The Last Windrow: Can you believe people pay to take a 'farm-cation?'
The business model is one that invites those who are uneducated in the way a farm works to venture out into the countryside and take up the rake and hoe.
People are now paying to do farm work. Who would have guessed it?!
Not me. I've done farm work.
In these days when urbanites outnumber rural folk, a new industry has been born. Some call it "farm-cation." The business model is one that invites those who are uneducated in the way a farm works to venture out into the countryside and take up the rake and hoe.
And, these folks actually pay for the "opportunity!"
I must have been born too soon. The farm life I knew was not really what one could call a "farm-cation." Waking up at 5 in the morning every day of the year and hitting the sack by 9 o'clock at night because your body was spent was far from a relaxing sojourn in the country.
There were no "happy hours" after work. The work was never completely done, it seemed to me.
We enjoyed seeing our relatives stop out to the farm on a Sunday evening and watch as the cows were milked and the hogs were fed and the broken gate was tacked back together.
I never once thought these folks might enjoy doing the same thing, let alone pay for the pleasure. But evidently by what I'm reading today, they would have if asked.
I really wonder if these new businesses allow their customers to actually get their hands really dirty. Do they allow them to do things like change the axle grease on a tractor wheel or dehorn cattle?
Would people pay for the pleasure of fixing a smelly manure spreader tire or climbing inside a plugged up combine?
Blood can be shed doing many of the tasks that accompany a farm life.
If one were to actually take a "farm-cation" I would advise making themselves physically fit before heading out the door. There is a reason why many farmers of my era ended up with bad backs and weak knees and worn out hips.
Today's farm group has it a bit easier with the new cushion ride tractors and automatic equipment, but the work is still there, and there is a reason that during farm machinery shows there are chiropractors and physical therapists who rent vendor booths during the shows.
They know they have clients waiting.
I once saw an opportunity created on one of our area ranches that I thought had cash producing potential. A pack of wolves had downed a calf in the middle of a pasture. The wolves were spotted dining on the calf in broad daylight.
The rancher saw no good thing about his loss of this calf and had called a federal warden to come and delete these canines. I mentioned to my rancher friend that maybe this was an opportunity in the making.
I suggested he make up a magnetic sign to plaster on his pickup saying "Timberwolf Safari! See real live timberwolves today! Just $25 a person!"
I told him that I'd bet he'd have a truckload of tourists with cameras every trip and the money he would make would far outweigh what the calf was worth.
He didn't believe me. In fact, he called me "nuts." I'm not so sure about that.
So today, if you care to, you can sign up for one of these "farm-cations." Cost is no object for the experience of a lifetime.
Catch, kill and pluck a chicken. Put a nose ring in a giant sow. Medicate a calf for scours. Stack bales of hay in the upstairs of a barn with a heat index of 120 degrees.
It's all fun, don't you know? And worth every dollar you have to spend.
I was born too soon.
See you next time. Okay?