As this summer comes to a close, I realize this has been an amazing season of rebuilding for myself and for the farm. We have rallied back again from losing our entire flock of chickens last Spring for the fourth time. This time to a very cunning red fox. I am so proud of the work my husband, Sam, has put into building our first chicken run. We have 37 birds now starting to lay eggs and I am feeling very confident of their new safe enclosure designed and hand built by my husband. Our garden too is beginning to thrive. Even with starting late and taking an extra long vacation, which by the way produced an abundant amount of weeds, we are successfully growing cucumber, green beans, corn, watermelon, okra, and broccoli. We are certainly enjoying the fruits of our labor!
You may be wondering what a clodhopper is in the first place. Simply put, a clodhopper is a large, heavy shoe. It can be used to refer to a person who is foolish, awkward, or clumsy. Clodhopper is also another name for a homesteader, farmer, or country person. I feel that the term clodhopper suits me in three different ways. First, much of the work that we do on the farm requires heavy waterproof boots to protect us from mud, bugs, or chicken poop. Second, the process of learning how to care for my children and keep them safe and happy in spite of their severe food allergies has been a very long process. There have been many times over the years when I have felt painfully awkward in trying to live a “normal” life while changing everything I ever knew about food. Third, the homesteading way of life was not my husband and I’s original plan for our lives together. We both currently have or have had careers in information technology. Troubleshooting techsupport calls in a cubicle or tinkering with the inside of computer can seem to be a far cry from working on a tractor or planting green beans. Therefore, there are many times I feel a bit clumsy or foolish when learning new things around the farm. I will never forget the shock of losing over half our chickens in one weekend during our first year due to naively not providing secured shelter overnight. Nevertheless, heavy boots are needed for heavy work and heavy work requires commitment and perseverance. We have learned and continue to learn from our mistakes. I actually enjoy the hours I spend weeding our garden in spite of the salty sweat that runs down my face during the summer months. Real, clean food takes honest hard work. We pull on our clodhoppers each day and push through the easy times and the hard times because we know in the end the legacy we leave for our children is worth it.