farm life…living the dream

farm life…living the dream

Ever since I can remember, I have always thought of how much fun it would be to move out to the country and have some animals and quit being a full-time consumer and be self-sustainable and self-reliant and self-preserved and all that stuff, and I have worked very hard for the last few years to move toward that goal.

I started out my research into the life of a hobby farmer the way anyone would–I drew on my vast experience reading Jane Austen novels, because, you know, they all live in the country.  Plus, I am a lot like Mrs. Jennings (see previous post).

Note The Country Setting

I then graduated to watching Jane Austen movies and other BBC period dramas.  I also moved out to the country and lived in a beautiful, beautiful home with 10 acres of pasture and neighbors who had horses.  And cows.  I was on my way.  I even planted a garden that yielded three zucchini and about 20 teensy, cute potatoes.

Our Backyard

I was moving right along toward my dream. I went organic.  I wanted to live sustainably.  I baked my own bread, and then got a bread machine, because my attempts at real, homemade bread were disastrous.  Finally, I just resorted to becoming friends with people who could make bread, and who would take pity on me and bring it to me in exchange for me being able to make them feel vastly superior and accomplished.

I read Mother Earth News and fell in love with Mary Jane’s Farm.  I fell in love with horses.  Of course, not in the way most people would.  I decided to take care of old, decrepit horses.

Dash, Our 29 Year Old Gelding

I spent $500 on the wrong kind of gravel for the horses to rest their hooves in. I found a horrible farrier that nearly killed our Arabian and who charged me outrageously.   I then found a great farrier who was furious at what the old farrier had done.  I learned how to fix founder and make beet mash. I bought 25 gallons of sticky molasses for the beet mash, not realizing it came in powdered form at the IFA. I bought ridiculously overpriced hay. I now know what a colicky horse looks like and what to do to save it.

My husband learned how to pay the vet.

I worked some land that in the late summer (when we first started renting it), looked like paradise, but in spring turned into a marshy quagmire of mucky goo and naturally produced six trillion giant, bloodsucking mosquitoes.

Not Supposed To Be Wet Here

Marshy Water Is Not Supposed To Be Here

I gardened some more with my daughter, who actually could make things grow.  I bought fly traps and bug repellant.

My Daughter, The Only Green Thumb in the Family

I lost an apricot and cherry tree to some weird disease that made the bark ooze strange, icky, sticky liquid from the trunks.

I was singlehandedly responsible for the untimely demise of several chickens and ducklings.

The Ones Who Lived

The Ones That Lived

I moved to another home with 5 acres and neighbors who own goats and roosters.

Did you know that some roosters crow every 10 minutes from about 1 am until noon?

I discovered that goats stink and cow poop is really gross.

In short, I was living the dream.

I still have my horses, and I still live in the country, and I love it.

Love Our Horses

My Daughter At The Rodeo

But, you know what?  I am just not that talented.

I can’t bake bread.

My attempts at gardening would not sustain my family for five weeks, let alone a whole winter.

Canning makes me want to swear, and I don’t like it.  Also, I don’t really want to swear and then have to repent.

Grape vines are a natural habitat for wasps, and I don’t like wasps.

I cry when my fruit trees get sick.  I can’t stand it.  It just breaks my heart.

I don’t like poo.

I am not brave and I can’t just let my toddlers wander around the property while I try to move five tons of manure with a tractor.

I don’t have the focus or ability to be pregnant, homeschool, raise toddlers, and milk goats while holding my breath so I don’t vomit at the smell of them.

Cute But Stinky

When my husband is home from work, I don’t want him outside for six hours on a tractor or making giant bonfires.  I actually want to see him sometimes.

So, what am I going to do?

Well, I’ll tell you right now that in the event of an emergency, I would be the first to pass out.  I am not a survivor.  I am not self-reliant, self-sustaining, or self-sufficient.

I am a horrible homemaker, even though it’s “in” to bake cupcakes and have homemade bread. Besides, even just driving by Jo-Ann Fabrics terrifies me.  I am so scared in there.  It’s this big, mysterious place full of material that seems far too expensive for me to ruin.  Also, it’s not a place for children.  Children + Jo-Ann Fabrics = Chaos.  And crying.

