Poultry Ain’t Easy

From a resilient and funny friend who recently gave away her two chickens to a nearby farm:

It’s called simplifying life – even more – it was chickens in / dog out / chickens out / dog in / clean chicken coop / winter – insulate chicken coop / feed chickens / water chickens / chickens, chickens, chickens.

In all seriousness, who hasn’t felt the draw of living on the land while stuck in an office? But farming, even small scale backyard stuff, is challenging. It’s a ton of real work.

I know some people who grew up on farms. My grandmother grew up on a small – you can bet organic – farm 80 years ago. She had very few fond memories of that life. Another friend grew up in the 70s & 80s on a modest-sized family farm. Dust. Dustiness. Work. All day.

So when I hear comfortable urban folk proclaiming the need to get people back onto small farms, I get a little annoyed. It sounds like it’s a “simple” life, but people have wanted to get off the farm for as long as there’s been something to get off the farm to. Being bound to daily physical efforts and attached to a patch of land is difficult. There are valid and important objections to our current agricultural system, but simplistic, romantic notions of small farm life don’t help. When we do see people making it as real farmers – not gentleman hobby farmers who operate at break-even or a loss – they deserve respect for their efforts. Chickens, chickens, chickens!

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