Life on a farm requires a different skill set than most any other career or lifestyle. Even if you were raised on a farm like I was, it’s unlikely that you learned everything that you want to know as an adult. So how do you pick up those new skills? In my opinion, there is no substitute for hands on learning. YouTube and the local library are both great resources but it’s hard to learn how to properly pick up and hold a chicken without actually having a chicken in front of you 😉
Make Friends with Local Farmers
Farmers are great people. They are typically humble and happy to help anyone eager to learn. I have never encountered anyone that wasn’t willing to answer my questions. Typically I come home with a stack of books too! There is nothing better than a true “been there, done that” conversation to spare you some heartache in your endeavors. Most farmers will warn you about things that would be a waste of money and their advice comes from years of experience. Where do you find local farmers? Try stopping by your local farmer’s market (when they’re not busy if possible), contact your local agricultural office or extension service and of course, you can visit animal booths at your local county fair.
What Skills Should I Pick Up?
This is the hardest question for me. There’s so much that I want to learn that it’s hard to know where to start. It is helpful to start with a list of possibilities. If you are a fan of the David Allen Getting Things Done philosophy, the skills or knowledge you want to acquire belongs on your Someday/Maybe list. I try not to fret over this decision too much. Pick a topic that would be useful for the upcoming season or is something of high interest to you. Don’t worry – there’s always time to learn something new.
BTW – We’re starting with chickens (and pickles)
I can’t pick just one subject to research. So we’re learning everything we can about raising chickens while we anxiously await their arrival this spring. We had an earlier blog post that talked about the chickens we ordered. And why pickles you might ask? I remember canning pickles with my mom when I was a kid. And they were delicious! So when Megan and I are planning our garden for the year, I will make sure we plant some pickling cucumbers (and dill too).