Once Upon a Homestead

I grew up in the Twin Cities. Since then, I’ve lived in Montreal, Ottawa, and two different suburbs. I’ve only been to a handful of farms. I’m a city girl through and through; I’ve got no rural skill sets to boast of.

Yet, I’ve always wondered what it would be like, to live out in the country. When I was a little girl, my best friend and I would dream about starting our own farm. We agreed we would have to divy up the work, so I said I’d take the crops. I immediately started my research by reading the section about vegetables in my dad’s giant gardening book and waiting impatiently for my marigold seeds to grow. I’m not sure what spurred this interest – maybe that old picture of a serene farm that hung in my bedroom or my obsession with Little House in the Prairie? Neither of my parents came from the country. Whatever the bug was, I think my sister had it too. She spent a year in university studying agricultural engineering with a bunch of farm boys from Wisconsin.

Even today, when the possibility comes up, my heart literally aches in desire to give it a try. Which, all in all, may be a disaster. But maybe not. As I’ve become more and more conscious of where my food comes from, I become more and more invested in growing it myself. I figured someday I’d live in a decent suburban house with a big backyard, half of it taken up by a vegetable garden. But what about having egg-laying hens? Bees for honey and beeswax? Dairy goats? These are other aspects of country life I crave and, while the recent urban farmer movement shows it’s not impossible in a city, it’s still not ideal.

What about wandering through the woods and learning what on your property is edible or poisonous? What about hosting a big farm party in the summer with loved ones spilling out of guest rooms and sprawling on the couch? What about raising sweet babies to understand where their food really comes from?

Maybe I’ll never own a farm, and I’m sure I’ll have a happy life without. But I can’t give up dreaming about a little homestead to call my own.

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