Family and Farming

What’s it Like to Live on a Farm?

Though the roots of our country are based in agriculture, less than 2% of our current nation’s population lives on a farm

The Farmhouse Style is ingrained in our popular culture. When some people are discontented with city life, they want try to disengage from the world, and they consider moving to the country. Stop the world….I want to get off! 

Let’s all move the country! Back to those roots. 

How to Operate a Farm?

Since 98% of you don’t live on a farm, this blog will tell you how a small family farm works. Our farm is unlike most in Iowa. Though not organic, we do use some older farming methods, using less chemicals and more elbow grease than most. Our reasoning is we are thrifty, without deep pockets to farm big, or the interest in going into deep debt. We’ve always worked within our means, and that’s harder to do. You don’t need to use GPS or self-driving tractors if you know your fields like the back of your hand. We will give you a virtual ride on our farm machinery, allowing you insight into the work involved in raising and harvesting a crop.

There’s a reason most don’t live on a farm. It’s hard work. Farm life is a grueling gamble. There is an alone-ness you have to drive miles to overcome. But there are also moments of greenness and beauty and growth.

Farm life is also full of vistas of wide-open spaces, and quiet that you don’t hear in the cities or suburbs. This blog was created to quell the chaos we all feel. I will include photos to help you experience those things.

What Does it Cost to Farm?

Honestly, it costs and arm and a leg to be a farmer. Unless you’ve grown up in farming, stand to inherit a farm or part of one, farming may be out of reach for the average farmer-wanna-be. 

Is Farming Hard Work?

From sunup to sundown there are jobs to do on the farm. Do you know farmers live longer than most other professions

Every time we complain about having to work so hard, we remind ourselves that there are people who pay to workout! Here’s a couple links about farm workouts

Is Farming like Green Acres or More Like a Ralph Lauren Ad?

I taught art where Grant Wood, painter of American Gothic was born. I get the parodies more than most! Here’s a link to a very nice video about why American Gothic is so famous. (By the way, there is one mistake in the video, @ 2:35, Nan, the woman in the painting is not the wife, but rather portrayed as a spinster daughter.)

Is it possible to make a living on a farm? Is farm life living off the grid? Why would anyone want to work so hard?

We didn’t inherit a farm. We worked for 40 years to get where we are today. And we aren’t big. At all. Though my husband was born on a farm, there was no inheritance. I taught school to help make ends meet. There is no flashy equipment, large livestock confinements, or much time away from the farm. But, when we look out at our precious children and grandchildren, neat rows of crops, our garden bursting with vegetables, a menagerie of content farm animals, and clothes flapping on the clothesline, we have accomplished our life’s dream.

Can I Be a Farmer?

By now, you might be sad to know that you might not be able to own a financially sustainable farming operation. But you can have a piece of this life. You can garden in your backyard or back porch. Some cities allow chickens, but at the very least, you can maybe have a dog or cat and kids! You can learn how to cook like grandma did on the farm, and share some of the outlook we have about life on a farm.

About Lila’s Essays

Nancy’s mother, Lila, an accomplished writer in her ‘90’s, who won many national writing contests, will also share essays and poems about this and that. You can read more about her here.

Easy Homemade Food

You have less interest in someone else cooking your food. Well, you’ve come to the right place! I’ve had to cook almost every meal at home for four decades. After all this practice, I’ve figured out how to make meals with few tools and ingredients. Ingredients you can pronounce. Cooking methods a middle school student could master. Cheaper and quicker than you can call in a carryout order.

I’ve got a massive library of Midwestern small town/church basement potluck cookbooks

Criteria for publication on this blog is that the recipe be easy, thrifty, and can be made with ingredients you can find at a grocery store. Not ingredients only found at a specialty market or can only be found online. Ingredients your grandma used.

About Family and Farming Recipes

Michael Pollan said, “Don’t eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” Those are words we should all live by! So if you need minimal-fuss thrifty recipes with food ingredients based on a time when everyone cooked at home, take a look at this site!  Here’s a quick recipe link. 

Most vintage recipes featured on this site require only a bowl and a spoon. When I search through my vintage recipe collection, I’m looking for food, made from real ingredients, but that doesn’t mean they are organic. You can make up your own mind what the source of your ingredients will be. I use ingredients from the farm, the grocery store and our garden. I’ll just give you the recipes, and you can go from there.

Grandma’s Real Food 

These recipes are not specifically detailed for a diet or food plan. The recipes are just food. Easy food. Not filled with technique, multiple steps or fancy gadgets. Don’t expect calorie counts, fat grams or carb numbers. Nope. Not here. But, you will find that these recipes do have a certain healthy attitude. Occasionally I might include something new-fangled like Cool Whip, but I try to only feature real food.

There will be recipes from as far back as the early 1900’s. The recipes that you forgot to ask Grandma for, are illustrated by Nancy Kula, a nationally award winning high school art teacher who taught in Grant Wood Country, home to Grant Wood, painter of the most famous piece of American art, American Gothic.

Please sit at our farm table and eat Grandma’s food.

  • Real Food • Real Fast • Without Fuss

Welcome home!

P.S. I’ve included lots of links because 98% of you don’t live on a farm and you might want to find out what we use to live like we do. And nope, I don’t make any money from those links. I’m a teacher. I love to educate!