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! 🙂