When I was growing up, my parents always made sure I was exposed to what Vienna had to offer, especially opera and other music. However, when I was about eleven or twelve years old I pestered my parents and said that I wanted to be a farmer, so they decided to let me experience life on a farm! They arranged, I don’t know how, for my brother and me to spend two months on a farm in the southern part of Austria. The entire experience essentially cured me of my wish to be a farmer. It was an interesting time. These farmers grew quite a few root vegetable. Potatoes, radishes, carrots and turnips. They had cows, pigs and chickens as well. My brother and I would get up around 7:30 in the morning. By then, the owner of the farm and his son had already been in the fields for a couple of hours and they were coming back for their breakfast. After breakfast, I’d go out back in the field with them and they the one thing I always enjoyed was the draft horse. I got a chance to ride the horse back to the barn—no saddle, just holding onto its mane!
What I found fascinating, especially in retrospect, was watching the farmer and his son as they were out in the field with heavy scythes. Watching their motion was like watching a ballet, seeing three people side by side moving across the field. These days, with harvesting machines, you don’t see that.
I began to appreciate that’s it’s a pretty rough life. You never have a day off. The cows have to be milked whether it’s a Sunday or not. It was also obvious to me that this was a very tight-knit community where neighbors took care of each other. For this reason I have always preferred to live in a rural community.