BeetlemaniaJan 01, 2022 09:00PM ● By David Nowacoski
There are lots of reasons to support your local farms. Food security, community resilience, role models for work ethic, great food...lots of reasons.
Let’s talk about Reason #57: farmers tell the best stories. Sure, fresh yellow tomatoes are the bomb. But you eat them and they are gone. Ah, but a good story—that can be served up at any campfire over and over again.
I think it comes naturally to farmers. They are always out doing stuff. In a barn, chasing some animal in a field, pulling something through the mud. That is right where stories are born. And then they get better. See, the farmer also spends a fair amount of time doing something repetitive, like mowing a field or feeding all 5,000 chickens. This gives him time to mull that infant story over until it gracefully ages into a ripe old tale.
Don’t believe me. Go ask a farmer if he has any good stories from his years on the farm. Then pull up a chair.
I got a proper introduction to this process in a rather personal way. I was something-teen years old and working at the farm down the road. It was middle of winter, a cold winter, and the silo unloader was froze up. The cows didn’t care about any of this. They just wanted to get fed, and it was my job to do the feeding. I climbed up the silo chute and into the silo. Sure enough, there was a ring of frozen silage about a foot thick all around the concrete of the silo. But the silage in the middle was still fine, and I could shovel it down the chute until I had enough to feed all the animals. Which I did, and finished up chores uneventfully. By the time I walked back home I had started to itch something awful. I just figured that I must have been allergic to something I was standing in.
This next part is one of those memories that you can not only visualize, but you can actually feel as you relive it. I was standing at the kitchen sink telling my mom about how itchy my legs were. I bent down to roll up my jeans to see if I had a rash or anything.
And a beetle dropped out of my pant leg...almost in slow motion.
My brain, which had apparently been keeping the truth from me in order to stave off panic, finally relented and revealed to me that I was not “itchy.” What I was feeling was actually a whole lot of beetles in my pants. If there was an Olympic event for speed stripping, down to buck naked, in your kitchen, in front of your mum, I would be a sure gold medal winner. I left a trail of clothes and beetles all the way to the shower.
Oh, sure, we can all laugh about it today—after a few decades of therapy.
See, you can’t get stories like that from just anywhere. Keep stories alive: Support a farmer.