By Hannah Becker, Willow Springs Farm
A Day in My Life I get up early—6 a.m.— and go for a quick run. I also print off lecture handouts and skim Wall Street Journal over breakfast (the digital version—it takes days to get the printed version delivered out here). Then I don a suit (but don’t bother with makeup) and pack my satchel with the days’ necessities.
My university classes start at 8 a.m. As a student, I wasn’t all that fond of early morning classes, and I can certainly sympathize with the glazed, “don’t call on me” looks my students’ project at the podium. After class, I skedaddle out to faculty parking and crank up my 20+-year-old pickup truck (it’s the only one in the lot with a hay spear and mud flaps).
I shift gears from business professor to marketing consultant and spend the next few hours pounding out social media strategy for a client. I work through lunch and start client calls at 1 p.m. The beginning of the year is big in my business, so I’m hoping to land three more retainer clients. Maybe then I can start putting a “dent” in my student loans and building a savings nest egg.
At 3:30 p.m I swap the business suit for Carharts and cowboy boots. Hooking up my peeling stock trailer, I drive out to a rural farming community west of Bushong, Kansas, a Depression-era ghost town with a Cold War missile silo perched above the desolate remnants of the town. It’s a fascinating and eerie place—oh, if only these Flint Hills could talk….
Pulling up to a quaint homestead, I pick out a couple heritage breed piglets and get them situated on a soft straw bed in the trailer. This will be their first drive—they look a little nervous. After a few minutes, they lay down, cuddled up together like puppies. It’s hard not to smile when looking at such an adorable sounder of swine.
The piglets and I make it back to civilization before sunset. They squeal a little when placed in their new home, a straw-bedded horse stall with grassy paddock access through a little “piggie-door.” I’m sure they will get used to it soon. Next, I fix a busted electric fence, courtesy of our local deer, then I set out hay for the big animals, check water troughs, and a number of other farm chores that habitually mark the end of yet another day.
Noting the time, I turn off my generator (currently the only power source on my farm), kill the lights, and head back into town. It’s a good thing I keep a stash of clean shirts in the back seat of my truck. Feeling a little more like Old McDonald than Superman, I make yet another on-the-go wardrobe change in honor of the evening board meeting with my county’s Farm Bureau Association. Taking my place among fellow committee chairs, I review the meeting agenda then look down at my mud-caked boots and think, “It’s a good thing this is a room full of farmers.”
The board meeting lasts until 8:15 p.m. We discuss 2016 goals, in-school ag programs, the county fair agenda, and my latest project, a county farm blog designed to connect non-agriculture residents with area agriculture professionals. As a young professional, I quickly recognized the importance of philanthropic involvement and giving back to one’s community … even if it does take time at the end of a very long day.
I make it home around 9 p.m. I put on a pot of tea and work on a PR project for one of my small business clients. My husband’s self-employed as well, so he’s super understanding of the “never-ending” days of the entrepreneur. We set-up temporary office space around our kitchen table, and he invoices clients while I craft a press release. We relay the events of the day, chat about our new farm arrivals, and make sure our calendars sync for rest of the week.
Before bed, we venture out to the farm to check on our little piggies one last time. They are sleeping soundly in the barn, having nibbled on the winter squash and greens that garnished their feed. One wiggles and the other lets out a sleepy snort.
And I am reminded why we farm.