What Backpacking and Farming Have in Common

Before I could even tie my own boots, I backpacked. Granted, I WAS the backpack (my dad would carry me up and down trails inside a pouch on his back) but as soon as I was strong enough, I carried my own load. Some of my best memories are of curling up in a sleeping bag in a tent atop a mountain or trekking across the wilderness with bears and mountain goats visible from afar--well that one grizzly bear got too close, but that's a story for another day. We'd hike all across the country carrying everything we needed on our backs. From knee-deep snow to mosquito infested heat, we'd trudge through it all. At the end of every long hike, we'd end with a Ba-BOOM-ba! A heroic family fistbump marking the end of a long journey.

After we started the farm, we switched from backpacking to sailing. After a long week of working in the sun, would you want to hike a mountain with your tent, food, and sleeping bag strapped to your back? No. Nowadays, our sweat goes into our farm. Carrying buckets. Moving chicken shelters. And butcher days. Oh, butcher days. Those mornings of 3AM wakeup calls, followed by a delightful cardio workout of catching chickens (I find myself cursing our farm's promise to raise healthy birds while I'm running across the field after an athletic chicken.) At the end of the day, we butcher, eviscerate, and package up to 300 chickens, working for an intense 12 hours before ordering a pizza and flopping on the couch.

But at the end of it all, there's always a Ba-BOOM-ba. With all four of us working together-- backpacking, farming, you name it!--we are unstoppable. We scale mountains. We grit out the grueling work. Together. And at the end of the day, we all say...


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