Saturday, July 23, 2011

Separating the Men from the Boys

In all professions, there is a certain speak, a verbage, a set of acronyms, phrases, whathaveyou that set apart those who are in that particular field from those who aren't. From a doctor to an engineer to a coach to a teacher, heck even a truck driver, when each of these folks are in the biz, they speak the dialect.

The same goes with farming, and there are times now that I have to catch myself for becoming snobby when some one uses the "wrong" term for something "farmy." For example, this is the time of year we process steers for beef. We did this last summer, too, and every time I heard one of our satisfied customers comment on the "cow," I caught myself snickering. COW??? How's the cow? Silly, silly city-folks, this is not a cow (which is actually a female), it's a steer (which is a male), and most correctly, it's a beef that is being processed, not a cow. After ten minutes at the locker plant, this steer becomes a beef, no longer living, but now being processed for our enjoyment and nourishment.

However, why should I be snickering? Wasn't I just the one not knowing the difference a mere month or two ago?

Answer: YES!

But where does that leave me? Am I an expert now? Have I crossed over from being a young padiwon learner to a Jedi Farmer of sorts?

Answer: NO!

Although I know the difference between a cow and a steer and a beef, I still have so, so much to learn. And that's why, I'm kind of freaking out about my month of August.

As a part of the Illinois Farm Families campaign, I am helping out at a few events. One for just moms with questions about agriculture in a quiet, kid-friendly (maybe that's an oxymoron) coffee bar in Chicago, and another is at the Daley Plaza Farmer's Market, also in Chicago. Thankfully, the moms having coffee and those unsuspecting farmer's market patrons will- hopefully- not be fluent in farm-speak, but the other agricultural representatives will. GASP!!! Another moment for me of, "WHY AM I HERE?"

I'm practicing, however. I'm brushing up on my new language, and will try not to sound like a moron when asked a question. I'm also planning my outfits, so as to look like I'm not too "downstate," but not so fancy that I look like I'm trying too hard. Black pants, it is!

Anyway, my point is, any one can learn to talk the talk, it's figuring out how to talk it in a way that people understand and care about what you're saying is what is most important.

That, and what shoes to be wearing while you're talking!

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