I have found it a very common theme that farmers or those involved in agriculture have a reach that goes much beyond their own acres of land. Maybe it’s because we are traditionally from smaller communities that have been built with volunteers, or maybe it’s because we have needed help at some point too and have always had a network to reach out to just over the fence row. Or maybe it’s because we are bored…oh wait…nope…scratch that…it’s definitely not the reason. I have yet to meet a bored farmer!
I don’t often talk about my life outside of farming and family on here. And probably a lot of it has to do with the fact that I never think of it as interesting or worth blogging about, because it’s just what I have always done and what has always been the norm for my life. I grew up in a family that volunteered and gave their time where it was needed, and it’s something that runs as deep in my blood as the soil that I farm. I, like many other farmers, volunteer as a firefighter and EMT in our community. I also sit on many boards, mostly agriculturally involved. I give a lot of time to these efforts of making things better for my fellow farmers, making things safer for my neighbors and overall helping where needed in the community.
This is a photo from the Woodburn High School Fire back in 2012, when I was still “Kirsch”
So all that being said, as many of you know I am expecting our third little baby this coming spring. I actually headed up to the fire department just last night to have department photos taken and looked like this in my uniform shirt. Which was hilarious but also made me a little sad.
A few months back I had to make a number of phone calls that I truly didn’t want to make, conversations about me stepping down, stepping back, and in some cases leaving all together. Off boards with friends who have become family, folks who I have sat next to over years, in some cases over 10 years, at the local fire station, farm bureau board room or even coffee shop. These meetings were more than just meetings, it’s where I learned some of the most valuable lessons of not only about how to be a good fireman, EMT or farmer; but a friend, a good colleague, and a solid person.
At a Marion County Farm Bureau Meeting, showing that “I Farm I Vote”
So last night when I tried (and really I did try) to button up that uniform shirt for what might be the last time in a long time, it was very bittersweet. It was a blatant sign that I had made a choice, it was a sign that having it all doesn’t always mean you have it “all” and that decisions no matter how tough, have to be made. I know I have made the right choice in moving back from my involvement, but it doesn’t make it any easier to say “see you later” to the folks who have made life here in this small town, and within the farming industry, so amazing. I have no doubt that I’ll be back, remember it’s in my blood…and for now farming and having three kids under 4 (which yes I realize is still a lot) will take my time and focus.
I often have people ask me how I do it “all” and I often don’t really know what to say. But I think now I’ll say that having it “all” doesn’t mean that you get to have everything you want right now. It means to me that I have to be realistic and make choices that make what I can handle in the “now” all the more worth it. Moving forward with life is not a choice, time will keep passing, but it does mean we get to make choices in the direction we head. So for now, I’m heading back to the boys who are calling “mommy” (all the time!) and back to the fields to look for slugs. For now that’s where my “all” is, and for now that’s all I need.