The Glory of Repair

“…farming is about twenty per cent agriculture and eighty per cent mending something that has got busted. Farming is a sort of glorified repair job.” -E.B. White

I was just reading online a story about E.B. White’s farming career, leading to the writing of his classic, Charlotte’s Web.

Charlotte's Web photo

Some Pig!

In the quote above, White talks about the importance of repair work in farming. Just this morning as we were preparing to plant vegetables, we spent an unexpected hour working on the tiller–the same tiller that I just worked on last night. Luckily we have boxes and bins full of old bolts, so these sorts of repairs are not necessarily difficult, just time consuming.

It wasn’t at all White’s intention, but I like to think of farming as a repair job in two senses. One, it is a job that requires a lot of ‘fixing things.’ Things get used, and inevitably they break. Hoe handles, drill bits, bolts, chains, belts, and all manner of equipment end up on the operating table (or shop floor).

But, repair also means “to come together” or “a popular gathering place.” Farming is not a lonely job; it is often done with help from friends, family, and neighbors, and the farm itself can be a gathering place. So, farming is a job to which one may repair. If you would like to join us at the farm, think about coming to our Spring Open House on April 17 (rain date TBD if necessary.) Because sometimes, we all need a little repair.

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