The Un-Farmer

By Liz Mugavero

From farm country, Connecticut

In celebration of Edith Maxwell’s A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die release this week, we’re all  talking about farming.

And I realized I’m at a distinct disadvantage.

me and coffeeI will freely admit, I’m not a “get your hands dirty” type. I would much prefer to stroll along Newbury Street with a coffee in one hand and a shopping bag in the other than dig in the soil and plant things. My mother was a big gardener, and I remember the mandatory “helping” activities I had to do: Turning the soil with a pitchfork (lots of worms under there), picking strawberries while kneeling in the dirt, holding up tomato plants while she tied them to the wooden stakes that kept them sturdy.

They’re not my favorite memories.

I love what’s produced from those exercises – I just don’t want to do them. But I have the utmost respect for farmers and gardeners. It’s such a productive activity. I wish I did like to do it, but I’m well aware of my limitations. I can barely keep houseplants alive. Scratch that – I can’t.

Since moving to Connecticut, I’ve had a lot more exposure to real farming than I’ve had previously. I live near a goat farm. One of my neighbors is an old-time farmer. I’m not quite sure what he farms right now but he’s got one cow, rumored to be a rescue, which Shaggy the schnoodle desperately wants to play with. And I toured a dairy farm recently (see thebaby_cow newborn baby cow in the photo!) as part of the research for A Biscuit, A Casket, the second book in the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries.

Has any of this made me long to stick my hands in the dirt? Absolutely not. I have become quite cognizant of the importance of buying locally, and visit the farmers’ market every chance I get. I love that my dog loves cows and wants to be friends with them. And I appreciate the enormity of the hours farmers keep and the work they do.

Still, it’s a profession I’m much more inclined to admire from afar, even though I got a good milking tankglimpse inside the milking tank.

What kinds of jobs do you admire people most for sticking to, even when it gets tough?

2 Thoughts

  1. I’m with you. Liz. I love it that other people do it.

    My husband had similar experiences during mandatory helping his mother with her garden when he was young. As a result, he hasn’t gotten his hands dirty since he hit adulthood. At our last two houses we paid people to mow the lawn, since we decided if we were going to get divorced, it should be over something more important than the grass.

    At our city home we’ve now achieved nirvana–patio in the backyard, small beds in front. Plants, but no grass, and certainly no vegetables.

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