When I began this blog three years ago, I’d recently lost my husband. His death meant many changes. This lifestyle had always been my dream. My husband was, at first, a reluctant partner with the muscle. Then, farming in retirement became his dream. I wondered how my adult daughter and I would be able to carry on the work of this small farm without his help.
There are some universal challenges we face as we age, but does that mean we give up a rich and rewarding lifestyle? I shout “NO”. But we will, no doubt, have to change the way we do things to continue on the same path. What are these challenges?
Limited physical strength tops my list as something that is not possible to overcome by sheer willpower. I’m just not strong. I never was and am less so now. Overpowering livestock that outweighs me is a lot harder than it used to be. Dragging heavy stuff around a farm ain’t happenin’.
Limited stamina. No, I can no longer dig a raised bed or animal grave in one go. Maybe not even in five. Plowing through the snow to feed sheep wears me out like climbing sand dunes used to when I was a kid. Mucking out the barn? Hmmm, might have to come up with some ingenious plan for that chore.
Limited income interferes with desired projects and necessary upkeep. It has a profoundly dampening effect on Quixotic ideals and brings me down to earth, fast.
So, where is all this leading? Well, back to the blog’s revised title and tagline. “Farming in My Fifties and beyond, Outsmarting old age & infirmity one chore at a time” Yes, there are challenges, but I believe there are ways around these if we just work and think smarter. There are ways that don’t involve working from dusk ’til dawn with no time for hobbies or relaxation. I came upon this old poem or farmer’s toast that sums up my romantic ideal of farm life.
God Speed The Plow/The Farmer’s Toast
Let the wealthy and great live in splendor and state. I envy them not, I declare it, For I grow my own rams, my own ewes, my own lambs, And I shear my own fleece and I wear it.
By plowing and sowing and reaping and mowing All nature provides me with plenty- With a cellar well stored and a plentiful board, And my garden affords every dainty.
For here I am king. I can dance, drink and sing. Let no one approach as a stranger. I will hunt when it's quiet. Come on, let us try it! Dull thinking drives anyone crazy.
I have lawns and bowers. I have fruits and flowers, And the lark is my morning alarmer. So you jolly boys now, here's Godspeed the plow. Long life and success to the farmer.
What do you see as the greatest obstacle to homesteading in your golden years?