I have mentioned in previous articles that I grew up on a farm in Idaho. My father, grandfather, and uncle farmed mainly potatoes and wheat. We also raised pigs for our own use. In the news clipping above you can see me as a 7 year old boy with my grandfather Maurice Johnson in the tie and my uncle Dale in the middle who is also a contributor to this website. We won the biggest spud contest for that year. This picture is very poignant to me and brings back many good memories of what I remember to be a simpler life.
I have grown up and become a city boy but I believe if you grow up on a farm that a piece of it never leaves you. I still love the smell of fresh turned earth. I love being in the country and seeing all of the stars that aren’t visible in the city. I love animals and the place they have in our lives. I have a special feeling in the fall knowing that a summer of hard work produces it’s bounty.
I want my children to learn many of the things I learned growing up on the farm. I learned that honest, hard work can be satisfying and rewarding. I learned that a lot of the time we have to have faith that the work we are doing now will pay off in the future. I learned about the sacred relationship we have with nature and animals. I learned that you don’t need a lot of things to be happy, you just need food, shelter, and a loving family.
Right now we don’t live on a farm but I can still help my children learn many of the same values. My oldest son Reece is responsible for our chickens. He feeds them and makes sure that they are warm and comfortable every day. We give our children a plot in the garden and let them be responsible for weeding and watering it. Our children have pets that help them learn about the importance of our relationship with nature. Although it’s not a complete substitute to living on a farm I believe that many of these things will help keep my children linked to the farming heritage that I have.
What are some of the values that you have learned from your backyard farming experiences?