Today's Featured Farmer is Amy of A Farmish Kind of Life.
Welcome, Amy, and thanks for joining us today!
Welcome, Amy, and thanks for joining us today!
1. Tell us a little about yourself!We moved to our 5 acre farm around Christmas 2011. Currently, we raise chickens (both meat and layers), pheasants, and pigs. In the past we had horses and goats but found they weren’t a good fit for our family. We hope in the future to have a cow.
We also have two 2100 square foot gardens and are adding raised gardens around the property. We have a large raspberry patch, grapevines, and are hoping to start apple trees soon. My husband works nights in law enforcement and I homeschool my sons, ages 11 and 12.
2. How did you get started in farming?I grew up in the country, but in more of a woodsy, hunting family than a “farm” family. My husband grew up in town, and when we were first married, we lived right on Main Street. I don’t even remember how the “let’s buy a farm” bug bit us. But it bit, and it bit hard. It was not easy, but we finally ended up where we live now. We are punting as we go. We learn something every day.
3. What is your favorite part of your farming lifestyle?Whenever people come to visit, it doesn’t take them long to say, “It’s so quiet here.” Our farm is on a dead end dirt road so we only see a couple cars a day. And I guess that “quiet” stands for a lot of things.
It’s quiet in the obvious meaning of the word, but I think it’s also quiet in the sense that there are things we just don’t deal with here. We are busy with the daily-ness of the farmish life and sometimes being busy with that keeps us out of other things or unaware of other things that are going on “out there." There’s so much to do on a farm, there is no time for drama. Well…there’s farm drama (like when the pigs are out or the rain floods the gardens) but I’d take that over social or current event drama any day.
4. What have you struggled with?How much money it takes. Now don’t get me wrong, we are frugal folks – we watch our pennies, and fix stuff instead of buying when we can…but man, the money it takes to keep a farm running. THAT was the big surprise. I don’t think that people jumping into homesteading or farming have a real grasp on how much money is going to be dumped into the adventure – usually at the most inopportune time. We sure didn’t. ;)
The other thing that has surprised me is that when you move to a farm thinking it will be a source of income (even minimally)… you need to produce a lot of stuff for that to be a reality- probably a lot more than you were originally thinking.
5. What has been the most surprising thing about incorporating this into your life?The farmish life has calmed me down. A lot. I’m much more go with the flow than I used to be.
Also - before I started living the farmish life, I would say there were a lot of things regarding agriculture that the media successfully skewed my opinion about. Now that I’m in the middle of farm country and have made friends with the people the media is trying to skewer, I realize there are two sides to every story. If you’ve never grown more than a tomato plant on your patio, or had more than four chickens in a backyard coop, you probably shouldn’t be dissing farmers and what they do. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. ;)
6. How has being involved in agriculture affected your faith?If you want to know how much you’re NOT in control, buy a farm. It’s like we humans “know” we aren’t in control…but we don’t really KNOW it. Know what I mean? In the farmish life, you’re at the mercy of a lot of outside “forces” (weather, feed prices, birth and death of animals, etc.) It’s a kick in the pants to remind you you’re not The Boss.
This farm, specifically, was a struggle to get to. We had three places fall through before this one and you always question (in the middle of it) why it’s happening. I remember coming down the stairs one of the first mornings at this farm and seeing the big red barn through our picture window, seeing all the things that lined up perfectly about where we ended up, and thinking, “Yes. This is where we were supposed to be.” You realize (duh!) He had it figured out the whole time.
7. What advice would you give a complete newbie (you know, like me)?My advice would be for people who did not grow up as farm folk and are moving into farm country:
Realize you’re moving yourself into a community of people who have been farming for generations. If you walk in like you own the place and you’re going to change the world because you watched a YouTube video about how to clip a goat’s hooves, you’ll get laughed at. Be teachable. Farm folk are so friendly and will do anything for each other. They’re full of knowledge and are willing to teach – but you have to be willing to listen.
Also, be prepared: farm life will change you, almost always for the better.
Amy Dingmann—farmish girl, author, and homeschool mom—lives with her husband and two sons on a five acre farm in Central Minnesota.
If you’d like to follow her adventures, you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or at her site A Farmish Kind of Life.