February 1, 2015

We Bought a Zoo. Wait, I Mean a Farm.

February 1, 2015
Photo Courtesy: Sharlee Rother Photography (and generous, kind, fun, talented, big hearted friend)
Like most things in life, it all began with a beautiful dream, a dream of land, lots of land!   We were sure of it.   We wanted a huge spread where we could raise our five growing children, tend to a growing menagerie of farm animals, grow our own food, and, of course, own a Big, Over Grown Green Tractor.  It made perfect sense to us to buy a farm.  We wanted to raise our brood in a place where they could learn the way of the pioneers, and witness the circle of life.  Who wouldn’t want their kids to see horses humping in broad daylight  and bloody chicken fights on the patio.   We wanted lots of chickens.  Who wouldn’t want twenty chickens that would provide dozens of delicious fresh eggs for our family and friends.  Who knew that they would also provide more chicken $#%* than a city sewage system can handle?  We wanted a stable full of horses.   Who wouldn’t want to be outnumbered by a bunch of thick headed horses who think that they were placed on the planet to devour our nest egg, toss us to the ground,  and boss around. We wanted a tractor.  Who wouldn’t want to own a lean, green mowing machine.  And we did not want to own just any tractor, we wanted to own the one and only, grand pupa of all tractors, the John Deere tractor.  Forget just wearing overalls and a cowboy hat, or a faded, shapeless dress and an apron.  You just “ain’t” a farmer or a farmer’s wife until you’ve ridden your first hundred miles in the seat of your very own John Deere tractor.

So, with our heads fixed firmly in the cloud of absolute certainty and our feet barely touching the ground, we left the comfort of our cozy neighborhood and claimed our stake to a forty acre ranch, complete with a slightly less than adequate, fixer-upper, 1960's ranch style home, a dilapidated barn, a cranky water pump, and more sand than the Sahara Desert.  Before our new rooster crowed his first morning greeting, our excitement turned into panic.  One thing led to another, but never to the thing we had mapped out in our dream.  Perfect plans crumbled under the pressures of unimagined problems.  Pipes leaked, floors buckled, pumps broke down, deliveries of essential building materials were delayed, equipment was stolen and the rains fell, and fell, and fell some more.   Who knew that sand turns to mud when mixed with copious amounts of water.  

I found myself hiding in our bedroom closet (my bunker when life swallows me whole), asking God what in the world had we done,  why in the world had He let us do it, and  why did He send us horses who obviously missed the memo about who's in charge down here.  What’s done was done.  Our prayers were answered.  Yeah, I know.  Watch what you ask for and then don’t ask.  I'm still learning.

It was time for me to cowgirl up, get tough, leather my hands and get grit on my face (or equine placenta juice, but more on that later).  I dried my tears, focused on my resolve, and drove myself to Atwoods to buy leather gloves, cowgirl jeans (good-bye boutique skinny jeans), real cowgirl boots and a bag of sunflower seeds to spit.  Gone were the days of darling ballet flats, uncomfortable but trendy designer jeans, and pointless accessories.  Fashion took a back seat and determination grabbed the wheel and started driving.  Armed with my Atwoods gear I faced our forty acres and convinced myself that Green Acres was indeed the life for me. 

But I couldn't, and still can't shake the feeling that I am a pickle in a haystack.  Ok, I know that the saying is “a needle in a haystack” but the needle is lost.  I am not lost. I know just where I am.   I am in a pickle, and I am in a haystack.   I know NOTHING about ANYTHING farm related.  Me?  A farm girl?  Unlikely! Very unlikely!  But then, I am still learning. 

1 comment :

  1. Dont worry you will learn fast and make it work. Farm work was new to me too and I embraced it and it has come naturally to us now. At first getting into the swing of things takes some time but with a little grit on your face and a will to learn you will manage in no time. Great!

    Heidi Sutton @ Ag Source Magazine