Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hobbies: Happiness or Hooey?

We get a lot of agricultural mail: weekly newspapers, monthly magazines, parts catalogues, bills, etc. Today, however, we received an invitation to subscribe to Hobby Farming magazine. We even were sent cute little return address labels with fuzzy sheep, red barns, and an alpaca (or a llama. . .I don't know which one, but it has a long neck.). However cute these labels are, the premise of this magazine is funny to me, as we are not in this biz for a walk in the park.

So, it got me to thinking. . . who is?

Who are these mythical, mysterious hobby farmers, and what are their real jobs? Moreover, why would they choose such a labor intensive, costly, and frustrating hobby?

In my research on this magazine (i.e. googling Hobby Farming magazine and reading a few articles.), I am understanding hobby farmers are those who aren't investing hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment, seed, land, and/or operating loans. These folks are just hanging with their animals, probably in a small area, treating them as pets. They're gardening, probably (well, definitely) more successfully than my gardening attempts. They're enjoying the land because they are not having to pay their power bills off of it.

This realization of farming for the simple enjoyment of the land and its beasts made me look at the farmers in our gang of land lovers. Do they have a hobby? The answer is yes and no, I guess. Luckily, these guys are doing something they enjoy, so a hobby seems a little unnecessary. When one is accomplishing something during the day and enjoying what he is doing, then why would a day on the golf course be necessary? If you're spending a lovely fall day by enjoying it with your cattle in a pristine pasture, then why would you equate relaxation with something like hunting? So, I guess my farmers don't need hobbies. . .they may think that they're hooey.

However, I am a hobby girl. I love running. I love reading. I used to scrapbook. . . until I had Amelia. . .poor picture and sticker deprived child. I love shopping. I think I'd like to golf. I would like to keep up playing the piano. I guess it sounds like a do a lot of messin' around. However, activities such as these keep me sane. They keep me who I am. They keep me whole.

So, should Farmer Joe take up skeet shooting? Probably not, but I do believe that these guys, when the season is right, and the markets are up, and the stars, moon and sun are all in the correct alignment should take up something just for their own sanity and enjoyment. One that's end result doesn't affect our bottom line.

But for now, I'll just toss the magazine subscription, even though it's cheap (they understand farmers and their bank accounts!), keep the stickers for the girls, and if you receive a note from me, expect an alpaca (or llama) return address label.


  1. Great article. I am going to retweet this! I think a lot of people, including me, would share the same thoughts are you.


  2. Yeah. My hubby doesn't have a "hobby" either. Before we farmed, his hobbies were farming with his dad, and doing some home improvements. Now, his full time is farming and farm maintenance (similar to home improvements!)

    His only hobby now is watching Sportscenter and playing with our little guy. I think he'd like to do more woodworking, but he prefers to "sit" during his breaks.

  3. Just another perspective- I may totally enter my husband into this category. Perhaps 'hobby' farmers would better be addressed as 'wishful farmers'. I know that Chris dreams of having just a little bit of acreage to himself. We've done a TON of research on starting your own farm- and the truth of the matter is- it's next to impossible to just 'start' farming without having something to go off of (family land, family equipment, renting it all, etc.) It's actually kind of disheartening. I can't imagine knowing my dream was to do something that was actually financially unattainable. I always wanted to be a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader- but that was body-wise unattainable:) So I see where he's discouraged. Our family plan is to always have him work at his 'real job'- the one that can bring home money and a roof, and then, I guess they would call it, 'hobby farm'- because that's all we can really afford to do and still keep our family's heads above water. It's a lot harder than it sounds- trying to coordinate that all. Does that make sense? Just offering a different perspective on what they might mean by that:) Hobby isn't really the right word- I think 'living out your dream to the best of your ability' is a little better:)

  4. I have just begun following your blog. My husband and I (and 3 young kids) ranch in Southern Alberta, Canada. I love your insights about our way of life and it certainly reassures me that there are other your farming/ranching families like mine! Look forward to reading your stories!