Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It all started as a joke actually

The yard where it all would have begun.
"We ought to get you a few chickens to go back in that barn," my husband said to me as he laughed.

"Yeah, right," I replied, then joined him in his laughter at the absurdity of the idea.

My husband had grown up on a farm. I had grown up in the city. My closest experience with farming was through my grandparents who raised crops on a few acres outside of town.

I fondly recall helping unearth the potatoes with my brother and cousins after Grandpa had driven his red tractor through the garden when we were kids. I can still smell the dirt on my hands, and I can see him peering over his shoulder back at us smiling. He always smiled at us, even if he was trying to be tough.

Now in their eighties, Grandma and Grandpa are still raising those crops on the very same land.

My husband's suggestion to raise chickens came as we were moving from a large city to the rural area where he had grown up. The barn was in the back of a five-acre property we were renting at the time, the one you see pictured here.

Though we laughed quite a bit at the imagery of me running around the yard, bent over at the waist, arms outstretched trying to catch some disagreeable chicken and getting frustrated by it, the idea of raising chickens stuck with me.

I imagined the practicality of having fresh eggs just outside my back door, and I thought about the journey of trying something completely unexpected and undoubtedly challenging.

What was most appealing, though, was the elimination of a middle man, of going straight to the source for something meant to keep me alive. It somehow made sense of the world. 

I would spend the next few weeks looking through the Murray McMurray catalog I'd ordered, borrowing books on raising chickens from the library and reading the forums on Backyard Chickens.

Occasionally looking up from a book, I would share with Gary some fact about raising chickens when his NBA game had gone to commercial.

His family had raised chickens on their farm, so I'm not sure which "facts" he'd known already, but he always was a willing listener.

We began to think of other animals we could raise on the small property, too.

Life ended up having other plans for us, though. We never had the chance to raise those Buff Orpingtons on that land, as we had an opportunity to own a home in town. I said not "goodbye" to the dream, but "see you later."

So, here I am. Living in town with no property to farm. So why am I blogging about farming? Because we do plan to start that small farm and there is a plethora of stories to tell along the way, including being able to raise a few chickens where we live now and growing my grandma's heirloom tomatoes and other crops in the backyard.

This is just the beginning of my story. And the most interesting part of any story is often how you get there.



I enjoyed reading your article, and I hope you're able to realize your hopes of being able to have some land to farm someday soon.


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