Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Growing A Farmer
I try to read whenever possible. I actually love to read. Weird, because I hated reading as a kid. I was never really encouraged to do it, I hated school and watched a lot of t.v.. Now that I'm older, I ,like many, wish I would have read more as a kid and watched t.v. less. So now I try and make up for lost time by reading as much as I can before my mind shorts out with old age.
90% of what I read is farming related...SURPRISE!...I know...during the winter months I do enjoy a break from the norm and usually pick up some fiction novel about turn of the 20th century life at Hudson Bay or maybe the Allagash logging camps in Maine. Last winter it was
Nine Mile Bridge, Three Years in the Maine Woods by Helen Hamlin. I really enjoyed it. Such great escapism stuff.
Anyway, I read a lot and most of what I have learned from farming has come from books.Yes I do learn from the farmer I work for, but there is so much to farming and Joel can't teach me all of it. I only spend a few hours a day with him. The only way to get a full, well rounded education is to seek out information from other farmers. I need to learn how other farmers do things and how they approach a problem differently than Joel. I mean Joel didn't learn how to farm from one guy. Yes, he grew up on a farm, but the majority of his knowledge was gained through books and talking to different people.
Most of what I read is "how to" basics about organic farming. How to build your soil...how to grow veggies...how to raise meat birds...how to....how to...how to...you get the idea. It all kind of follows the same pattern and can-at times-get a little boring. This is why I was so happy to find a book like the one I am almost finished with called:
Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land written by Kurt Timmermeister.
Although yes, there is a lot of "how to" in these pages it doesn't feel or read like a how to book. Quite refreshing actually. It's a story about a man and his life going from restauranteur to farmer. Kurt (the author) didn't have any experience farming or know anything about farming when he decided to take the plunge. In fact a lot of what he learned he said was from reading how to do it and just having the courage to try it. I could relate. I have learned much from this book, not only in the area of what not to do, but how to approach farming on a small scale. How to roll with the ups and downs of starting your own farm and what to expect as a young farming green horn. Also, I have gained a little confidence in my ability to actually do it, to make it happen, reading about a man who basically did what I want to do and succeeded at it.
A great read. I highly recommend it.