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20 Reasons Why I Always Wanted to be a Farm Hand

Updated on September 3, 2014

A man and his mule: What a perfect team

Things change

Like my piece on me “Dreaming to Be a Janitor,” which was not meant for comedy purposes, this hub is not meant for that purpose either. But for a stern, painful-look in the mirror of my soul as I share with you another dream I had at age nine. An exciting-but-rough dream about being a farmhand and working on someone’s farm for a living.

Meager wages, room and board, working from daylight until dark—never knowing what a city looked like or smelled like. Just getting up, working like God intended, and going back to bed. Except on Sunday. This is the day of rest for God and farmhands like myself.

Stanley Underwood, Fulton, Miss., and his friend, "Hat," his mule
Stanley Underwood, Fulton, Miss., and his friend, "Hat," his mule | Source

A happy farm hand and his mule

A farm hand in his cornfield


The smell of freshly-tilled soil can do strange things to a boy’s mind. It did mine. I remember the very day I smelled freshly-tilled soil so fresh that the red worms who were living underneath were scurrying around trying to find a good hiding place. I left them be. But that aroma of freshly-tilled soil left its mark on my spirit, for it was at that span of time that I wanted more than owning the moon, to be just an unknown statistic among men, an honest and hard-working farmhand.

I never told my dad, who was a fantastic sharecropper, because he, like all parents, wanted more for me. Not that there was anything immoral about being a farmhand, it was just knowing how his logic stood, he would have supported my dreams if I had owned the ground I was tilling. I never bothered to tell my mother for she had enough on her mind with finishing the job of raising me.

I knew from observing my dad and his work that being a farmhand meant more than just rising before dawn and “working like a dog,” and going to bed at dark. There was hands cut and mangled with blood and calluses, fighting briars and other annoying weeds that can make an average farmhand go mad with frustration, but I recall thinking at age nine that “I” was not an average kid. But that was my own thinking.

The goal of a farm hand: Successful farming

My plan was eloquent and the work of a mastermind. I would go until I reached the sixth-grade. By now I would have mastered the “three R’s,” and most farmhands I knew never needed anything else in their life’s work. Not once did I see myself having to quote Chaucer or Poe’s “The Raven,” before I was allowed to work on an humble man’s spreading farmlands. So I was all set. When I reached the right age, eleven, I think it was, I would go to my dad and have a man-to-boy talk with him about my future.

And these . . .

A contented farm hand

Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie's roots as a singing farmhand

Woodrow Wilson "Woody" Guthrie (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter and folk musician whose musical legacy includes hundreds of political, traditional and children's songs, ballads and improvised works. He frequently performed with the slogan This Machine Kills Fascists displayed on his guitar.

His best-known song is "This Land Is Your Land." Many of his recorded songs are archived in the Library of Congress.
Such songwriters as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Hunter, Harry Chapin, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger, Andy Irvine, Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg, Jerry Garcia, Jay Farrar, Bob Weir, Jeff Tweedy, Bob Childers and Tom Paxton have acknowledged Guthrie as a major influence.

Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression when Guthrie traveled with displaced farmers from Oklahoma to California and learned their traditional folk and blues songs, earning him the nickname the "Dust Bowl Troubadour."

Throughout his life Guthrie was associated with United States Communist groups,
though he was seemingly not a member of any.

“20 Reasons Why I Dreamed of Being a Farm hand"

20. Farmhands do not worry about being successful in society. And at age nine, I hated society.

19. Farmhands, if they choose, do not have to have a wife and family. Just the money they have saved.

18. I loved the feeling of working in wide-open spaces at this time of my life.

17. I didn’t like the idea of working inside a factory. It was too similar to a chicken coop.

16. If I wanted to sing softly or even hum a tune of my choice while I worked, I could do that without penalty.

15. There is something unseen and very noble about a man who works the soil with his hands.

14. I wouldn’t have to spend a lot on my clothes. Just overalls, jeans, gloves, boots, and a hat.

13. I thought God would give me a great idea for a book if I were working alone in a cottonfield.

12. I wouldn’t be accused of any wrong-doing since everyone would know where I was at all times.

11. I liked to hear and feel the sound of thunder and rain falling in a summer shower.

10. If a girl were to be in my future as a farmhand, I wouldn’t have to pretend I was someone I wasn’t.

9. Farmhands for some reason, carry a measure of respect from those who do not understand him or his work.

8. If I liked, I might sleep on the new-mown hay (that my boss had cut) during those hot summer nights.

7. I would get to eat regular meals with the humble-hearted farmer and his sweet wife. And she would whisper, “would you please read me some poetry when the mister goes to sleep?”

