I think I've always wanted to be a farmer. Some of my favorite jobs in my past that involved manual labor, at least those not involving too much yard work or unloading furniture off of semi-trucks all day, and I've always loved the things that farmers spend their time around. I've just never thought of being a farmer as a real, legitimate job possibility.
Let's face it, traditional farming has about as much future for the small farmer as a printing press has for a journalist. Of course, I never said I wanted to be a traditional farmer. There are niches out there for small time farmers; it's just that instead of fields flowing with monoculture, it's in organics, heirloom fruits and vegetables, and heritage livestock. In other words, the weirder side of agriculture. I like the weird side of things.
I've been tossing around a fantasy for years now of pastured poultry and grass fed meat goats and sheep, maybe even a small boutique creamery off to the side to supply fancy-pants cheeses and yogurts to upscale restaurants in Savannah and Atlanta. Only, that dream had as much weight of reality to it as did the ones involving me winning the $220 million Mega Millions jackpot and retiring from regular employment at the ripe old age of whatever-I-was-at-the-time-of-the-daydream. It's drifted through my thoughts many times but never stuck as something possible.
Maybe, when the economy settles itself out and I can be relatively sure there'll still be a market for high-end foods, I'll actually take out a loan, stress my wife until she develops ulcers or finally gets fed up and leaves, and try my hand at raising a flock of pastured ducks, a herd of grass-fed lambs, and a few head of Mangalitsa and Mulefoot hogs. I've got the land already. I only own 5 acres, but I'm surrounded by 300 acres of family-owned land already being leased out for traditional farming. I'm sure I could use my blood leverage to get a good deal to take over that lease, at least until those family members die and leave the land to me in their wills. Plus, I've got a few connections in fine dining in the state due to my beer geekery and writing. All it would take to get this started is a little courage or too many beers in the company of the wrong people.
And ain't that Mangalitsa the coolest hog ever?
But until I can be sure the overpaid class will remain overpaid (or that the reasonably paid stop worrying so much about expensive cars, too-large houses, and HDTVs and put more money into their bellies), I'll have to settle for the dream over the reality.
On a tangent, here's a video of Mike Rowe, host of Dirty Jobs, talking about castrating sheep along with anagnorisis and peripeteia. Great talk, and TED.com has a ton of stuff to keep intelligent people occupied and thinking. I have to thank Hank for turning me on to this site.