Many years ago, I went through a phase when I sort of wished I lived on a farm. But when I dug deep into this desire, I realized I only thought of “farm” as a noun, and not as a verb.
To farm – the verb- would mean getting up at the crack of dawn and feeding or milking various animals, collecting eggs and gathering vegetables and swatting mosquitoes. And that’s just the first hour of the day.
I figured that I really just liked the idea of a farm – the adorable red barn (that would never need repairs) and the acres of lush green with little animals grazing (it would never snow) and most of all the farm fresh food that I would turn into healthy, delicious meals at the end of every day.
I would love the scenery, the spaciousness, the sunsets, the quiet. It would be a great place to raise our children, I thought. The nature! The freedom!
But I wanted a farm without actually having to farm. I’ve had a bad experience with chickens. I like to spend my early mornings writing. I don’t exactly love getting dirty.
“I think you want to be a farmer’s wife”, my husband said.
“Probably not even that”, I responded. ” I have issues with canning.”
Once I tried fermenting some vegetables. When it was time for me to loosen the lids on the jars I’d carefully placed in the basement, I could not get them off. I was home alone with my future sauerkraut and simply could not get the lids off, not matter how I tried.
I worried the glass jars would explode. I imagined shards of glass and shreds of cabbage bursting violently into the air, the smell of vinegar and rotting vegetables taking over our home.
I called my husband to ask if they might indeed explode. He has a chemical engineering degree, so obviously he should know.
He told me they wouldn’t. I didn’t think he sounded sure enough, so I kept a safe distance, treating the jars like angry house guests that might blow their tops, quite literally, at any moment.
I’ve long since given up my farm fantasy. I can buy locally grown produce at farmer’s markets, at least in the summertime. I can find beauty all around me, in the plants and trees and art. It is easy for me to seek out quiet. I continue to spend my early mornings writing.
Occasionally, I still wonder what it might’ve been like to raise our daughters so close to nature, on some vast piece of land that feeds the soul. But I’ve also wondered what it would’ve been like to raise them in the city, surrounded by culture and diversity and subway systems.
Alas, every choice means saying no to something else.
And every farm needs a farmer.