6. When my work in the fields was finished, I would do other work on my boss’ farm that needed doing.

5. Sometimes, I would think, that my boss appreciated my working without running my mouth so much that he would offer to give me a week off to show his appreciation.

4. I would be able to see all of the wildlife that God created long before he made mankind.

3. As I worked, I would teach myself all about the various minerals in the soil I was tending and the trees that surrounded the fields.

2. On Saturday nights, the farmer’s sweet wife would whisper to me after supper, “if you read me some more of that poetry you read to me last week, I will give you an extra piece of the apple pie we had for dessert tonight.”

1. If I liked, I would go to Sunday worship with the humble-hearted farmer and his sweet wife.

I never did have my talk with my dad. I just couldn’t bear the thought of him having a stroke from hearing all that I had planned for my future as a farmhand.

Can it get any better than this setting?



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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      My Dearest Sweets21,

      You are so very kind and warm. God bless you my dear friend for your touching words.

      I am doing my best to endure these diseases, but I also know that there are people worse than I am.

      And I love talking to you.

    • Sweets21 profile image

      Tara Sellers 

      4 years ago

      No need to apologize or thanks needed, I understand. I hope you get better soon and I'll keep you in my prayers. As always love speaking to you.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear Sweets21,

      I am so sorry for not knowing this. I have no excuse except for the medicaitions I am taking for Fibromyalgia and Neurothopy, both painful 24/7 and can cause memory loss.

      Thank you, Sweets, you are very sweet for doing this.

      Talk to you soon.

    • Sweets21 profile image

      Tara Sellers 

      4 years ago

      It's no problem, I loved reading this! And yes I am following you almost since my beginning three years ago.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Sweets21,

      You are very welcome for this memory of my life. A simple and yet, almost-perfect existence.

      I was so happy, and like you, I LOVE animals--cows, dogs, cats, etc. We had a mule whom I loved to pet because dad used a tractor that the woman owned whom he was sharecropping for.

      I appreciate you taking time to walk back thorugh some great memories.

      Hey, if you are not following me, I Cordially Invite you to do so and if you are following me already, Thank YOU.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear Lionrhod,

      I wish you My Best in remaking your farming dream come true. I sound silly, but there is power in words and if they are from the heart, can cause things to happen.

      I was touched by your comment. Thank you.

      And I wish you a safe night.

    • Lionrhod profile image


      4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I always dreamed of having a farm. For two years I did just that, but we were forced to move back to FL because of my mom-in-law's Alzheimer's. Once we get her free from her caretaker, we plan on farming again. We had 4 very loved yaks we had to sell, but there's a good chance the buyer will sell them back. Farming is a hard life, but it's satisfying to know that the work of your hands is bringing food to the world.

    • Sweets21 profile image

      Tara Sellers 

      4 years ago

      I love this hub! It reminds me of being a child again, having simple dreams that seemed so big in our adolescents. Something that I've never shared with anyone...I used to want to live on a farm! Matter of fact I think I still do now that I've read this! Lol. I think it's partly because I love nature and wide open spaces and the other is simply because I love animals. Either way I'd love to experience it at some point in my life. Thanks for sharing a piece of your life, thoroughly enjoyed reading about your dreams! :-)

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Laurie,

      Your comment touched my heart so much that all I can say is, "Thank you sincerely, for your sweet and memorable words."

      "I too was raised on two farms for my dad was a sharecropper, but oh at the simple life I lived."

      Hey, come back anytime and visit me.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Hi Ken

      I love this hub, I love that simple life. It is such a great hub.

      We use to live on a farm when I was about 2 I barely remember it, however surprisingly I do remember what I am suppose to. It was great. Jumping in the hay stacks and running with the barn animals.

      Its nice to look back at times and look into history.

      Well written, thank you



    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dearest Pam,

      Thank you so much for understanding the text I wrote.

      I did have some time to think. My sister was married and moved out. So I did have some time on my hands.

      Thank you so much for stopping by.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      4 years ago from Land of Aloha

      You were a wise, deep thinking kid at the age of nine. I have a feeling your dad ended up being very proud of his son. This was a very insightful read; thank you for sharing a bit of your youth.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Your comment in admirable, but what you do now might be where God placed you for His work and glory.

      But if I ever leave my existence for a farm hand job, I will write to you and you can help me.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Hello and a big thank you for stopping by and leaving me such a warm comment. Thanks again.

