Thanksgiving: 8 Reasons to Give Thanks in a Year of Farming

You're probably thankful that as a hobby farmer you can lead the life you want, but what are some of the small things that warrant gratitude?

by J. Keeler Johnson
PHOTO: Daniel Johnson

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! If you’re a hobby farmer, you know you have a lot to be thankful for—first and foremost, having a farm and being able to pursue the life you want. That’s one of the big things. But sometimes it’s fun to focus on the little things for which we’re thankful year over year.

With this in mind, I’ve reflected on the farming year and compiled a list of things that I’m thankful for. Some are practical, while some are a bit amusing. Regardless, I hope they’ll spark your thinking through your own year and everything that deserves thanks in your life.

Here are the things for which I’m thankful during the past year:

1. The Weather

Although it was rainier than usual throughout the year, it was sufficiently dry for a few weeks during the summer to get all of our hay baled early with a minimum of stress or difficulty. There was even time to get in a second cutting.

2. My Trusty Red Wagon

My red wagon survived another year of hauling anything and everything around the farm. It’s getting up there in years, and I had to rebuild one side last year, but it’s still kicking (er, rolling) and just did a great job transporting compost for new garden beds.

3. My Orchard Fences

I constructed these fences to guard my new apple and plum trees from hungry deer, and they have done their job so far, keeping the young trees safe from harm despite the astonishing number of deer in my area. Fingers crossed that the fences prove just as effective over the winter.

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4. My 35-Gallon Leg Tank

I purchased this 35-gallon leg tank to water my young fruit trees, and it worked better than I ever could have imagined. It dramatically simplified the process of keeping the trees hydrated.

5. Old Tools I Didn’t Buy

I resisted the urge to bring home a bunch of old tools that I saw while shopping at a fun three-story emporium. There were many different kinds, and they all had a great “patina” (a fancy way of saying they had that rusty, faded look so typical of old, well-used tools), but while they were fun to look at, I really didn’t need them.

6. Snap Ring Pliers

I realized before wasting too much time that I needed a tool called “snap ring pliers” to remove the snap ring that keeps the front wheels of my lawn mower in place. Suffice it to say, having the proper tool made the job a whole lot simpler.

7. Noise Reduction Ear Muffs

Noise reduction ear muffs exist! What would we do without them? Even a lawn tractor can be unpleasantly loud to use for long periods of time, so hearing protection is a must.

8. Pruning Loppers

I managed to remove several tree stumps from the ground using nothing but pruning loppers and my own strength. My system worked perfectly, didn’t leave behind a hole, and it left the ground in perfect condition for mowing. The fact that I practically pulled a tree stump out of the ground with my bare hands was quite satisfying.

What about your farm life are you thankful for this year?

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