Sunday, March 15, 2015

5 Things To LOVE and HATE About Living on a Farm

I am fairly bipolar in my relationship with the property I live on.  It is fifty five acres of family owned property, five of which are in our name (the other 50 acres acres in-laws and an uncle - the whole thing started out as a homestead in the 1940's when my husband's grandparents move here).  Some days I hate this place with every fiber of my being; other days I can't even fathom living anywhere else.  None of this is written to convince anyone to move to a farm or dissuade anyone from moving to a farm - it's simply the reality of both worlds.

Here are the top five reasons I both LOVE and HATE being on five acres of yard, garden and farm.

1.  Peace and Quiet

Little Miss Noisy Pants, always calling for babies that
don't exist!
LOVE:  I have no neighbors peering into my house.  I drove through town last night and I could tell you what almost everyone was watching on TV because I could see through their windows (kinda creepy, eh?).  I don't have that.  My neighbors are acres away from us.  While I do have blinds on all my windows (just in case anyone else is as creepy as I am), I don't really need them.  Plus we have the river right out our back door and, through the years, the rapids have moved closer and I can hear them.  Love the sound of rushing water.

HATE:  Peace and quiet? There isn't any.  I am always on a lawn mower, tractor, using a pressure
washer, a hoe (do you know how noisy those things are when you are only an eighth of the way done with the row you are weeding?).  Plus you can't shut that damn rooster up.  Or the turkey.  Really, turkey, you have no babies to be calling all the live long day!

2.  Exercise 

LOVE:  I do have a gym membership for the winter months, but during the spring, summer and fall, I don't need it.  Being on five acres, I get a lot of walking back and forth from the tool shed to the garden in the front yard.

HATE:  Sunday evening I can't wait to go back to work because, at work, the heaviest thing I lift is a dictionary.  Sometimes a ream of paper.  Two if I'm particularly needy.  On the farm I can spend three hours pruning, weeding, edging and rebarking one small flower bed (and only two of them are small - the rest - like, seven - take me two weekends to clean up).  Fencing requires muscles in your hands that you didn't know you used until every move you make Monday morning hurts. Don't even get my backside started when it comes time to planting the garden.

3.  Money

LOVE:  I loved it when I went to the doctor last summer and she asked me what I was eating.  I was able to tell her about the greens, carrots, corn, potatoes and chicken I had for dinner - all from our property.  I have literally fed our family of three for the cost of the tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  The rest of it (including spices) was from our property.  Well, except for the wine or beer - I can't seem to grow grapes or hops.

HATE:  Money goes out the window.  Just when I saved up enough to go on a cruise to the Caribbean, the well ran dry.  I spent our cruise on another source of water.  I easily spend $100 on fuel every two weeks for all the mowers, tractors, weed eaters it takes to keep this place from looking like a hovel.  The tractor costs more than every car on our property put together.  We have two lawn mowers, one of which has been on it's last leg for a good five years, but I can't afford to replace it  The cute chickens that are supposed to be providing enough eggs to sell for their grain, ain't so good at it. (But they're cute - and great fertilizers)

4.  Time

LOVE:  I love the idea that I can choose to be outside, getting my hands in the dirt, moving plants around, making things grow and produce, watching the hens scratch for bugs and grubs in fresh tilled soil and just flat out "wasting" the day away in the great outdoors.  (Wasting is in quotes because none of this is wasting a day!).  I can spend as much time outside as the weather and my body allows.

HATE:  Time goes out the same window that money goes out (or maybe a whole new open window).  It is all spent on making sure the animals are taken care of, tending to the garden that ripens JUST when you have the week off to go on vacation, or fixing something - anything/everything.  I come home from an eight hour off-farm day of work to another eight hours of mending fences, cleaning coops and weeding the garden.  I feel an incredible amount of guilt when I either go on vacation or just spend a weekend day on my butt, doing nothing.

5.  Productivity - (This ones all mishmashed together)   I love that I can grow apples, onions, carrots, chickens, etc.  I love that I can just go out to the yard and harvest (yes, even the chicken - this is reality) and have food for that moment.  The part that drives me to an ocean front condo is the part where I have to put all that stuff up.  Shelling peas, peeling and coring apples, de-greening (in other words taking the tops off) the carrots, cutting and blanching them to freeze.  All this stuff takes time.  And a lot of it happens during the searing heat of summer when the house is always hotter than outside.  Either that or fall, right when school starts and everyone is swamped.  I love having the stuff in the freezer; I just wish it would teleport from the garden to the shelf.

As with most things in life, there are good parts and bad parts of everything.  The grass is always going to be greener where you are not, so keep that in mind when you are choosing your locale.

1 comment:

  1. It is so super satisfying, though! I really liked this blog post, as I feel the same way about our little hobby farm, just on a smaller level. You are so busy!