Simple Math

 

My homemaking skills end at being able to buy a cute, trendy retro apron from Etsy.

Vintage Apron.

Trendy Apron

I have few, if any, ethically marketable talents.  (I am great at getting pregnant, but that’s not ethically marketable).  I have absolutely nothing to offer to a community co-op.

I must shamefully admit that I am a consumer.  I can’t help it.  When things go wrong, I buy stuff.

When I can’t keep up with the housecleaning, I call the maid service or burn scented candles that I did not make myself.

I Am Ashamed To Admit I Love Them

When I am too lazy to put the bread machine mix into the bread machine, my kids eat bread I bought at the organic health food store.

When I realize that building a chicken coop is too hard for my 7 month pregnant self, I buy a ridiculously overpriced one because it’s cute and it looks like a barn!

See, It’s Cute Because It Looks Like A Little Barn!!

When I want to eat meat, I prefer to find someone else who has done all the hard work and buy it from them, already dead and in packages and cut up so it doesn’t resemble the actual animal from whence it came.

I guess I could feel horrible about everything.  After all, it’s constantly humbling to live in a community full of self-reliant, self-sufficient milkers of goats, raisers of cows, plowers of fields, and makers of homes knowing that I am the one on whom they should all take pity…of course, I am the first person to admit that I am always in need of a good, strong dose of humility and I really, really adore my neighbors.  And their livestock.  Including the rooster.

They are all amazing, and I love to take advantage of their bread making, goat raising, egg laying, tractor driving abilities.

It’s just sometimes I feel like, “You know, what do I have to offer to these amazing people who are so much more gifted than I am?  Aside from “opportunities for service?”

I have realized that my dream involves pregnancy without morning sickness or bedrest, unfailing energy, animals that don’t poop, roosters that only crow once at 9:30 am for the ambience, goats that don’t stink, bread that always rises, and children that never get hurt.  In short, my dream is for something that does not exist on this planet. So, I am going to take it as I sign that I am just trying to be more…heavenly.  After all, C.S. Lewis once said:

If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.

Until I make it (if I ever do!) to that world where animals don’t poop and goats smell like lavender, I think I’ll limit my “farming” to children, waterfowl, and maybe some vegetables.

Love The Ducks.

And, I’ll limit my culinary adventures to looking at recipes on Pinterest.  That way, no one gets hurt.

Of course, I won’t forget to don my trendy apron while doing it.

The first photo on this post is from Mary Jane’s Farm, which really is amazing.

11 Comments

  1. Tee hee. You always make me laugh- I think that should count for something! Also, you give me cause to think and reconsider- something you do for a lot of people on your other blog. I think you have that to offer! I get so caught up in canning 90 quarts of applesauce in a day that I can’t even form a coherent thought by the end of the day. My blog posts are seemingly random thoughts spewed out between getting up every two minutes to check my dratted bread which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. I really enjoy your writing and your clear, concise, and painful to read posts.
    I love this post because it shows just exactly how human you are. When I read that you homeschool, have 11(?) children and one on the way, manage to get your family to eat whole foods, etc. it seems pretty incredible to me. I appreciate you sharing some of your ideals and how they haven’t worked out as well as you’d like. I love when people share that kind of thing, not to be able to say, “see, you couldn’t do it!” but just because it’s a relief to know we are all so very human and we all need each others’ support and encouragement!
    Oh, and the fabric+kids=destruction of the universe thing was my favorite. That’s going to keep me giggling until tonight I’m sure. ( :

    Reply
  2. I am so reading this to my husband! I love the dream, too. I have done some of those on your list (like buying 2 does and a BUCK before realizing that my dairy free girl really can’t do any form of dairy–at least for now). I don’t think does smell rather bad, but man, keep me out of a buck’s 100ft. radius! And now when I get all dreamy eyed over some “farm” project, my husband says something about not wanting to get into a project that he’ll have to take over when I’m pregnant. {hides face in shame} I,too, am a farm-dreamin’ gal. And I like your description of Heaven, lol.

