Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It is Too a “Real Job”

The Engineer. He has this highfalutin, high-tech corporate sales job that often requires me to scrape the manure from under my nails and gussy myself up for a fancy dinner out. I like the dinners. Don’t get me wrong. A five-star restaurant is always a good thing in my book. I particularly like it when I’m not the one paying for it. The only part that bothers me is when the small talk attention turns to me and someone asks, “So what do YOU do?”

I used to just say, “I homeschool my son.” But now that  he has gone back to school I never quite know how to answer that. I’ve often replied, “I’m a hobby farmer.”

Generally that has been followed by a 30 second hesitation on their part as they try to process what I just said. Then there is, of course, the obligatory explanation of just what that means, “I raise sheep, alpacas, goats and llamas.”

Again, a pause while that little tidbit is digested. Then they always ask, “And what exactly do you do with them?”

Here is where the eyebrows start to inch towards the tops of their heads. When I tell them that I shear them by hand and process the wool, I can tell they are mentally filing me under the hippie weirdo category in their business card files. If not immediately then certainly once they figure out there is no real cash flow being generated yet.

So I am trying to resolve the “What do You do?” question.  Instead of “hobby farmer” I need to actually sell something to lose that “hobby” part of the title. You’ll be noticing a few changes around here. A cohesive look and feel to the old blog and facebook page, a new Etsy shop and whatnot. A general attempt at getting my act together and becoming a “real” farmer.

It is either that or answer the question with stuff I make up like, “I’m an excrement expatiation engineer.”

I wonder how long it would take them to process that?

christinesig

21 comments:

Tammy said...

Love it! I work outside at a 'real job' (such as it is), but I get the raised eyebrows allot too. Most of the people I work with/for are city folks and perhaps a tad bit snooty. What is even more painful is when they actually try to act like they are interested in the farm. "So how are the sheep doing?" Uhm...they are doing fine-....;-)
Tammy

Julie said...

"excrement expatiation engineer", gosh, I needed that laugh!

Historical Ken said...

How about "I'm a traditionalist. I live as traditional a life as I can."

Diane Cayton-Hakey said...

Pfftt... I too am married to an engineer and fortunately we have rarely had to get together with the other men and their wives... those dinners BORE ME! And to be honest, their eye brows can raise all the way back to the nape of their neck and I just don't care. Just managing a household for Hubby and I can be so much work! I tell them I am a stay at home housewife and an avid blogger and they can stick it... well... you know.

melanie said...

Farming is only a hobby when you have thousands of dollars, and can take weekends off and holidays.

You are a farmer, girl!

Karen Patrick said...

Love the new look! Luckily I can say "I'm retired" instead of having to answer that question. But usually the next question is "So what do you do all day?"

Whosyergurl said...

Christine,
Who said you aren't a real farmer? You take care of all of those animals every day. That sounds like more than a hobby to me.
Cheryl
(And...I had the same issues when I was a stay at home mom back in the day...I would bone up on tv talk shows and the news so I might have some fodder to offer other than the colour of my babies poo that day.)

Nancy K. said...

I always just said "I am a shepherd". That really freaks them out!

So you're a Fiber Farmer now? That's GOOD! The new look is cute, Cute, CUTE! Although, I liked the hominess of the old look as well.

Good luck, my Dear!

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

I love the new Title Page!

Danni said...

Ooh, I *loved* Melanie's comment!
I also think that you are worrying far too much about what other people think. You know and understand what you are doing and the value it brings. Who CARES one whit whether nine-to-fivers get it? Money neither buys happiness nor does it show a person's value. But this is just my opinion.
Signed,
Your hobby farming friend,
Danni

Cindy said...

I'm sure they're all just jealous. I'd take your job over a high-paid corporate job any day of the week! I do my chicken farming on a city lot, and I like to call myself a 'fecal relocator'.

Great post!

Karen Anne said...

Hey, Tammy, I am interested in how the sheepies are doing :-) And the rest of the critters, too.

Milah said...

I have the same problem, and Karen Patrick is right because the next thing they ask is, "what do you do all day?" I usually hold my breath and shake my head...I imagine a long scroll with a list of every detail to my day. Then to top it off they'll step out of their brand new SUV, with a cute hair cut, hi-lights, fake nails and pedicures, stiletto shoes and designer purses, and say, "I wish I could afford to stay home." Ugh!

I once had an insurance agent ask me if I was "just a housewife", I said, "no, I'm a d*** good one!"

Betty Lou said...

Most of us would reply "how exciting, you raise lamas and sheep. Tell me about that." I bet your job is a lot more interesting than theirs.

Dorothy said...

I think you run a great bed and breakfast! I'm ready to come for a visit and I wouldn't mind sleeping in the barn!

Benita said...

How about "I raise fiber animals for the growing fiber market here in Indiana and the rest of the country." And when they ask "Fiber animals?" just reply "Llamas, alpacas, sheep and goats. They all provide specific fiber needss for spinners, knitters and weavers. It's a niche market, but very interesting and you meet the nicest people." If nothing else, it sounds impressive.

If you want to see some eyebrows raise, watch when I tell people that I'm "...into natural dyeing." :)

I need orange said...

How about -- You raise animals of heirloom breeds of sheep, etc, to make sure the gene pool doesn't shrink out of sight. (Nevermind that you don't breed them...........)

MilkMaid09 said...

I feel ya. I have yet to come up with better labels than "Farm wife" or "Army National Guard wife" and I really despise SAHM, because of the connotations that seem to follow and no one has a clue as to what that entails exactly. One day I'll get it figured out (but if you do before me, let me know!)

thecrazysheeplady said...

LOVE the new blog header!!! I think I'd just tell people you genius/humor writer/photographer/fiber artist/animal husbandry-er (that oughta confused 'em ;-)....

Windy Meadows Farm said...

When I read this post I laughed! My most recent experience with the same situation was a trip to the doctor. As I registered all my info with the receptionist, she finally said, "You don't work?"(and yes...her eyebrows went up). I wanted to scream, "YES, I work every second of every day!" It's sad that keeping home & family the first priority has become unimportant in the eyes of most people. If you decide on a good comeback, be sure to share it...I'd love to hear! (Domestic Engineer anyone?)

Kathy said...

I'm more inclined to think of you as a micro-farmer niche farmer or fiber farmer than a hobby farmer. "Hobby" implies that you only do it when you feel like it and we know that's just not true.
I'm a homemaker and hobby sewist, but tell people that I do "bespoke children's garments". Someday, someone is going to want a classic christening gown...