Agrarian Harvest

Wholesome, Organic, Experience. Our small farm, food, and simple life.



Vacation, Farmer-cation or Field Trip?

We took a vacation to the Oregon Coast. Or maybe it wasn’t really a vacation. According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, a vacation is freedom from any activity or a period of rest and freedom from work and study. The kids have informed us it was not a vacation because they had to walk the beach everyday which is work. Our farm boy wanted a simple machine to make the work easier, he got tired of walking in the sand.  Our oldest informed him that it would take more than one simple machine so it would actually be a compound machine. And they had to study. We were reading and learning about all the new marine life we saw, glass blowing, and Oregon’s history. “Do schoolwork? We are suppose to be on vacation,” they said. Then we had to go to a farmers’ market to see all the produce they had available and to support fellow farmers. The kids really complained at this point because we are at farmers’ markets two days of every week of the growing season at home. So it may not of been a vacation if you want to get technical, maybe it was a farmer-cation for the farmer and myself and a field trip for the kids.

Whatever it was, we had a great time exploring the Oregon Coast, seeing sea lions, learning about glass floats, exploring tide-pools and whale watching. We were even lucky enough to meet a wonderful couple who supports Organic farming that told us how to spot whales. We enjoyed our little visit with them. It was one of the highlights of our trip.  Overall, all the sights and sounds were amazing.

Now we have to adjust to being home and getting back into a routine again. A major adjustment for me is getting used to hearing the dog bark at night. I got used to hearing the ocean waves all night and now I have to listen to our Great Pyrenees dog bark all night long. A trait of the Great Pyrenes breed that I have never enjoyed. His bark is great for warding off predators, but makes it  hard to get a good nights sleep. . . .  I wonder if I could get a dog who’s bark sounds like the ocean. . . . . Then there is also the change of scenery. It is awfully nice waking up and seeing the ocean. The view was always breathtaking on the coast.

The farmer and I enjoyed our trip so much that we are wondering if it would be possible for us to spend our winters on the coast. Or what about farming by the coast? We always like to think outside the box and of all the possibilities. And the kids have decided that if this was a field trip, then we need to go on field trips more often!



We had our first family vacation away from the farm this summer. We went camping this past week. I know some people don’t think camping is a vacation, but for broke farmers it’s a chance to get away from the farm and that is most likely the only “vacation” they will take. For the family member that has to do the packing, unpacking, and clean up it doesn’t feel like a vacation, but there are perks to camping.


One of my favorite things about camping is the breakfast. It’s always the best tasting breakfast and a bigger breakfast than we normally eat – bacon, eggs, spuds & onions, sometimes toast, or pancakes. All cooked over the fire with coffee boiled in a pot with loose grounds, what we call sheep herder coffee.  Nothing compares to how good the food taste in the mountains cooked over a fire.

This leads to my next favorite thing about camping; I don’t do the cooking! Years ago the other half and I made a deal that he had to do all the cooking while we’re camping. That way I can consider camping a vacation – getting away from home, relaxing, having fun, and being taken care of. If I do  the cooking at home, then the other half does the cooking at camp over a campfire. Cooking over a campfire is not my specialty anyway, I’d much rather prefer to use a stove. It’s already way more work for me to go camping than it is to stay home. There is all the packing and prep to get ready . . . . . .  packing  clothes, bedding, tent, and then there’s all the food. Since we live as cheap as possible and homestead like there is no store-bought-canned food to pack. This means I have to spend a full day cooking just to get ready to go so I do the cooking to go, but don’t have to cook while are there. This involves making homemade snack foods like granola bars, caramel corn, muffins, chili, stew, salads, fried chicken, and baked potatoes. I also pack fresh fruits and veggies from the farm, bacon, steak, hamburger,and our indulgence – hot dogs.


Sometimes I wonder if the only reason the  other half agrees to get away from the farm is because he sees it as a necessity, a working trip. We don’t just sit, read or enj20150812_102056oy hiking. We cut and load the horse trailer with firewood. Yes, another task that has to be done in the summer and fall because that’s how we heat our house in the winter, with a wood burning stove.

Once we are done loading wood and are dog tired, I make the family hike to the top of the mountain in search of every high mountain lake we can find.  I have an obsession with high mountain lakes. I would love to hike to as many high mountain lakes as possible i20150811_121816n my lifetime. High mountain lakes are such majestic, breath-taking works of art with the only way to view them is to hike into them by foot or horse. There is nothing like a strenuous hi
ke to make a vacation enjoyable, seriously. Even if you have to leave the other half and kids at the lower lake and hike up an over the mountain to the third lake by yourself. You truly feel like a champion when reach the saddle! There is also nothing like standing on top of a saddle, looking at all the peaks in view being eye level and feeling like you’re on top of the
world. And we might just be for just a short period of time.


So, yes, we call camping a vacation. We work, we hike, we sit around the fire and read and, most importantly, we have fun. We may create more work for ourselves by making our vacation a working trip and then more work to unload the trailer of wood when we get home, but I don’t thi20150811_140325nk we would know what to do or how to behave on a real vacation

Now to get caught up on the farm work! There is lots of produce to harvest and a ton of very large overgrown zucchini to deal with.

Summer Balancing Act

How does a person balance work, play and rest when you farm? On the farm there is always work to be done. A farmer works from sun up to sun down and lots of times in between in the dark. I know that is true on our farm. We are getting pretty talented at working in the dark while holding flashlights in our mouths.

So the fourth of July is upon us, the summer is flying by and what have we done all summer long? Any guesses? You got it! We have worked, worked, worked!!! I am convinced that life is too short to work so hard and summer is for fun. So I’m trying to convince the Other Half that we need scheduled hours for work and scheduled hours for play and rest. The crops will grow even if there are weeds growing among them. Would they have produced better if we pulled every weed within a foot diameter around every plant? At this point, I don’t care. They are producing, there is a crop to harvest, now let’s enjoy life! Life, fun and memories will pass us by if we insist on getting all the work done before we take a break. Farmers need to observe holidays too. In fact, farmers should have a holiday just for them. They, of all people, deserve a break. Yes, I do think highly of farmers. We grew up in agricultural communities and on farms so we have experienced the “farm life” all of our  lives. Farmers work almost everyday of the year no matter what the weather does; there is always water to change or animals to feed or care for. Farmers work, work darn hard, and feed a lot of people without ever hearing a simple, “Thank You.”. No, your food didn’t grow on a grocery store shelf, it all started on the farm. Well, at least all the food that is not in a box started on a farm. To all the farmers out there, listen up, take a day off. It’s okay! Oh, but you may still need to irrigate and feed the animals unless you can get someone else to fill in for you.

We are starting by taking a couple of hours a week to take the kids fishing at a local lake. Maybe we or should I say the Other Half  and a lot of other farmers I know can work up to taking whole days off as a family. As for this weekend, I’m ready to have some fun and enjoy these wonderful summer days. I’m taking the weekend off and I’m positive the farm and weeds will still be here when I get up Monday morning. Happy Independence Day! And don’t let the summer pass you by!

Update: We were able to enjoy a day of fun, local festivities together as a family.  Not a full day off from most people’s  opinion because there was irrigation water to change and animals to feed so just a little bit of work. Or as a farmer views it, this part of farming is not work, it’s just a normal function of everyday life like breathing and feeding yourself breakfast. So we officially called this a “day off.” And the weeds are still here! We will get to work on those today.

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