The Kangaroos Aren’t Hungry

It only took the once.  She asked in a kind, up-sell voice if we wanted the kangaroo food for a dollar.  Having three kids, avoiding the “let’s all share” lesson, we quickly grabbed three bags.  We saw the alligators (from America) the CUTE Koalas, the perky little Tasmanian devil and (at last) the petting kangaroo area.  Pre-paid food in hand, we dashed over to delight and woo the ever-cuddly kangaroos.  You could see it in their eyes before we arrived.  They were full.  Not interested.  Seen it.  Been there.  Done with it.  You’re just another crazy kid with puffed rice, so scram.  Graciously we pet the two kangaroos who couldn’t be bothered to move, no doubt from food coma (the otheres were in the kangaroo rest zone off limits to visitors), and moved on to the hundred year old tortoise.  I have been to the Central Coast Reptile Park before. Before the pre-pre-paid kangaroo food and the kangaroos were EVERYWHERE.  They loved us.  It was my favorite part of the park.  And so now I know, that magic time is over.  Cancelled by the grabbing of an extra buck on entrance.  So when Kyralee asks you at the entrance of the animal park if you’d “loyk to boy sam kangarow food?” … keep your money because they won’t be eating.  I’m sure this generalizes to all animal parks and customer feeding schemes.

Why are you throwing your life away!?

It wasn’t said literally, but that was the facial expression. As I visited friends and family with many questions, the reactions seem to fall in three buckets. Those that are excited, those that believe we’re doomed for failure and those still struggling with the whole farmer thing as we appear to know nothing at all about the subject and they know more. I found myself repeating the phrase, “yes, I know … I know nothing about farming” and “I know, we’re crazy, but …” But really, what does it matter? There were also those who advised me to reread Charlotte’s Web. Now had I said that I’ve landed a job at a high tech company in Toulouse, the pay isn’t great, but the job looks fun. Those faces would have been supportive. Congratulatory. Excited that we landed so well after the big uproot. But then what would’ve been my adventure? A kiss good-bye to the family, an hour commute on the road one-way, meetings, valuable time spent arguing about nothing, moral events. Yes, I’m knocking the rat race. I like living life on the edge. I spent much of my life in the arts and almost equivalent time in high-tech start-ups which both satisfy that risky way of work. Nobody knows us, we are going to conquer the world, we have no money, but we’re going to make it big. What have we got to lose? Nothing if you’re in the arts. Quite a bit if you’re in a high-tech start-up. I see farming as the perfect blend of risky without a huge loss. A girl’s gotta eat don’t she? I need to buy a house. I need to eat. After that, what’s left? Some clothes I suppose. School is free and great. Healthcare is virtually free and great. Now I need to work on being a great (or okay) parent. I need to play with my children. I need to teach them to be considerate of others, to solve problems on their own, to drive themselves to accomplish what they want to be. The great appeal of this venture is that we can work at home with our children. At their age, they will LOVE the responsibility. I have to choose who gets to help with the dishes. The children absolutely thrive on adding value to the family. Sure the cynics will scoff at this as a phase or “wait ‘til they’re ten”  … yadda yadda yadda. For the time being, they will love a role. They will love to own something. The thing that stood out most of all with my visit to my old digs was after the big look and the crazyness of me farming was out in the air and off the table, almost every single person reflected on some farming or farming-like experience they had in their life. It may have been tough or fun or maybe an interesting point in their life, but they shared it with me. I listened excitedly and attentively. How sweet is it that one can look back on their life and fondly reminisce the time they kept chickens? How cute the chickens were, but turned out chickens weren’t for them or more commonly, “what a great time that was.” What are people sharing now? That they watched every episode of Lost and it was great? That they finally got that home movie room completed? What part of the soul does this satisfy? What part of the community did this affect? Most of this type of stuff will be replaced by the newest, greatest home entertainment and hip-cool episode with the new Johnny Depp (he is hot, though!). I suppose what I discovered after leaving the dream was that what I’m intending to do strikes a chord with people. People who’ve never farmed a day in their life vehemently clarifying how absolutely hard this way of life is. You will never, EVER be able to leave! It’s ALL OVER FOR YOU if you choose this way of life. And here I sit, a prisoner in my house as my youngest takes her daily nap, which occurs everyday at the same time each day, everyday. And it’s not so bad. I get time to read. Time to write. Time to clean up and think. Seeing as I’ve never farmed before in my entire life, I have no idea. Maybe I’ll be a prisoner to the animals. Maybe I’ll never get to leave. Somehow, I doubt it or at the very least, I question it. I’ll never know unless I try. Then I too will have my stories that I reflect on fondly as my friend shares with me this crazy idea about quitting it all and starting a small farm. Oh maw gaw, I’ll say, I did that for a spell and it was the best time of my life …