Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Family that Cooks Together

They may not all want the family farm. Many times I don't blame them.
The last post caused quite a reaction in our family.
There were tears of laughter as each of them took time to add their two cents worth.
My son gave me the permission to post his strong reactions. Have a good laugh and sense of humor especially those of you who come from a farming background.
"I started listing off the reasons I didn't choose farming - not because I didn't think it was a good career; rather I look up to mom & dad - for they've worked harder, than anyone else I know. When everyone is tucked into their beds having hot cocoa, mom & dad are out shoveling snow, patching burst pipes, calling the electrician, plowing Bustin Road themselves so the milk-truck can get through, hiring helpers who complain they're sick, tired, drunk, or need higher pay to shovel the shit the farm hands out. There are fences to fix, cows to chase, generators to hook-up, machinery to fix, machinery to maintain, catching big, heavy chickens at midnight, farm upgrades, building new infrastructure to stay in competition with the other farmers that are doing everything I've already mentioned, plus more. There's the need to be able to predict health issues, before they strike the chickens dead; there's the ability to pick-up dead chickens every day, and interpret how each one died. If its upside-down, that means one thing; if they're side-ways, that's another; if they're on their tummies, that's another. There's so many ways to die, and that all tells mom and dad something about what to expect tomorrow. If dad can't be his own vet, he has to hire an expensive vet which means no profits this batch. Then there's balancing the weather inside with the turbulent Chilliwack weather.

What about the economy? Free-trade agreements being made worldwide? Recessions? High grain prices? High gas prices. Oh, did I forget to mention the stress of having a mortgage on a house; let alone a lifetime mortgage on a farm?

Think you're up for farming? Go on dad's emergency call-list. The dozen times dad's put me on it, when they've gone away - even when I've been the last one on his list for the alarm company to call, I've almost every-time got called out to the barn at 2AM, 5AM, or in the middle of playing Rook with my wife, Lora on a Sunday afternoon. And if I got called, I know the 5 hired workers dad had, the alarm company called before me, all either ignored their phones when they saw the farm call, or were too drunk, or too unreliable to answer an emergency cellphone.

Thank you mom and dad, for taking care of the farm, when we've all abandoned it, but still been able to hold onto the very special lifestyle it does offer, when the farm is taking a break from calling you. Thanks for all your hard work in the face of adversity. Thank you for never expecting me to take-over the farm; or quickly realizing that I had other dreams to pursue."

Just as a side note....I need to tell you that all three children have university degrees and followed their professional dreams. Discussing the pros and cons of careers can be debated for hours and hours on many a Sunday afternoon.

But never the less, let's quit complaining about the family farm, and talk about contributing to the nutrition of an active family. Look at those adults prepare, Fishy in a Pocket.
You can find this recipe on Mennonite Girls Can Cook Blog.
If you want a fun filled evening, invite your adult children to cook in YOUR kitchen.
Remember it only gets better.


  1. What's even better is watching your adult children cook in THEIR kitchens!

    Interesting look at the realities of farm life. Which is probably why my dad left the dairy farm in Southern Oregon at age 18 and never went back.

    Cool: My word verification was splacali. I saw sp (initials?) la (that place where I used to live) cali (my state)

  2. oh boy . .him listing all the reasons why he wouldn't want to farm. . .rings true and makes me think maybe we should sell too. . .farming is hard work and not for the faint of heart. . .
    I did enjoy his response and good on your kids for following their own dreams.

  3. i can only imagine how hard it is to farm, and your family sure sounds like they like to have fun.
    i like it when the cook in my kitchen too, maybe this will inspire them.....i am off to bring a ailing future (hopefully) son-in- law and his handsome brother some chicken noodle soup and gellete or kokitos. hope you all stay well.

  4. I love it! If they could just take the good parts of farming...and leave all the rest...there'd be a lot more kids wanting to take over the family farm. Cooking together sounds like a great compromise!

    PS He mentioned shoveling...he never mentioned pumping water at all hours!

  5. Interesting how "each finds their own!" , be it cooking, farming, the professional life, homemaking, volunteering, etc. Like Judy, we would also add pumping water, having flood ruined shavings to clean up, etc to the list these days. ...but we still call it "the good life!" somehow. Thanks for sharing this well thought out response. It did make me chuckle.

  6. I'm also from a mennonite dairy farming family and there is nothing I want more than to take over the farm and continue our family heritage with another generation learning the work ethic and loving the lifestyle that a life on the farm provides. It saddens me deeply to see most of my generation walking away from the family farm because it's too much work, soon the family farm will become extinct in our society. There is not much I am more grateful for than the opportunity to grow up on a dairy farm.

  7. I enjoyed your son's perspective and the fact that he could be realistic, but humurous. There is something to be said about family farms and family businesses, where kids "grow up" with the good and the bad . . . and hearing them have fun with it, does the heart good, because you know you've made memories together.

  8. Most interesting. And, I can imagine my kids saying the same eventually. Two have graduated college and have their own careers, very far-removed from farming. And, didn't we encourage them to follow their dreams. Oh, my.....but it makes me worry. What will happen to the farm? I honestly don't know. We should have had one more child and then raised him or her to stay put on the farm. But, I'm not sure I could even raise a child that way.

    Thanks for this very open honest post that farmers need to think on.

  9. I loved your son's account of farming... and I didn't laugh, sorry! smile
    I always find it interesting that no matter how many 'dissadvantages' of the farm life are listed... the 'good' things about a farm life still sit at the top!
    I believe kids raised on a farm have an advantage ...and I'm always happy for that !

    Thank you for giving us such a personal glimpse into your family !! The kitchen photo says soo much!!

    PS. I love your header pic!

  10. ...and Frank had a great chuckle, ...and it is probably worth a follow-up conversation someday....

  11. My husband left the family farm, too. We weren't very high on the popularity poll for many years.

  12. Oh yeah...there is NOTHING as good as watching one's son whip up a great meal in Mom's kitchen!

    I think it is interesting that you call your place a chicken "farm", as opposed to what the South West always calls a chicken "ranch" (mindful of the designation that a farm raises produce and ranches raise animals.) Wonder if the kids would have been more interested in being ranchers? Same job, different title, with maybe cooler theme music?


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