The truth is that a farm meant work, work, work, morning, noon and night, spring, summer, fall and winter, constant worrying about the weather, the pests, the crops, the economy, the competition, the market, the neighbors, and the health and safety of the wife and kids.
Sometimes the farm fails - for whatever reason - due to any or all of the above. This happened to my great-great-grandfather, David Jackson (D.J.) Carringer, in Jackson township, Washington County, Iowa in 1872:
David Jackson Carringer was born 4 November 1828 in Mercer County, Pennsylvania to Henry and Sarah (Feather) Carringer. D.J. married Rebecca Spangler on 16 October 1851 in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. They had three children, Harvey Edgar (1852-1946), Henry Austin (1853-1946) and Effie E. (1858-1874), according to the family Bible pages in my possession.
Sometime between 1853 and 1858, D.J. and his family left the rolling hills and streams of western Pennsylvania for the plains and rich soil of southeastern Iowa. I assume that they traveled by wagon, probably with friends and family to make a new life in the West.
The Bible indicates that Effie was born in Louisa County, Iowa in 1858. The 1860 US Census record says that D.J. was a carpenter residing in Columbus City, Louisa County, Iowa. In the 1870 US Census, the family resided in Jackson township, Washington County, Iowa and D.J.'s occupation was "farmer."
So, between 1860 and 1870, D.J. bought a farm in neighboring Washington County, Iowa and tried his hand at farming. The farm failed for some reason. The notice above reads: