I decided that I must not be the only person who occasionally wonders where his head was in the decision to move from the city in search of the better life for family. Don’t get me wrong. I love what the 6 acres have provided my family. All things considered I would never go back to the 1/2 duplex with the neighbours looking over my fence, dogs pooping on my lawn, kids perennially whining “I have nothing to do” which I have learned is code for “let me sit and do video games all day” and other questionable experiences of urban life.
I hope this blog provides some insight, even inspiration to all of us who have jumped into the hobby farm life. A life complete with dysfunctional animals, barely functional equipment, children now afraid to whine “I have nothing to do” lest you pull out the chore list and your loving spouse who quickly and eagerly realized the benefits of gender role stereotyping (That’s a blue job dear”). Especially when it’s below freezing.
I have learned that definitions of what is a hobby farm are far reaching and diverse. Distilled down though, I believe it should have one or both of the following.
It should have animals on the property that would not go over too well in the city. Have dogs? Big deal. That just makes it a country property. Chickens? More like it. Horses? Perfect. Rest assured that the animals don’t need any utilitarian or pecuniary value, just can’t have them in the city. We have horses; 1200 lb fruit flies that follow me everywhere on the property. Had chickens-in the freezer now. That’s another story. Consider a donkey. Never get away with that racket in the city.
It could also include growing things. A true hobby farm has to be growing enough to make your neighbours and coworkers either delight or cringe when they see the plastic grocery store bags full of strange green things. By the way, the first step to hobby farm life is to stop paying for zucchini. For crying out loud, we can’t give it away fast enough. Find one of us-tell us to lie to you. Then believe us. You’re on your way.
Doesn’t matter what you grow. Just has to be too much of it for the family. A fundamental shift in human social evolution was agrarianism. The ability to grow a surplus beyond subsistence. Helped to feed urban folk. Led to big cities. They need us. Taunt them with your surplus.
This is an exploration of this lifestyle hopefully with two outcomes. One, it may enlighten, even entertain with the foibles of this life. Second, it may provide me with some writing therapy in response to the craziness and irrationality of hobby farm hell.
Anyway, I hope to let you know of the vices and virtues of life on a pretend farm. How can we cope with the frenetic dichotomy of rural life after all day at work in the city? What is needed; what is not needed. What to do with kids and spouses. Admittedly, I will be speaking as a husband and a father; as a male, because that is what I am. This means the fairer sex may at times question my interpretation of reality. Get over it-it’s my reality. I do though hope it may help in understanding the quiet desperation of us men in what at times is an overwhelming venture.