The other day my husband lamented the mud spatters on his jeans as he loaded the kids in the truck for church group.
It’s muddy here on the farm.
And that’s an understatement. It’s a quagmire. A bog. A disaster.
We went from freezing temps and tons of snow to 52 degrees within a week and the earth does not know what to do with all the water. I hate the mess. Hate it. We all have to wear gross farm boots as we walk to the truck with our fancy shoes in hand whenever we go somewhere. Oh – that’s fun with five kids let me tell you. When the snow melts it reveals all our our hillbilly ways that have been hidden by that blanket of white. Tonka trucks, scraps of wood, random feed bags that blew away in a blizzard and wrapped around a tree, a clothespin or two and a Christmas tree that the goats love to nibble on. Looking at this mess it’s amazing to think the farm has one ounce of charm to it because right now it’s rather… embarrassing.
I tried to comfort Joel with his farmy jeans by saying, “We live on a farm. It’s a different world.”
This is totally true.
I often… no... always feel that though we are normal people (OK, somewhat normal) we function in a totally different world.
Living on a farm makes you rather weird I suppose.
People see us coming a mile away. Half my kids look adorable the other half look like total white trash on any given day. I drag them with me EVERY where I go. I am never alone. We make a (subtle) scene. We are “those people”.
We work from home.
We home birth.
We avoid modern medicine until totally necessary.
We raise our own food… or at least a significant amount of it.
We are “those people”.
And we love it.
Pull down the lane to our farm and you enter a “different world”. Or at least… I hope you do. When we drive down the lane and leave the farm we enter a “different world”. As a family we breath a collective sigh of relief when we get back to the farm. We once took our kids to a major family attraction for the weekend and by the evening of the first day the children had concluded (even though they were having a riot!) “We miss Maximus.” (Our rooster.)
It IS a different world.
The moment you cut yourself off from manicured neighborhoods, when you try to disconnect a bit from pop culture, from the rat race, from what other people expect from you… you become liberated.
We live in a culture that is SO obsessed with perfection. And there is no perfection on a farm. Even if it’s a “hobby farm”.
That part is hard for me. I want the picture perfect farm. The perfect barnyard with no empty feed bags, the random garden tools that didn’t get put away… FOUR battery operated child sized vehicles and chicken poop everywhere. I’m being too hard on myself. I know.
Such is life on a farm.
But if you dream of a farm I say to you with all my heart… GO FOR IT!
For five years we prayed and fought for this life. So let me tell you a bit about it…
Thanks to both Hubby and I being self employed we have a bit of flexibility. We stay up late together. Drinking wine, laughing at Jimmy Fallon on YouTube. We snuggle with our babies every morning. After the snuggle-fest we make a huge breakfast and I grumble about my lack of dishwasher. So. Many. Dishes. But in the spring and summer I stare out and admire by Potager during the mundane task. I am grateful for the view. My gardens in our old life were so beautiful but I could not see them from the house…
Our eldest son is THE MAN. He’s up and at ’em on the farm doing his chores. He’s young. He doesn’t get them right all the time but we rely on him and he knows it. He’s not standing at a bus stop. He’s living. He’s caring for animals and watching over his siblings. After his chores he putzes at his workbench wiring and re-wiring. Constantly creating. We are with God’s grace preparing him to be an amazing husband and an entrepreneur.
Our sweet bookworm helps with the chores or plays the piano and then curls up like a cat reading a book on the couch until her school day begins. There is no demand for a “certain cool backpack” or to know who Katie Perry is. She cuddles her baby sister and moves the laundry from the washer to the dryer for Momma. She gathers eggs and herbs for breakfast weather permitting. She’ll get the bread going and on it’s first rise. She can turn a frisky rabbit to a tame lap sitter in about 15 minutes. If Aidan is under the weather she will suit up and go to all his chores to the best of her ability. So sweet.
Our little blond helper sets the table and washings the dishes her Momma was to exhausted to wash from last night. She hollers until someone offers to put them away as her pile grows. She’s a scrappy little thing. She loves to play and will disappear to her own little world of ponies and Barbies. And then she is throwing on an apron BEGGING to help me in the kitchen.
My little Doo-dad. Well, he’s naked. All. The. Time. Lord have mercy on that kid if he ever had to go to preschool. The only way you can get him to keep his clothes on is if he is allowed to go do the chores with his big brother. -15 degrees? He’d never know. He worships at the alter of his big brother. He’s happy to carry a flake of hay or bring me the empty rabbit waterers to fill. Then he’s off to practice his piano… “miss-iss-ippi-hot-dog, miss-iss-ippi-hot-dog, miss-iss-ippi-hot-dog,…”
The littlest would cuddle all day so instead she resides happily on my hip. She’s a Momma’s girl and that’s OK. My biceps are like rocks. Though now with the nice weather I can feel her cutting her apron strings with the longing to go get filthy like the others. Sigh.
Farms are messy. Noisy. Happy and sad. There is life and death. Beauty and chicken crap. You toil so you can appreciate. And in your best moments you appreciate the toil.
There’s no outside water source in the winter so no matter how clean I get my kitchen it’s trashed and smells like “buck” ( you fellow goat farmers know what I mean) by 8 a.m.
Our mud room/porch is just that. A MUD room. Until 20 minutes before company arrives of course.
We watch goat antics from the kitchen windows.
We mourn over the frost bitten combs of our proud roosters.
We miss our barn cats who left us an never came back.
We celebrate with the first harvest and rejoice when we are still eating our home grown potatoes in March.
Life Laura, Mary, Pa and Ma we frantically get cleaned up for church and trips to town – shedding our filthy, hillbilly attire in a vain attempt to impress… to look normal.
Such is life on the farm.
We homeschool. We fight. We character build. We ask for forgiveness.
We pray. We swear. We are together.
We live on a farm.
It is a different world.
We love it and we’ll never go back.
Even if we have to take our kids to church with dirt on our jeans.