When I first started applying for farming internships in 2009, I had Further in mind. I mean, I didn’t know he would be a boy, when he would arrive or his name, but I knew that when I did have a child, I wanted to be ready. I wanted to be in a place where I could teach him about things he could use––about growing food, and foraging and living off the land.
Because at that time, here is what I knew: I knew a fair bit about wine. I knew a superbly useless amount about Prohibition. I knew Kentucky Basketball, books, and the bars of NYC. What I didn’t know was how beets grew. Or how to keep that stupid basil plant I bought every year alive. I didn’t know how to build anything, fix anything, or anything about engines––small or large. And I was vividly aware of this.
So in deciding to become a farmer, I was hoping to remedy some of that. Then with the help of our mentors, Eric and Cher, I definitely did. I am a much more capable human today than I was six years ago. I can grow food, build things, fix others, and what I can’t, I now know how to find the people who can.
But still, for Further’s sake I can’t help but wish I knew more. I wish I had started earlier. I was telling Hannah the other night, I want to be the best father I can be, but I will always be painfully aware of my limitations as a carpenter, as a mechanic, as a woodworker, a musician, or you name it. With that said, I’ve come to realize that being a good father may require me to accept my faults or deficiencies and, like it is when I need something fixed, turn to knowledgeable people to help teach Further what I can’t. He will have to grow up knowing Papa doesn’t have all the answers, and I will have to be okay with that. Maybe it’s culture, or maybe it’s nature, but I’m finding the ego is strong in parenthood. But perhaps letting that go is the first step to being a good father. The second step, well, maybe the second step is just caring this much.