    Reply
  3. I used to dream about being a farmer and off-grid and all that. Then I realized that we don’t have to do that now, that we can use the conveniences available so that our time can be used for other things. Like family history and temple work! And writing blogs and music. And reading books, lots and lots of books. And having babies, lots and lots of babies. ;)

    Reply
  4. Hi Misty!

    As I read your post, I kept thinking about what you ARE growing on your ranch: children who will acquire the talents of farm life. Just look at your son the poultry expert, your daughter with the green thumbs, your children who can care for horses. Your gift is to provide them with those experiences, and hopefully they will turn around and bless you with home-grown veggies, canned fruit, and fresh milk and eggs. You are the mother. Who cares if you’re not the farmer? You have plenty of other hands around to learn all that.

    BTW, I clicked over to “Mary Jane’s Farm”. It looks just like my mother-in-law’s place, minus the greenhouse. Her gardens are rustic, antiqued, and beautiful!

    Reply
  5. So funny and true. I can’t even count the number of volunteers who show up on our farm in the spring with farm lust in their eyes only to be “unavailable” a few short weeks later. I’m grateful it’s my husband who farms and not me.

    Reply
  6. I. Love. This.

    Last year we moved to a neighborhood of all places, because the house was beautiful, and just what we needed. I had finally realized that I was not the one that enjoyed the country work load, so that left my husband, and well, being a hobby farmer was never his dream! Plus it would be nice to see him now and again. I wouldn’t mind a few pet hens in our backyard, but we might just get a dog instead.

    A handful of friends were kind of like, “you are moving in the wrong direction!” They all lived on less than an acre and had little experience with how much time and effort caring for the land takes. Now grant it, they might be able to do it if the opportunity strikes, but I am just happy with my local food co-ops, and my cushy (but hard enough for me) life.

    Reply
  7. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this post. We moved to Idaho and lived in a log house on 5 acres for seven long, draining, frigid months.

    Now that we live back in a warmer clime in suburbia, I have yet to begin trying to grow anything. The spearmint and garlic are actually still alive. Much rejoicing!

    I think it’s so important to be thankful for the day and age we live in– which is a VERY difficult thing for this very old-fashioned girl. (Broadcast television– ICK!) But I do adore my indoor plumbing etc., etc., and I try to remember not to compare myself with every amazingly-talented woman out there.

    Hugs,
    Rachel

    Reply
    • To Mama Rachel: Thanks for sharing your Idaho experience. Mostly because I can show my husband so he doesn’t think I am the only one. Your post has strengthened my marriage. Hugs right back at ya’!

      Alisa, oh, how beautifully delicious your homemade bread sounds to me. So much better than mine! :) What’s wrong with those kids? I know…you can send them back to stay with me for a few days again, and all I will feed them is my homemade bread. They will come home singing your praises and begging for yours. :) Everything is going well…all I have to do now is fight my jealous feelings about how lucky you are to have Thanksgiving Ham Jerky and all that fun stuff.

      If I am ever not pregnant or nursing before the Second Coming, I need to come visit you. :)

      Reply
  8. I giggled the entire time I read this! The. Entire. Time. Now, if that isn’t worth as much as a homemade loaf of bread, I don’t know what is. I wish I were close enough to bring you some of my mostly-edible, thick and pretty tasteless bread. :) After all, my children won’t eat it, even if I do stamp my foot and remind them it’s homemade. Gr.
    I’m *deeply* grateful you wrote this all out here instead of keeping it to yourself. So, so funny, and so, so awesome in so, so many ways. How I love you! Hope everything is going well…

    Reply
  9. Dearest Misty,

    You are my hero. Troy asked me when will you make … I said “go buy it at Safeway!” Today I got stressed moving so I went shopping with a friend. When ever you get down here we can “farm” together. :-)

    LOVE YOU

    Reply
  10. Sounds like a plan! The part about you visiting, I mean. I don’t think we’ll need to pawn our kid off on you again for a while. Nursing babies are most welcome, though, just so you know. ;) Heck, you could bring the whole family next time you feel like spending $500,000 on plane tickets. :D. We love you guys!

    Reply

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