Around the Farm: Stubborn as a Mule
Updated: Feb 3
By Kim Carr:
Having grown up in St. Louis, it was a real treat for my brother and I when our mother dropped us off at our grandparents the summer of 1973. My grandparents had a forty-acre farm in Bollinger County, MO. I was nine and about to turn ten during what was to become the most influential time of my life.
It was this summer that my grandpa made a simple comment to me as I hauled vegetables out of the garden. I complained about how hard it was, lugging five-gallon buckets full of tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, and beans from the garden to the porch. My grandpa chuckled as he said, “You’ll never be a farmer.” That was it, that was all it took to direct my life course. I’m not sure if it was just something I was waiting to hear to give me an excuse to become a farmer or if I had something to prove, but I do know it made me who I am today. If you Google famous phrases, perhaps next to the definition of "Stubborn as a Mule" you might see a picture of me. I can’t complain; being stubborn has led to an interesting life.
Well, from that moment in the garden till I graduated high school, I read every book I could on animals, studied everything I could, and snuck in as many animals as I could, such as hamsters, fish, kittens, and snakes. In college, I earned my degree in Animal Science with an emphasis on Sheep Husbandry. Within three years of graduation, I was purchasing my own slice of heaven: twenty acres in Montgomery County, MO.
It's hard to believe that I am celebrating thirty-one years on my farm this October. During this time, I have made a living doing everything from Animal Shelter Manager, Personal Secretary, Truck Driver, Retail Clerk, Gas Station Manager, and more. While the jobs seemed to come and go, one thing that was consistent was my farm. While I have never made a living from the farm, the farm has certainly given me a reason worth living. I love my farm, I love my animals, I love the outdoors, I love peacefulness. The farm has always provided the therapy and key to happiness that I needed.
About nine years ago, I was let go from a soul-sucking job. In hindsight, I am SO thankful. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that door shutting was probably one of the best things to ever happen to me . . . except for my grandpa telling me I wouldn’t make a good farmer. Anyhow, over the last nine years, I’ve been able to take my love for animals, the farm, my life, and photography and combine them all together. Since 2010, I’ve been making my living as a photographer, specializing in rural life. Two years ago, I really started to focus on Heritage Breed Farm Animals.
These are old-fashioned breeds of livestock and poultry, much like heirloom veggies. The reality though is that many of these breeds are in danger of extinction. This has become a pet project for me, so to speak. It is my goal to raise awareness through my photos, engage in conversation, and make a change. Eventually I will compile the images and stories I have acquired into a book. In the process, I hope to connect farmers directly with those who care about sustainable agriculture.
By preserving these rare breeds, we create food security by preserving biodiversity, which is irreplaceable if these animals go extinct. Through my photography, I hope to shed a little light on a subject that very few are aware of.
The term "endangered" does not just apply to exotic animals, it also includes certain breeds of cows, pigs, donkeys, chickens, horses, ducks, geese, turkeys, goats, sheep, and rabbits.
Together we can make a difference.
As I work on this critically important project, life around the farm helps keep me grounded and entertained. I look forward to sharing my stories from my everyday life with you. Sometimes I embellish, but everything I say is true according to my perspective. Please enjoy and feel free to reach out to me with any questions.
Kim Carr is a photographer and mid-Missouri hobby farmer who has combined her love for the country life with that of natural-light photography. Her work reflects my commitment to sustainable agriculture and the humane treatment of all animals. To learn more about Kim, read her interview with Elizabeth Gracen here.
To purchase Kim's photography, visit her website.