some animals. We have a garden. We do farming and stuff. No, I have a farm. I am a farmer.
Right now the farm is my part-time job. I don’t get paid in money, though. I am getting paid in delicious food, fresh-grazed pastures, lots of experience, gratitude and sore muscles – and increasingly valuable resilience. That last one is a particularly valuable form of capital. The ability to bend, but not break in times of adversity. And times are certainly adverse these days.
Last night our visitor returned – an absolute chonker of a bear. The fence did its job. The bear knocked the outside trash can over. Harumph. Nothing in there but some old grain bags and dog poopy bags. It also found a bag of sheep mineral I had forgotten about, but other than a small tear in the package, no damage to the product. The sheep are thankful.
The bear came at 10:22 pm, which is alarmingly early. If this trend continues, I will plan to …..be around. I hope the bear likes loud noises. I hope it likes to fight. In the night-vision cam, it looks like an evil cartoon bear. Honestly nightmare-ish. But no nightmare is a match for a fence that reads 6.8 kv at bedtime. Get some, bear.
Tonight I hand-fed the salt-mineral mix to each sheep. It brings me joy to make sure they get their minerals. They’re consuming a decent amount of their water too, which I am supplementing with small amounts of ACV – a good source of potassium. They also love to eat maple leaves, which is a sign they belong on this farm. Any critter that loves maple products is welcome on this farm – except for mice and squirrels and bears and all those other critters nobody likes. Ok, just the ones we like -- mainly, the sheep. I will never get tired of watching sheep munch on maple leaves.