      I pray that God blesses you richly for taking time to read this and comment.

      See you around on HP and come back soon.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, JamaGenee,

      How have you been? I have missed you. You were among my first followers and I am still grateful for you doing that.

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment and that program you mentioned is TERRIFIC!

      I hope it keeps going and going and going.

      I do appreciate working with my hands and not ashamed of getting dirty, but I have to know what the workplan is for that day and what to do. After all, if I were a farm hand, I would need guidance.

      God blesss you for being my friend, follower and one writer that I admire.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 

      4 years ago from Hawaii

      Your hubs make me consider some unexpected career paths.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      4 years ago from USA

      What a fun idea for an article. Being a farm hand is such hard work, but the rewards are worth it. With the way you bring people into your writing I think God has already given you a book.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      4 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Ken, I think your 20 reasons were quite valid! Aside from the back-breaking work involved, being a farmhand sounds like a great goal for a 9-year-old for all the reasons you listed. It might warm your heart to know that a high school in Philadelphia (or New York City) has an FFA-sponsored, hands-on program to teach inner city kids all the things involved in working a farm. The irony being that too many farm kids today want to leave the farm and move to the City, while the kids in the program can't wait to graduate and move to the country to work on a farm! This is progress, I think!

      Great hub! Upped and shared! ;D

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi carrie,

      Thanks again. Your comments mean a lot. And you are welcome for this. I only do these hubs for the enjoyment of my dear followers such as yourself.

      God bless you.

    • carrie Lee Night profile image

      Carrie Lee Night 

      4 years ago from Northeast United States

      Interesting :). Good points. Thank you for sharing all your creative subject matter :) I enjoy the reads.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      You are truly a great friend and follower. Your words made me smile. Thank you, kind and gentle friend.

      People like you are very rare.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Thank you for reading this piece. I was so glad that I was able to find numerous farming photos, mules, tractors. It's just a shame that I couldn't write this hub any longer.

      Many on here advise against long hubs.

      Thanks for stopping to chat with me.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hey, WriterFox,

      I am so proud that you did what your heart led you to do. What bravery and courage. Now you can rest at night knowing that you had these great years.

      I loved your profile where it said, you loved to eat chickens, but did not know what to do with the feathers.


      Thank you for stopping in. Have a peaceful night.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Elsie,

      And thank you kindly for your sweet comments. Follow my dreams? Oh, how I wish I had the cash to start down this road, but honestly, where I live, there are NO small farms anymore, just the huge commercial operations.

      But I sincerely thank you for the kind wish.

      Visit with me anytime you like.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, sheilamyers,

      Thank you for your warm comment. Outdoors, when I was able to work, was fantastic. Now at my age, and with this Fibromyalgia, walking only for short time inside or outside just wears me out.

      If life had went this way, I would have loved to follow my dad in his footsteps, literally, and be a farmer.

      I can still see the LOVE on his face as he tilled the land, harvested the crops and how happy he was before he went to work inside at two different factories and this was not his happiest years.

      No one bothered to notice this, but I did.

      Thanks for being a great friend and follower.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Interesting thoughts that make sense. I'd love an outdoor job, but I don't think being a farmhand was ever on my list.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      My ancestry is full of farm hands, and thanks to them for what they did. Thanks for sharing this bit of insight from your distinctive mind! ;-)

    • Pawpawwrites profile image


      4 years ago from Kansas

      That last photo reminds me of a picture I have of my grandmother's brother. Noting wrong with being a farm hand.

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 

      4 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      If this is your wish, then you should follow your dreams. Though raised in a big city, I wanted to be a cowboy. You know what? For four years I did just that. I owned a 510 acre cattle ranch in the mountains and raised 200 mother/calf pairs and 200 bottle calves.

      Those were the best years of my life.

      Enjoyed your article. Go follow your dreams. Life should be an adventure and you only have one crack at it.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      4 years ago from New Zealand

      Oh I loved reading your hub.

      Most things you said about being a farm-hand is true. I have been a farmers wife for nearly 55 years, have lived on a farm nearly all my life. I wouldn't change it for anything, all thought I was out in the work force for 30 years supporting, bring up five children and keeping our farm, which really takes a lot of money to keep it afloat instead of going bankrupt.

      It is not too late to be a farmer at the age of sixty, my husband and I are in our seventies and still working our farm and intend to until we are no longer living. I wouldn't have in any other way, we love the animals, land, fresh air and all that goes with it.

      Take another look at your wish which you had when you were nine years old, it is never too late until you past away, then it's too late.

      Wishing you the best.


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