For one, it's too cold. That's what I always said. That was before I had experienced the ice storm of a century in 2011 and now the polar vortex of 2014. I like the sun and desert heat. Here's where I live now. I think it's called Canada:
Another reason I would never do what I did a few years ago (leave the Southwest to make a home next door to my parents in Indiana): I'm not really a "hands-on" kind of person. I'm an academic. I bump into walls. How convenient.
Our move here seems abrupt in many senses. In the space of three weeks, we went from admiring the little house we were renting in a cute Arizona town to negotiating the purchase of 21 acres in Indiana. But while our move here was sudden, the decision was weighed carefully. James found a way to work from Indianapolis and I was ready for a radical life change of this sort. I wanted to live on a farm--I braced myself for the mental and physical strain and for the disappointments that inevitably come to those who suddenly decide to do something they know nothing about. I hoped I would weather the trials and stay for the long haul, but I knew moving here was an adventure worth trying either way. Spoken like someone who can afford the luxury of trying and failing, I realize. (I have mad respect for those who go all in, who commit to living off the land, build small farms and take real financial risks. I understand their hunger if I don't share their audacity. Many of us grew up far from a life that asked us to make physical sacrifice, and we want to live, damn it!)
But I want to tip my hat to those folks, just a couple generations ago, who were born into a life of farming, whose hardships were not voluntary. Here's my maternal grandmother and her brother, who grew up on a farm my great-grandpa described as "saved" by the New Deal:
|Aren't they cute?|
|Awww.... Despite her genuine smile in this picture, she says keeping chickens was "gross."|
And here is my husband James's paternal grandmother:
|Apparently the kids tried to neutralize the goat smell with perfume.|
Sometimes, people do hard work in brutal conditions because they have no choice. I've been so fortunate: I have had a choice, and until October of 2010, I chose to avoid discomfort and hard physical work. Now, I have put myself in a position where, at least in the past few days, I have had no choice but to live here, endure power outages, be chilled to the bone, and do farm chores all while recovering from a nasty cold (but who's complaining?). Maybe I can allow myself to speak of "life on the farm" from time to time.
I have stood ankle-deep in pine shavings and chicken poop. I've been out in one degree weather filling a five-gallon bucket with water from a frost-free water line for the hens.
|James took this photo from the kitchen window|