Sometimes I dream of becoming a farmer

Every now and then, I become possessed by a strong urge to sell our house in the town and buy a farm.  I don’t mean a big commercial farm, but a large piece of land with space to garden and keep small animals, like chickens.  I really, really want chickens, ever since my brothers started operating their egg business (please see A Saga of Feathered Fowl).  Even more than that, I want to learn how to grow vegetables, which would be in keeping with my enjoyment of preparing food from scratch and shopping locally.  What could be more satisfying than taking responsibility for my very own food production?

Kids and chickens go well together.

Whenever I suggest this idea to my husband, he shakes his head.  “No way” is his standard response.  He’s a boy born of quintessential suburbia, raised in the concrete sprawl of Mississauga, outside of Toronto, where all the houses look alike and the central focal point is a gigantic mall.  (He gets very defensive whenever I say this, so maybe my narrow description is somewhat unfair.)  His experience of wilderness was a week-long camping trip each summer.

I, on the other hand, am a child of the forest, raised on a lake in northern Ontario with no year-round neighbours and wilderness all around.  I’ve seen more than my fair share of bears, moose, wolves, owls, and beaver over the years, and I can stack firewood like nobody’s business.  Every few months, I’d have an “urban experience” when my parents took me to the city for certain big events.  I’d sit rigidly in the back seat, wide eyes glued to the window as I counted transport trucks, read billboards, spied on the speedometer that reached speeds I’d never seen before, and breathed in the pollution that smelled quite exotic to my unaccustomed nose.

As a result, our notions of normalcy are drastically different.  The fact that we’ve settled in a small town is entirely coincidental – the side-effect of getting a job in this area, and not something that either of us would have necessarily chosen.  It’s all too rural for his liking and almost too urban for my tastes.  If I can’t live downtown Toronto (which I did grow to love, thanks to university), I’d prefer to be on my imaginary farm, surrounded by acres of forest and field, with a pond thrown in to boot, a well-tilled patch of growing veggies, and those feathery little hens, just clucking and pecking around the yard… I can already see them in my mind.

My grandma's garden that I'd really love to replicate someday

Despite my rural roots, I’m not really the farming type.  I know next to nothing about gardening; I’m scared to weed because I really don’t know what to pull up.  I have aspirations to dig up my front lawn and make a garden, but don’t know where to start.  Sometimes I worry I’m not “earthy” enough to be a farmer.  After all, my makeup bag goes everywhere with me, and so does my hair straightener.  Is there such thing as a dressed-up, made-up farmer lady, I wonder?

The one thing I grew successfully, four summers ago, but not good for sustenance!

While the farming dream is unlikely to materialize any time in the near future, I will continue to dream and prod my husband about it when I’m feeling particularly feisty.  I think it’s a good idea, to put ourselves in a position where it’s possible to grow food and raise animals if necessary – not that I’m expecting some apocalyptic disaster that will cut us off from food suppliers any time soon, but just because I like the idea of being more in touch with the earth.

I guess I’m getting “earthier” already!


13 thoughts on “Sometimes I dream of becoming a farmer

  1. I never knew you could stack firewood!!! TOTALLY AWESOME!

    Not that we want you to stack firewood, but you are welcome to visit our woodsy, chicken/alpaca/vegetable/etc farm any time.

  2. If you ever need a place to show off your wood stacking abilities…. LOL.
    But seriously, Kim and/or I can totally help on the weeding front. There’s not too much to it really since a “weed” is just any plant growing where you don’t want it to. You get to decide what you want where and everything else is a weed 😀

    1. But it’s those weeds that grow in and around the plants I want that confuse me! The ones that try to smother and suffocate the good guys, and I’m left not knowing which is a weed and which is a carrot sprout, or a bean sprout, or an onion top. Oh well, I guess it’s one of those things that I’ll only get better at by doing, though I probably will ask for your help once I get something going!

  3. Vegetable gardens are the easiest place to figure out weeds. Since you plant exactly what you want, where you want it, everything else is a weed by default. You have to leave space between the plants so it’s pretty obvious which ones are the invaders. Erik said we can’t live on a farm either, but two 8’x4′ raised beds are a good substitute!

  4. Heh, I know the feeling! Strangely though, I’m city born and raised but I feel its like the song says:
    Oh, but how can words express the feel of sunlight
    In the morning in the hills away from city strife
    I need a country woman for my wife
    I’m city born but I love the country life

    (Ok the country woman thing is just part of the song, not THAT fixated on any such thing! :D)
    Always wanted to do that stuff, thankfully my dads a huge gardening buff despite his urban preferances, so I spent a lot of mu childhood elbow deep in as much dirt and foliage as he could fill on our terrace and around the house.
    Even the place I live now I’ve got a nice garden on my modest little terrace that I love to fill with large green bushes and a pair of small tree’s… maybe it’s because I spent more than half my year till the age of about 12 in Kashmir and even now feel so at home there… who knows?

    Anyway! (I ramble, sorry..) I hope you and your hubby find a good place that allows you both to get what you want – maybe a more suburban locale elsewhere that allows you to have a large enough backyard and such where you can grow all the stuff you want and maybe keep a couple of chickens and he’s close enough to urban sprawl when needed.
    Though I’m fairly certain that as he gets older, the quiet side will be more appealing 😀


    1. Kashmir must be spectacular; I’ve heard it’s a really beautiful place. I’d love to go someday. No doubt that has influenced your love of nature. You can’t help but yearn for the outdoors if you’ve lived somewhere that it surrounds and inspires you on a daily basis. I don’t know that song, but it does do a good job at articulating how I feel about the ‘country life’!

      1. It really is one of those places that when people say stuff like “gods own countryside” you look out and go, “you know, it might just be…” 🙂
        The song is called “Castles in the air” by Don Mclean. One of the loveliest tracks I’ve ever heard, lyrically and musically. He is quite under-rated in a lot of ways.

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