A Farmer’s Hobbies

I’m not sure farmers have hobbies. My Uncle Kenny up in North Dakota pretty much works all the time. When he needs a break from feeding cattle, he drives a tractor for 8 hours. When he needs a break from driving tractor, he heads for the machine shed and fixes something. If my uncle has a hobby, something he enjoys doing when not working, it’s sleeping.

We have some farming friends whose ‘hobby’ is to spend a week on the beach in Mexico every January. They don’t do exotic things like para-sailing or snorkeling, but just lay on the beach, eyes closed, grateful they are not moving.

Melissa and I used to go camping, and had all the latest gear. But once we started farming and spent so much time outside, camping lost its appeal. Almost all outdoor activities did. Even now, when there’s fresh snow and our snowshoes are calling our names from the shed, we look at each other and shrug. “Go outside again? We were just out there doing chores.”

Melissa does have a hobby of sorts. She and her brother Mark go grouse hunting every fall. Basically this amounts to walking for miles and miles through beautiful woods, perhaps seeing four grouse, and missing all four. When one of them does manage to get off a shot and hit something, the other must act as the hunting dog, crashing through the brush looking for the downed bird. It’s hard work, and both Melissa and Mark have this standard refrain: “We need a hunting dog!”

Melissa’s birthday is coming up (it’s a big one, and it’s not 40!) and I was desperately trying to come up with a really great present since she gave me something small and sparkly for my 50th last year.

Then it came to me: a hunting dog.

I casually mentioned this, and within hours she had the breed picked out, and had contacted six breeders. Lordy, what had I done?

Long story short, meet Molly. She’s a wirehaired pointing griffon, and we picked her up when she was seven weeks old. She’s now eight weeks old.

Yes, she’s just as adorable as she looks. She’s also feisty, sweet, easily entertained, and has tiny sharp teeth.

The last thing we need out here on this farm is another animal, but it’s weird. Once you get used to taking care of so many animals, one more doesn’t seem that big of a deal. Of course this one still pees in the house, but she’s getting the hang of it.

The puppy has totally interrupted my writing time, but unlike when we started the farm and it took me years to figure out the farm had affected my ability to write, this time I know! New schedule out here on Rising Moon Farm: I help with the puppy in the morning (feed, take outside, play, etc), then in the afternoon I head for the nearest coffeehouse, buy myself a warm drink, and write. It’s amazing how much I can get done without a puppy chewing on my ankle.

8 thoughts on “

  1. These are adorable pictures!!!

    Don’t you have to suffer for art? And wouldn’t a puppy nipping your ankles be better than just about any alternative??


    Kathy & Carolyn

  2. What an adorable baby! Oh please keep updating as she grows. I love dogs, and puppies! But I don’t have the time, energy, space, or finances to undertake a new dog now. But I can enjoy Molly vicariously.

  3. Molly is enjoying the farm. She thinks it’s great to clean off the bottoms of our boots. Mmmmmm

    Java, you are so right about having energy for a puppy. They’re exhausting! Good thing they’re so cute…

  4. Zan Asha,

    Thanks, it is a great life. It helps to be reminded of that now and then because I might, on rare occasion, feel just a teeny tiny bit sorry for myself when I’m out in the middle of snowstorm feeding the sheep, or slipping in the mud feeding the ducks, or listening to friends describe their most recent vacation.

    If I’m not careful, self pity could become my closest friend!

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