Today was Josh’s first morning back, so he went outside to check on all of the garden beds, the chickens, the fruit trees, and the berry bushes. We needed to do a lot of weeding and harvesting, so we had the girls help us. Not long ago, families lived like this. Farming together, working together. I know that as a society we place an enormous amount of value on education. I too value education, but I also don’t believe that education is limited to a classroom. As a family, we are considering small scale farming. Josh has been studying independently and gardening for years now (despite having a college degree in a totally different area), and we are thinking about acquiring the necessary land to take it to the next level. We want the girls to prepare now for the level of involvement that would be required of them. This means that we expect them to help with the outside chores. While Josh was gone I had them collect eggs, feed chickens, pick strawberries, and water the garden. They are capable. And they are learning so much in the process. I think it’s sad that we are churning out highly “educated” kids with college degrees who are having trouble getting hired anywhere anyway. Meanwhile, we have stopped encouraging trade professions like plumbing or mechanic work. And as for farming? Well, “200 years ago, 90% of the population farmed; today it is less than 2%.” What if we encouraged our sons and daughters to farm? Maybe, just maybe we could take agriculture out of the hands of the corporation, and put it back into the hands of the farmer. The farmer who knows the ecology of his place, the health of his soil, and needs of each of his animals. I’m not sure what field the girls will want to go into. Right now, we are training them in the family business that we are building, and that is farming. Perhaps they will want to do something else–and that will be fine. But I think that the foundation they are building by working together with our family–that is, learning about the land, the business side of whatever we decide to sell (we are still researching and working that out), and what it takes to run a small business will be invaluable for them, whatever they choose to do. They are already tasting (literally) some of the sweet rewards of farming. Later that day, I asked the girls to process the mulberries we had picked so that Josh could make jam. This was very tedious and involved picking the stems off of each individual mulberry…but they stuck with it. And the result was delicious!
Day 176 – Farm Chores and the Agrarian Life
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