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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Don't You Kind of Wish You Could be a Farmer?

photo credit 

Tonight I finished reading the girls the book Farmer Boy from the Little House series.  First of all, if you haven't read the series since you were a kid or you have never read them at all, you should go to the library and pick them up.  They are such a great glimpse into the early pioneer days of our country.  I love it!  Second of all, I cried at the end.  What kind of sap am I turning into? :o)

(If you want to know the end you have to go read the book... seriously it will take you 2.5 hours cause they're children's books!)

I want to share a few of my favorite sections with you.  Just cause the book inspired me to think lovingly of farmers, and I want to share the love ;o)  

At one point, Almanzo (the boy) asks his father why he said that it was axes and plows that made America.  His father explains that, though we did fight England for the land, it was the farmers that took the land and made it America... 

"Well son, the Spaniards were soldiers, and high-and-mighty gentleman that only wanted gold.  And the French were fur-traders, wanting to make quick money.  And England was busy fighting wars.  But we were farmers, son; we wanted the land.  It was farmers that went over the mountains, and cleared the land, and settled it, and farmed it, and hung on to their farms.  

This country goes three thousand miles west, now.  It goes 'way out beyond Kansas, and beyond the Great American Desert, over mountains bigger than these mountains, and down to the Pacific Ocean.  It's the biggest country in the world, and it was farmers who took all that country and made it America, son.  Don't you ever forget that." 

The American farmer.  We just don't really think of him that way anymore.  Or maybe we do, deep down inside, but we don't appreciate and respect him anymore.  Farming was once considered a noble thing.  But not anymore.  How many times do you hear a college-bound senior saying they're going to be a farmer?  It just doesn't command respect anymore.  I wish it did. 

At the end of the book, Almanzo (only ten years old!) is offered an apprenticeship by the wagon-maker in town.  We have already learned that Almanzo's older brother has decided to become a shopkeeper... something that greatly saddens his parents.  Over dinner, Father and Mother discuss the apprenticeship.

"Well, son, you think about it," said Father. "I want you should make up your own mind.  With Paddock, you'd have an easy life, in some ways.  You wouldn't be out in all kinds of weather.  Cold winter nights, you could lie snug, in bed and not worry about young stock freezing.  Rain or shine, wind or snow, you'd be under shelter.  You'd be shut up, inside walls.  Likely you'd always have plenty to eat and wear and money in the bank."

"James!" Mother said.

"That's the truth, and we must be fair about it," Father answered. "But there's the other side, too, Almanzo.  You'd have to depend on other folks, son, in town.  Everything you got, you'd get from other folks.

A farmer depends on himself, and the land and the weather.  If you're a farmer, you raise what you eat, you raise what you wear, and you keep warm with wood out of your own timber.  You work hard, but you work as you please, and no man can tell you to go or come.  You'll be free and independent, son, on a farm." 

No one really farms like that anymore, obviously... it's hard to be totally independent now.  Then again, is it?  I don't know.  All I really know is it sounds really nice.

But that's just the silly musings of a girl who "grew up in town" ;o) 


  1. I loveee Farmer Boy! I was just thinking about that book yesterday as I went to go take care of our chickens. Something that I really want to be is a farmer and I just think it would be sooo nice. *sigh*