Thursday, March 29, 2007

Not America's first choice...

I stumbled across this throughly charming blog by chance, and before I'd noticed had read several months of entries. The narrative struck me as well voiced and written, certainly more than adequate to describe a way of life that would strike many as irresistible. (BTW, for another great rural writer of similar vein only funnier, check out Brent Olson) His farm is in a beautiful rural location, his family is adorable, and he has a mixture of cute animals to provide pictures and endless amounts of copy.

Another week has come and gone here on the farm. Madison has had me out digging flowers. Now that the truck is fixed and it’s warmer, we’ve been driving down to the creek a couple miles past the farm so the kids can skip rocks and that’s where Madison found her flowers. There are old home places along the banks of the creek and lots of them have flowers growing abundantly. The kids call it Lilly Valley. That means Dad gets the shovel those that we need at our house. Garett doesn’t get too into the flowers, so he browses around for other treasures or picks up trash. Kind of strange to pick up trash, but he does. He says people are littering and destroying the earth. Hard to argue with that. So usually we come home with flowers and trash. It’s good for the kids to get out in the woods.

It’s time for garden tilling to get busy. I tilled 3 on Friday afternoon. Don’t make a lot of money at it, but at least it helps buy fuel. At $2.60 a gallon I can use the help. I thought I would have some trouble starting the 6000 after running it out of fuel, but all I had to do was loosen the fuel prime pump and pump a few times and it took right off.

Notice two things:
  1. The unapologetic product plugs for his sponsor. This is how the web is going to deliver bucks, I think. It is also how much of what you will read will be infused with marketing.
  2. The pure attraction of the agrarian lifestyle, albeit attached to a full time job elsewhere. It is hard for even me not to envy this simpler, seemingly more rustic life.
I have written before that while I grew up on more nearly agrarian farm, by a series of choices we moved to become what I call industrial producers. I think it is not only appropriate for our farm, but essential to our national interest. America needs industrial agriculture to supply the enormous amounts of farm products it consumes, especially now we have decided to fuel the US from the farm. (I may not agree with this logic, but accept the reality).

But industrial producers need to keep in mind we are not America's first choice for farmers. This guy is. My guess is most folks feel I'm too individualistic, advantaged and obnoxious to deserve this great life. I don't blame others for this nearly instinctive reaction, but I also take seriously that I may have to defend my way of life from people who want to save farming from people like me.

We have peddled an agrarian image for so long, we have forgotten we don't match up. Still, the market will sort this choice out. In the end, image doesn't produce crops.

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