Art . . . and Farming
I have such a large extended family that we could probably start our own country and have a population big enough to supply emigrants to other countries . . . or maybe just invade. I've got five brothers, my mother had four siblings, and my father had over ten. They've all had many offspring, so the babies added up and grew into big folks with more babies. I don't even know them all, nor to whom many of my cousins are married. Occasionally, I'm surprised to hear from them and their families, an extensive network of kinfolk I've yet to meet.
When I was five years old, I spent about six months living in Kansas City with my Aunt Kathryn, her husband Odel Young, and their three kids: Larry, David, and Steve. I loved the time with them because the boys were great fun and loved to wrestle (which I seemed to enjoy more back then than I do now) even though all three of them were bigger than me. Also, I knew only the Ozarks and a little bit of Kansas City, but they'd lived in Washington state near the ocean and had great stories about playing on the beach and digging for clams. They convinced me that clam chowder would make me strong, but it never did.
Readers might recall my Cousin Bill, who sends out an often humorous email circular, "Weekly Ramblings," which I've occasionally cited here on Gypsy Scholar. Cousin Bill's tales of life's travails sometimes garners a response from my Uncle Cran, who doesn't ramble as much as Cousin Bill but tells just as many tales, often of life on his Ozark farm. At times, Uncle Cran laments the farmer's fate:
People who don't have livestock don't realize the expenses involved on a farm. There are continual repairs and upkeep, hay baling, feed purchased, gas & oil, utilities, veterinerian expenses, etc. I told someone that when you sell a $600.00 calf, you have fed the mother for 11 months between having calves, then another 8 months feeding and caring for the calf. In a good year you make a profit of between $50.00-$100,00 per calf. But you will lose at least one calf each year, and the cow just keeps on eating. I'm not complaining, and we love being on the farm. We have no desire for city life any more.That recent email got a response from a certain Debbie Young:
As newbie farmers, David and I are also learning about the expenses involved. We tend to wonder if the time and money that we put into our gardens, goats, hogs and chickens really pays off. But we, like you, now know that we wouldn't have it any other way. As farmer/writer Gene Logsdon says, "A bad day on the farm is better than a good day in the office." His blog called "The Contrary Farmer" can be found at [this site] . . . . It's well written, funny and informative.I had to reflect a moment to figure out who this "Debbie Young" was, then recalled those months in Kansas City playing with David Young and his two brothers. Debbie must be David's wife, I realized. She also maintains a blog, a farm blog titled Faith, Art and Farming, and seems to post blog entries regularly. Here's an especially nice one, with the heading "Love Story":
I love my husband David. He works hard everyday and brings home the bacon bits. I thank him for both, often. We get up a 5 a.m. I hit the snooze several times leaving just enough time to make a quick egg-toast breakfast. Then I shovel some rice, veggies and meat into Tupperware for my baby's favorite lunch.That does sound nice. I could almost imagine the farming life for myself and Sun-Ae . . . till I recall Uncle Cran's lament. But I bet that even Uncle Cran would agree with Debbie and Gene Logsdon, that "A bad day on the farm is better than a good day in the office." Except for those days when a tornado blows your home away . . .
We eat by candlelight, really. An especially nice candle was give to us by our daughter Sarah. It's the centerpiece, until it melts. This is serious romance I'm talking about. We pray, gobble and talk about how people are all basically knot heads and nothing, short of divine intervention, will ever change that. David says that he thinks my goat drawings will someday be in the Louvre Museum in Paris; I remind him that I'd have to be dead for that to happen. We play "Bible Bingo" and pick a random verse and have "Scripture Time". We rave and we rant about this and that, as much as can be tolerated this early in the morning.
The car is warm; it's time to go. With a kiss, David says he is going to skip work, fly to Vegas and gamble away our life savings. Then he reminds me not to slip on the ice on the way to the goat barn. We are living our dream.
But that won't happen very often, especially in Washington state, where David and Debbie farm. So, go visit Debbie Young's farm blog, which also offers entries on her art and occasional poems. She even has her own art website, which you see above, but which you can also find by clicking here.
If I live long enough, I just might get to know all of my extended family . . .