The Simple Life

It is currently 8°F with a roughly 20 MPH wind blowing outside. I don’t know the equation, but with the windchill, it is beyond “freaking freezing” outside.

And as I was hauling water buckets from the bottom of the barn up the narrow 300-year-old stairs, into the chicken coop where my rooster has frostbite, and into the sheep stall where the sheep are all huddled into the hay, I thought, “Paris Hilton has nothing on this.”

I don’t know who decided “the simple life,” was that of a farmer. Whoever coined that term has never had to assist a sheep in giving birth to a lamb. They have never had to dig a hundred three-foot holes in the middle of the summer with an electric, bone-rattling auger. They have never had to send an animal they took care of to slaughter. They’ve never had to troubleshoot fencing with a particularly clever sheep. They have never had to resuscitate an animal from hypothermic conditions. They’ve never had to deal with medicine and wormer dosages. And on. And on.

I mean, life itself is not simple. So, whoever used the phrase “simple life,” city-dweller, suburban house-wife, or farmer, was idealizing and romanticizing life in an agricultural setting.  Especially in Maine.

I do find a sense of peace and comfort in sitting in the pasture in September, photographing my lazy sheep in my bare feet.

But… that scene occurs maybe three times a year. The rest of the time, we’re rolling hundreds-of-pounds haybales into the barn, fixing the constantly broken fence, hauling water buckets in freezing conditions, trying to time out the births of lambs, and wondering how to treat a frost-bitten chicken. Among myriad other dilemmas. I don’t really think it’s that simple, personally.

It’s actually pretty time-intensive and complicated. So is every other walk of life, but I’m just pointing out…

…Farming isn’t really that simple.

And I should go brave the cold again to take photos, but I am not going to.


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