The first blush of family farming is exhilarating, scary, fun and costly, we all know this. What some may not realize is the toll it can take on extended family relations, especially at the beginning.
While you and your household may have found your hearts in tilled soil and young livestock, extended family may feel suddenly shunted to the side. In deeply rural areas, farm-sitting help may not always be available for hire or trade. That means family-centered holidays and family reunions may take a back seat.
For those ignorant of the seven-day-a-week, 24 hour a day nature of livestock farming, this is hard to swallow. Guilt and recriminations take a heavy toll on already burdened new farming families. As difficult as this may be, there are a few ways to soften the blow when you have to skip that family gathering.
If you are one of the lucky rural families with decent access to the internet, take advantage of video streaming and texting. Time may not allow nightly chat sessions during peak seasons, but whenever possible, put the kids in touch with grandparents and let them share their day. Send photos by the digital wheelbarrowful.
If the home internet is unreliable, see if there’s a library within a reasonable distance and use their services liberally. Contact with distant loved ones is fast becoming another reason those facilities exist.
Do it the old-fashioned way
If the library is too long a hike and your home net is sketchy, spike some enthusiasm for handwritten letters and hand-drawn pictures. The Post Office still operates in rural zones. Load up on stamps, paper, and art supplies.
Be patient with the uninitiated and help them to understand what you have undertaken and its importance in our society. Animals that go unmilked become ill and crops cannot be left to rot in the ground. Beyond pictures and chat sessions, offer a direct discussion of solutions. Maybe your loved ones would consider your farm and its daily work a vacation of sorts. Even raking leaves can seem fun if it isn’t a part of regular chores. Is it possible the family reunion could stand a change of location? Brainstorm ways of accommodating a crowd. You never know, you may accidentally spark interest in another branch of the family.
Starting a legacy is never easy and new lovers of the land and livestock need understanding and a sense of connectedness. Fighting to hold onto family and community ties is a worthwhile endeavor that can facilitate long-term familial interest in your farm. For help and support, be sure and contact us.