Cappers Farmer Blogs > The River Farmer

Starting Off Small

KellseyThough I have been keeping a journal through the spring and summer on my experiences on the farm, this is my first post for this blog.

I am 23 years old. I am a woman. I work on a farm. I am convinced that I have the best boss. It hasn’t been a particularly difficult summer, but one with plenty of dilemmas. There always is in farming. That’s one of the biggest lessons I have learned over the course of this summer: there is always going to be a problem. It is how you deal with it that counts. I have done well to apply these lessons to my everyday life. As my boss says, I am still just a pup so these lessons are learned readily and often.

So what kind of farm is this you ask? Well I’ve gone back and forth between calling it a farm and just a really big food garden. We grow cabbage, kale, spinach, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, beets, carrots, asparagus, cherries, peaches, apples, strawberries, etc., etc. Really, anything we think we can grow, we plant it. Goji berries even. We planted two bushes this past spring and they have really taken off.

There is also livestock, but I don’t deal much with them. Not yet anyway. I really like cows and horses, and the distinct personalities of these animals. If I were to choose right now in life where I want to be, I would say I belong on a ranch. I’ve heard it before! “What is it with girls and horses?!”

Can any other women help me out? I just think horses are the most beautiful animals. My whole life they have been my favorite. They’re so graceful, you can’t help but feel peaceful when you’re around them. Except at a rodeo or barrel racing. I forgot about that. But even then, the way they move and how powerful they are is mesmerizing. The time and work they require is nothing. I’m happiest when I am working.

But back to this farm. Well, it’s mostly me and another kid my age who are the farmhands, and we’ve got the big boss who is the brains of the organization. A typical day starts at 6:30 or 7 a.m., and we all talk about what needs to be done for the day and over the next week or so. At this point in the summer, all I do is tie tomatoes. As many probably know, there are several ways to train tomatoes up a trellis. The method we use involves a wire fence and as the tomatoes grow, we simply tie the vines to the wires. I use the term “simply,” but it is anything but when you get to it. As with many things that probably seem simple on a farm, there is an art to it. You don’t want to tie a bunch of vines together, you don’t want the wires too low or high, and you certainly don’t want to break the vines. I could go on, of course, but I won’t. My dreams are riddled with tomatoes, and my hands are stained from the green of the plants. I take a break from thinking of tomatoes whenever I can, but I can say at the end of my days that it is absolutely worth it.

Many people I meet give me either one of two looks when they find out what I do: pity or interest. Those who frown have never felt the earth in their hands or the wind on their face. Those who perk up know that there is more to the sweat and exhaust after a long day in the sun. It’s a feeling of contentment, of knowing that it’s for something. I don’t think you go looking for it either. You stumble upon it.

kansas wheat sunset
Taken early spring, on my way home from a good day on the farm.