We sold our farm in February, and moved to an apartment for 2 months. In April, we moved into our home, in a neighborhood, on a 1/4 acre lot. Last weekend someone asked us what the biggest difference was between living on a farm and living in a neighborhood. Can I just share a few with all of you?
On the farm, all of our food scraps went to the animals, and even chicken bones got buried in a big compost pile. In a neighborhood house, we have a garbage disposal! It is way too easy to waste away all of those great food scraps into the sewer. I built a compost bin for this purpose. I want to be thoughtful about how our food is being used. It takes a tiny bit more work, but the compost bin is right outside of our kitchen, and our kids enjoy throwing things in it. I miss having animals to feed our scraps to (the escaping baby pigs were my favorite!).
When we lived on the farm, we felt bad because our kids helped with animal chores and there was a lot of work to do. In a neighborhood, you really have to search for work for kids to do. We have 3 boys and a girl–they need to be moving, being productive, using their muscles…Otherwise, they want to sit around and play the Wii, Minecraft, or watch Netflix….If we let them, they could literally spend their entire days doing these kinds of things. I miss having work for them. We’ve seen attitudes go downhill–more of a “I deserve fun” attitude. We did not foresee this coming with a move into a neighborhood. We also have time, nearly every evening, to watch something…many nights on the farm we were just too exhausted, or up too late working on something. This is so very different….
However–we have more time to have fun with our kids. We’ve gone to the beach twice this summer, gone camping twice, and gone on multiple bike rides. We’re enjoying all of that. I want to get chickens in our backyard–however, traveling is SO easy when we only have 1 cat, 3 rabbits, 1 dog, and some plants to water. We can get help from the neighbor boy–we do not have to train someone how to milk our cows anymore, or pray that they got the chickens back into the coop before the coyotes came out….No worries!! My husband works from home, and all he needs is a phone and an internet connection. I homeschool our kids. If we do not keep lots of pets, we can travel, almost anytime we want to (and if our budget allows us to). 🙂 So we’re really going back & forth on the idea of getting chickens…We have a lot of freedom without having all of the animals we used to have. We miss the animals, but we enjoy that freedom, too.
Food Buying and Prep
When we were on the farm, food was our LIFE. If we didn’t grow it, we usually bought it from other local farmers. We shopped at the local grocery store very rarely. We shopped at Costco about once a month for some staples, but mostly we ate meats, veggies, and fruit that were home-grown or local. It’s not on our mind every single day anymore. This last month I had a few weeks when I did not feel well and was not my “normal self.” We also had a camping trip before that and after that….Needless to say, we spent a lot of our food budget at the local grocery store rather than at local farms. We have not picked any berries or stone fruits this summer, at all! I have not canned or frozen anything. Can you believe it? Me. Really. I have an Excalibur dehydrator and a huge stainless pressure cooker, and they’re just sitting there…What are we going to do this winter? Goodness. And, I have not been to the farmer’s market in weeks, due to feeling sick and/or being out of town. I am so sad about this, I believe in supporting local farms!! I can’t wait to go tomorrow! 🙂 (Oh I take this back! There was a tiny farm stand outside of my daughter’s dr. office yesterday and I got apples, lettuce and broccoli! But I haven’t been to the big farmer’s market.). 🙂 When you live in a neighborhood, it is easy to just get so busy with your neighborhood life (house projects, and all of the other things that fill in the schedule) and to shop at the grocery store….Organic produce is pretty easy to find at the store (though it is not nearly as good/fresh tasting as the farmer’s market stuff!!). Easy food, even easy organic food, can be found readily. (It’s expensive, but it’s out there). We, as neighborhood dwellers, really have to make a conscious choice to support local farms and to get out there to get the good food. And then, to prepare it and save it for future months….
Visiting the Fair
Our county fair is going on this week, and it’s 5 minutes from our house. First of all, it’s amazing that we can afford to go to the fair! It’s easily $150 or more for our family to go. When we owned the farm, we didn’t go to the fair. We just couldn’t spare that much…Before we got the farm, we would go to the fair and stare at all of the animals. This year, I wanted to do the same–I love the frizzled chickens and the silkies, and the tiny little banties, and the baby ducks with their mama…My kids had a “been there, done that” attitude and said “MOM, can we keep going….Let’s go ride more rides….” But….but….These are farm animals….These are what give us food, and life, and….Ho hum. They really are turning into neighborhood kids. What a quick transition that was. My farm boys and farm princess care little about the farm animals, and they’re more into games, rides, movies….This shows me we have to make a conscious choice to get them onto farms, and to keep encouraging the love for farm life that we once instilled in them….
These are the changes I have noticed, the biggest things that stand out to me….How would you deal with these changes, if you were me? How do you deal with these attitudes and dilemmas, if you are a neighborhood dweller? I believe fully that we are where God has us, and I am content. I just want to keep food and local farms on our minds…how do you do it?