This affection for farmlife really starts back when I was growing up, we had a working cattle farm and lived on several hundred acres. There were horses, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs, cats and I’m told a couple of pigs, which I don’t remember because I was too young.
From a child’s perspective, it was a dream. Lots of space to run and play and not just built forts, but entire cities! We had a pond with trout in it and a leaky old rowboat which we use to reenact the Lady of Shallot scene from Anne of Green Gables. There were hay forts in the barn and trips to the swimming hole. Blackberry picking and endless supplies of wild flowers.
I knew that when I had kids this was going to be my life of choice for them, as well. So after the third child came along we began searching for some land.
It became a joke between my husband and I because everything we looked at seemed “too small” according to me. It’s hard to please someone who is used to hundreds of acres. My poor husband!
We finally did settle on a beautiful plot just shy of four aceres with an original 1906 farmhouse smack dab in the middle of it. That was eight years ago and we have been reviving the house and land ever since.
I have seen my children thrive in this place and now, as an adult, I can better articulate what it is that I love so much about the farm life. There are probably several reasons, but I want to focus on the two biggest benefits for us.
Why We Chose the Farmlife
First of all, there is a certain amount of “Connectedness” that we feel on our farm. Connected to creation, connected to our work, connected to each other.
For example, the seasons are very vibrant and meaningful to us here. I remember working in the city in an office all day and not even really knowing what the temperature was outside or really caring too much what season it was.
Now, we have to know what is going on outside because if winter is coming, we have to finish the harvest before our garden and orchard freeze. We need to get a light out in the chicken coop and condense the bee hives so they can stay warm. We need to haul wood to the porch because we will start heating the house again with the woodstove. The cycles of nature are real to us and are anticipated each time they change.
There is also a simple connectedness in the work that comes along with a farm. The repetiveness and direct benefit you receive from the chores has a therapeutic quality to it.
You chop the wood and you are warmed by the fire. You collect the chicken eggs and get to eat your breakfast ten minutes later. This simple cause and effect is often lost in this day in age. This lesson is especially important for children to understand.
The second aspect that I love about the farm life is how much LIFE you are surrounded by. For children, there is a natural, built-in responsibility that comes with the plants and animals that is very healthy.
I first learned the power of the caring for life when I was a newlywed, my husband was deployed for nine months of our first twelve months together. One of the things that helped me get through my loneliness and depression that year was to transform our apartment balcony into a gorgeous container garden.
Just being needed by something and seeing it flourish because of me was so healing.
In the video I give a tour of the farm and let you meet our animals. . . .
Even it you only start by growing fresh basil on your window sill or decide to get a cat, I highly recommend pursuing the farmlife in whatever capacity you are able for the reasons of connectiveness and life.
We first started by getting three baby chicks, but I must warn you if you give a mom a chicken, she is going to ask you for a compost pile. These things have a way of growing on you! 😉