I recently received a renewal notice from a rural paper that wanted some subscriber information. Such surveys always leave me with a guilty conscience, because there are some questions that cannot truthfully be answered by a simple “yes” or “no.”
Am I a farmer? Sure I’m a farmer. I was born on a quarter section, reared as a farmer’s daughter, I think like a farmer and I’ll always maintain that farmers are the backbone of the country. But am I really a farmer? No, I’m a suburbanite homemaker with rural roots, a country mouse trapped in the urban sprawl.
What size farm do you operate? I suppose a lot 65×150 feet falls too far under the “under 300 acres” category to qualify, but with all the rain this year, friend hubby claimed he was mowing hay on the front 40 with his lawn mower and the back 80, (as in feet), was doing well in row crop veggies.
State livestock raised: “Hogs!” our daughter used to exclaim as she made supper for her teenage brother and his pals. Since he has long been living on his own, all we have left to feed is a flock of sparrows, a couple of chickadees, two or three squirrels, a blue jay, a chipmunk and a bush bunny or two.
Crops. We are definitely diversified. First crop to be taken off in spring is rhubarb, followed by green onions. The quality of radishes was seldom good so we stopped growing them. We expect a new planting of raspberries to do well next year. We usually have a full quota of tomatoes and a surplus of cucumbers. Test plots of perennial flowers yielded well and annuals are rotated according to preferences.
In our own little way, we are still farmers. Our roots go deeply into this soil, even if it isn’t a farm in the strict sense of the word. Nearly 50 years ago we were pioneers in this community.
This is where we built our home, raised our family, provided for our own needs, helped out the neighbours.
We may be considered city slickers on the outside, but beneath the surface lay rural roots that will never be severed. Along with the rest of the farm population we have in us the heritage of a strong work ethic, devoted family ties and an optimistic outlook. We still find enjoyment in specializing in the best crop anyone can produce, that of raising morale. There is such a shortage of it on the world market.
– Alma Barkman writes from Winnipeg