Am I Ready to Be a Farmer?

So when work gets boring, or difficult, or long, or soul-sucking, we start to talk about quitting everything and starting a farm. This often happens in the winter, when the memories of summer gardening are rosy, and the time spent indoors in the darkness of the short days feels endless. When we moved in late 2009 we looked at some places with much bigger lots, and considered a small farm, but in the end a nice neighborhood in walking distance to schools and a lovely downtown won out.

We did end up with half an acre, which is far more land than most lots in Newburyport, and we've filled it almost to its farthest edges with orchard, garden, and chickens. We've managed to keep up our end of the "no buying veggies" challenge for about six months now, and haven't bought eggs for the last two months. With any luck in the berry beds and orchard next year, we could scratch all fruit (save citrus and avocados, which we really would be sad to do without) from the shopping list as well.

So it's not a total pipe dream to get off the grid and out of the rat race in favor of a whole lotta fresh air and physical labor, is it?

Enter The Beginning Farmer Quiz: Do You Have What It Takes? Kirk found it at beginningfarmers.org, a site with lots of great information about the business side of starting a farm, links to land resources, etc.

But the best part, as is true with any magazine, is the quiz. This is a 25-question personality inventory, asking you to rate yourself from 1 ("definitely not") to 5 ("absolutely") on a bunch of traits. For example:


OK, so I chose a section here that I gave myself all 5s in. There were other sections, though: 


So on these I gave myself a 2, 3, and 1. Uh-oh.

Overall, I scored a 94; Kirk got a 91. Birds of a feather. Are we ready? Here's what the quiz has to say about it:


Gotta say, the phrase "modest scale" stings a little, but the rest of this is pretty much spot-on about what we are doing right now. And that is a good fit. Looks like we're on the right path. Thanks, life-validating internet quiz!

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