This week is my Dad’s (Bryan) week to blog but he has been away from the farm on vacation so I am subbing in. It is probably obvious to you that taking vacation as a farmer can be challenging! There are certain times of the year, like lambing or haying, when you definitely don’t want to leave. But at the times of the year when it is better to leave, the challenge is finding someone to take care of the livestock. This is not comparable to when you ask someone to come feed your cat while you are away. Even watching a dog or two is far simpler to a flock of sheep. So much can go wrong.
And really, this problem extends beyond leaving for a vacation. There are other things that will pull you away from the farm - from medical appointments to farming conferences to family reunions, it really isn’t realistic to plan to never leave. This is one of the reasons why my parents wanted to start farming with us. In their years of farming down in southern Ontario, they were on their own. When they had to leave for a few days or even wanted to have an evening out, it was hard to find people who could cover. If you ask a relative or family friend to stay at the farm, you are dealing with the challenge of them not having any farming experience. If you ask a fellow farmer, they are only going to be at the farm for chores twice a day– and this assumes you have a farmer in close enough proximity who can do this. It is quite an ask, and then quite a favour to owe!
Now that there are four of us here, we can cover for each other. This makes a vacation away from the farm possible – one couple at a time though! We now have an unofficial policy that there always must be one of us physically at the farm. In other words, there will always be someone here if you pull in the driveway. I’m not sure how the policy came about, but it has been in place basically since Brody and I moved here last summer. We all feel better knowing there is always someone here.