Off the Farm Upadate

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by brenda on June 2, 2014


My husband playing with our kids at the park. We didn’t have time for these kinds of things when we were so busy farming.

Things are going pretty well for us off of the farm. Well, besides that one day last week when I muttered something like; “get me out of this neighborhood.” Don’t get me wrong, I do like our neighborhood, and I enjoy our neighbors. It is a nice place to live. It’s just, our neighbor came over and complained about our dog barking. On the farm, nobody ever complained about our dog barking. She barked freely when people drove up our driveway, and it was a bit of a comfort. I understand our neighbor’s request. Who wants to hear the next door neighbor’s dog barking when you live in close proximity? There are moments like this that make me wish for the farm again, though…

We have been blessed with a beautiful home. We are comfortable here. There is enough storage for all of our kids’ clothing–praise the Lord! 🙂 I don’t feel like I have to constantly sweep the floors, or wash chicken poop and feathers off of the kitchen counter where the eggs were brought in and washed. There isn’t a milking pump and tubing (with dirt on the outside–more likely, manure) taking over the kitchen while I try to cook breakfast. I like that. It feels like my home is cleaner than the farm house ever could be.

I miss having chickens at the back door to feed my scraps to. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ok with a garbage disposal, really. Something deep inside of me tells me that food ought to go to an animal to produce more food. As a neighborhood dweller without any chickens or livestock, I am not sure how to go about getting that food to those animals, though. Any thoughts about this? Any farmers want to do neighborhood food pick ups, like the garbage truck does with our garbage? Would people go for that? I would…

There are different noises in a neighborhood. We hear neighbor’s kids, and a man across the street revving up the engine of the motorbike he is often fixing. We have a bird out back that may be an owl or something else–that is comforting. But, we don’t hear coyotes here. The first time we heard them on the farm, it was a little scary. After a while it was a sound that I enjoyed hearing–where else, but way out in the country (or the woods, I guess), do you hear a pack of coyotes yipping and barking and howling? It was a reminder that we were far away from people and civilization, and that was fun.

There are things to miss, but there are things we don’t miss too. We don’t have chicken poop on our back deck, front walk way, or door mat! THAT is nice! 🙂 We don’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of work we have on our plate. I found a “to do” list that I had made on the farm–index cards, filed by subject–house projects, animal projects, yard projects, garden projects. I had a full stack of cards–tons of work to be done on that farm!! When I saw the stack I started to panic, almost forgetting that we don’t live there any more. Oh no, we have to fix that fencing, and stake the fruit trees, and ____….there was so so much to do. It was freeing to take that whole stack of index cards and recycle them. I felt a weight come off of my shoulders and was able to breathe deeply again.

Without the farm work, there is freedom. Some of our kids play baseball right now. The first two seasons on the farm, we said no baseball. Baseball is in the spring, right when we were usually raising baby chicks and getting ready to put them out on pasture. Last year during baseball season, my husband was milking cows and I would bring the kids to baseball practice alone. He was able to barely make it on time to their games, but when we got home (after a long drive); the farm work was waiting for him. Now, he goes to all of their practices, is one of the coaches (which the kids love!), and guess what? We come home and we have time to spare–time to ride bikes as a family, or for my husband to shoot hoops with our son, time for bedtime stories, etc….For our family’s sake, we are loving and treasuring this time.

We are not starting a garden this year. We’re waiting, getting to know our backyard and where the sun and shade hits, and which areas are moister, etc. We were happy to find a few raspberry stalks along the fence–I think they are shoots off of the neighbor’s raspberries. At any rate, we’re happy to say that we have some raspberry plants growing! 🙂 This week begins one of the farmers markets I plan to patron, weekly. While growing a garden is wonderful (and peaceful; I really enjoy summer evenings, digging in the dirt), I am excited about the opportunity to support other local farmers and thank them for their hard work. Our farm didn’t survive–but at the very least, we can use our income to support other farms and give them a chance to make it.

I am excited to write again. For several months I have struggled with what I could possibly write about. If we weren’t eating perfect (we are not on the GAPS diet at this time), and we weren’t farming, I felt like I couldn’t possibly come here and say anything useful to all of you. I am giving myself some grace, now. We aren’t perfect eaters. Confession, last week I had a Burgerville milkshake. I like the Chocolate Monkey one, with bananas and apple juice and chocolate ice cream. Yum. See, I’m not perfect, and I am not going to pretend to be. But I still believe in real food, and I strive to cook it in my own home. I believe in supporting local farms, and local businesses, and being wise stewards of our land and resources. I still have a lot to say, and I am thankful that I have this space to do so. I hope you will stick around and engage in conversation here! 🙂

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Tina June 2, 2014 at 10:13 am

Not to be contrary, but be glad she complained to you about your dog barking! I used to live in the city and can tell you that some neighbors do a lot worse things to your pets than complain about them. I agree about feeling “wasteful” by not being able to use your kitchen scraps, but many cities are starting up compost bin programs… maybe try asking at City Hall?

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Penny Pinching Prose June 2, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Thanks for sharing! My husband and I bought a large 5+ bedroom, 4.3 acre property that we thought would be our ‘forever home’. Well, 2 years later we are finding the house is bigger than we need, the location isn’t idea for our life and the property eats up all our free time. It’s time to sell! It’s encouraging to hear that others plans have changed too, but in the end if you evaluate what is most important to you and seek that in the long run you will be happy! Keep sharing!

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Cindy S. June 3, 2014 at 2:21 pm

I am so glad you are back writing. I stumbled upon ypur page months ago after I started the GAPS diet. I am looking for recipes and, as a Christian, I was encouraged by your humble honesty. Long story short, I cannot, for the time being, do the healing part of the diet without going into a debilitating flare. I had blood allergy testing done last year, so I have at least been able to do the full GP diet with my modifications of my own allergies. It has allowed my gut to be much betterand my symptoms under comtrol. I have lupus but with help, I am treating it naturally. My rhuematologist has greatly supported me. I look forward to hearing of your endeavors and sharing recipes. Blessings to you, sweet sister!

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Tania June 12, 2014 at 6:36 pm

I’m so glad you’re writing again. You seem to have a sweet and encouraging spirit that really shines through your writing. I enjoyed reading about your adventures running the farm, and had wondered how you’re all doing now; I’m glad to see that things are going well for your family. Please do keep writing, as I am sure you do still have a lot to say that others would find helpful, interesting, and just plain enjoyable to read about. 🙂

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Janira June 29, 2014 at 9:46 pm

I missed your writing!! You have helped me & encouraged me to eat REAL food. I love your stories about your kids. I raised 3 kids (didn’t give birth to them, but the Lord blessed me in another way). So THANK YOU! My husband & I moved from California to Oregon (near the capital) 6 months ago. My husband retired so we moved up here & we have fallen in love with Oregon. We explored for 2 years before we settled down. Yes, I support my farmers market every Saturday. Currently trying to find grass-fed beef & raw milk. So I am on my way. We also enjoy Chipotle once in a while. My weakness = peanut M&Ms. :). Sorry to babble but it’s so nice to read your words. May God continue to bless you & your precious family.

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