“Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: “Love. They must do it for love.” Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.”
― Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: Writings on Farming and Food
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Once a week Elisa and I have a big night in the city. She has a chorus practice, and while I wait in the back of the classroom, I work. After a couple of weeks one of the other parents asked very nicely what I do, and when I said, “farm,” he smiled and gave a knowing look to another volunteer as if it had been one of the options they had tossed around. Most parents don’t stay but there are a few of us that do for whatever reason. Mine is time. One of the other regulars had been a music teacher and I can tell she is just itching to be in there. A parent sitting in the back with me today took out a sketch book and drew super heroes. We are up on the third floor in a large room with massive windows on two sides. The stone building sits alone on a knoll circled by smooth lawn, and is somewhat aloof. The view can be a distraction. The kids practiced two or three songs in the time it took the sun to make its slow, dramatic descent. At the end, I follow them down the carpeted staircase, past the headless plaster Nike, Winged Victory, while the kids “chatter like the angels” (sorry! that is the title of one of their songs and the words do get stuck in my head). A couple of kids have asked me, “why?” pointing to Victory and I can see them thinking “vandalism?” Through the heavy wooden doors, it is dark outside, except it isn’t really ever dark in a city, is it?
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Tonight we stopped for dinner afterwards at our favorite Indian restaurant. Photo of me by Elisa. Then it was back into the car with multiple stops before we headed home to our hill. We needed cockatiel food, a bottle of shampoo, and a fill-up at the gas station.