One of the projects we’re working on is ways to bring more people to our farm. A lot of folks want to see what we’re doing, and we’ve been contemplating open farm days, and possible ideas for classes we might teach. Well, while Eric and I were discussing it the other night, we came up with the idea of the “realistic farm tour” that gives people a real sense of what actually goes on on a farm – we could market ourselves a unlike all those other agritourism ventures that sell the dream – we sell the reality! Here are some of the activities we are sure people would pay us to do!
“Explore the aggressive weed garden” – learn hands on the biological principles that underly the ability of weeds to outcompete most annual vegetables on disturbed (ie, farmed) soils. Our “weed walk” will introduce you to the major pests of our region, their uses and the curse words used to describe them. Annual vegetables, looking pale in sickly amongst the weeds will give you an actual, hands-on chance to try out your weeding skills – plenty of time is allotted to this workshop to give you a real sense of the experience. Bonus activity: Count seeds on thistles and lambsquarters, and calculate next year’s weed load that you have failed to prevent.
“Goat Behavior Workshop” Learn more about the inner workings of these beautiful dairy animals, and why they act as they do – and the curse words at times used to describe them, their behavior and their antecedents. Watch a five year old goat doe reduce two adults in their late 30s and 40s to hysteria, by refusing to come into the pasture. Watch a doe put her foot in the milk pail for the third time that morning. See goats locate fence weaknesses with 100% accuracy in seconds. See goats reject perfectly good hay that some other goat breathed near. Enjoy being rubbed against by a buck in rut.
“Agrarian parenting: Mothering and Fathering on a Working Farm”: Experienced parents show you how to balance work and family. Watch Sharon attempt to scythe while being interrupted every 3 minutes to yell “I don’t care which one of you found more salamanders – just stop bickering and put them back in the creek!”. Watch Eric attempt to repair barn door with 9 and 7 year old “helpers” who think sledgehammers are awesome! Watch two 30 and 40somethings reduced to hysteria by a five year old human who definitely put his shoes somewhere…in the 6 acre field. Learn new curse words to apply to yourself and your antecedents when you finally break down and threaten to dismember your 7 year old’s stuffed platypus if he doesn’t get it out of your face while you are planting onions and he bursts into tears.
“Goat Sex 101, 102, and 201″ This workshop, hosted by Simon 9, Isaiah, 7, and Asher 5, will cover all the salient aspects of goat reproduction and anatomy. Especially suitable for young children whose parents haven’t gotten around to explaining the facts of life to them yet, and would love to have it done by other people’s children. No new curse words will be taught in this lecture.
“Time Management for the Busy Farmer” – The key to successful time management when you are farming, working and raising kids is simple – accept that you are always going to be behind, then lurch from things that you should have done last week to things you should have done two months ago to the present crisis, and on to the next one. Also remember to work hard on expanding your “Things I will do when pigs fly” list – the more normal stuff other people do you can put on that list, the happier you’ll be. The second workshop in this cycle “Learning to love sleep deprivation” will be available on request.
“Pick a buttload of little tiny things.” You’ve always dreamed of being a farmer, right. Now you can enjoy the real experience – picking a whole lot of little annoying things for 9 hours in the sun. No matter what the season from early spring (dandelion blossoms for wine) to late spring (chamomile blossoms) to high summer (currants) to late summer (beans) to autumn (every last damned cherry tomato), there is always something small that needs to be picked, and picked some more. Learn new curse words to describe the idiot who planted these things and thought it would be a great idea to sell them! Bonus activity – wash an endless number of eggs that birds pooped on!
“Agrarian Housekeeping:Domesticity for the busy Farmer” Get a tour of a real farmhouse! Learn why we say “it isn’t just a home, it is an ecosystem!” Count the cobwebs in the corners. Find out what that the possible candidates for making that weird smell are, and how to (mostly) remove it. Learn how many legos can fit in a set of couch cushions when Mom and Dad are busy and have never actually thought to explicitly forbid filling the couch with legos. Explore the bottom “compost layer” of the perpetual laundry pile, and to begin every recipe with “first, wash the following dishes you will need…”
“How Not to Make Money: A Workshop”: Get yourself a farm, baby! This workshop will teach you all the ways to lose money in agriculture, including “Acts of God, nature and climate” and “Stupid shit you did to yourself.” This is a long workshop, so bring a lunch and pee first.
I assume people will be flocking in!