Infectious farm life


I did not choose to become a farmer “for the lifestyle” because it’s harder than you’d think.

It certainly wasn’t for the money. My decision to buy out the farm was something I found hard to explain to my incredulous accountant even though it could not have been clearer to me. Maybe if I’d had The Wind in the Willows handy, I’d have shown him this:

Home! That was what they meant, those caressing appeals, those soft touches wafted through the air, those invisible little hands pulling and tugging, all one way! Why, it must be quite close by him at that moment, his old home that he had hurriedly forsaken and never sought again, that day when he first found the river! And now it was sending out its scouts and its messengers to capture him and bring him in.
The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame

My childhood was filled feeding calves, riding ponies, priming pumps, dodging snakes and learning how to drive. That stuff, the snuffling of grazing cows and the wildness of the farm through its changing seasons got under my skin.

Today, my own children play with the calves. I do everything I can to tend their love for all things living and build their capability with all things mechanical.


And they’re thriving. Not that every day is like a scene from the lid of a chocolate box. Farm life is great for kids in so many ways despite – or because of – the challenges it brings. Resilience, independence, self esteem and a work ethic flow from long days dealing with setbacks and simply doing what has to be done. No need for tough love to learn life’s lessons.

Even so, there’s a part of me that questions whether we’re doing the right thing, infecting our kids with farm life. Opportunities for young people are undoubtedly richer in well-resourced regional cities.

And what will life on the land be like for my grown-up little people in 20 years’ time if they, like Mole did, feel the tug of home’s invisible little hands? I don’t know for sure but I soothe my mother guilt by remembering that at least they have the chance to grow up slowly.

9 thoughts on “Infectious farm life

  1. Giving your children the chance to ‘grow up slowly’. What a beautiful grounding for them! The resilience, determination and courage they are learning will stand them in better stead than anything they could learn in a city. No matter what happens in the future, our country will always need those able to embrace farming in all its guises. I have no doubt farming will continue to change; the methods and techniques of today will seem antiquated in 30 years, perhaps sooner. We will still need to eat, still need the produce of the land. It will only be those who understand farming, who have a heart for the land, that will be able to succeed. Trust your instincts and continue to nurture your precious children.

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  2. Beautifully written, balanced and delivered by a very powerful combination of farmer, business woman and mother who recognises the benefits of growing up on and being involved in the running of a family farm from early childhood. Here’s to a bright future for your children, having been equipped with the skills they have learnt from their farm upbringing, whatever they decide to do at various stages of their lives.

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  3. Time with your children is so precious, cherish every moment for the years pass quickly. I know because that time has passed for me.
    My husband and I leased three dairy farms on our journey to farm ownership. It was difficult moving children, cows and machinery each time but our children are resilient and have thrived despite witnessing and experiencing the hardship of two droughts also, that took us to the brink of losing everything.
    We lived in Binginwarri for 5 years, what a beautiful part of the world for our children to live and grow. They had adventures and freedom to roam, priceless ‘opportunities’ that many children never experience.
    Our youngest child has just finished her undergraduate degree and neither her or her five siblings intend to farm as a career at this point in time but nevertheless I believe that growing up on the dairy farms has been so valuable to them, it’s intangible.
    We don’t farm for the ‘lifestyle’, the day in day out, neverending work to be done creates a work/life imbanlance, I struggle with this daily. It’s certainly not for the money. My husband and I were both ‘infected’ when we were children. Only time will tell if our children are indeed infected and it’s just laying dormant 🙂


  4. Pingback: Plowing Into 2017: The Top 50 Farming and Agriculture Blogs - Lawnstarter

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