As Nietzsche said, "that which does not kill us makes us stronger." No truer words describe the attitude needed to raise and grow food for human consumption. Coming from the city there were a lot of adjustments we needed to make in order to transition to rural life on a farm. We thought having lived in a rural area for thirteen years prior would have prepared us some what. The first five years tested us mentally, physically and spiritually.
When you compare learning how to live in the city versus living in rural America there are some glaring differences and then there are the subtle ones. Like critters - in the city you have squirrels, cats, dogs, rats, mice, insects and the occasional raccoon, deer and opossum. In the country there are the same plus skunks, fox, bear, coyote and the rest of the wildlife Western Maryland has.
Animals are animals, no matter where you are. You need to be careful around all of them. In the city you’re more likely to be bitten by a stray dog as being sprayed by a skunk in the country. If asked five years ago would I be within five inches of a live skunk, I would have responded, "No way, no how." Not only have I been that close to one skunk I've had three close encounters. We had set traps to catch groundhogs, only to find skunks like sweet corn too. I also learned how to let the skunks out without alarming them and without having to sleep in the barn for a week.
I think the most glaring difference when comparing and contrasting the two environments would be snakes. Snakes have such a negative association that most people cringe at the mere mention of the word. Then actually seeing one sends chills through the spine. As bad as rats are in the city, I think snakes create a stronger reaction when seen. Not only are snakes prevalent on a farm they tend to gravitate towards existing structures. Unless you have pigs or so I’ve been told. When I was talking to the farmer down the road about snakes he told me that if I got pigs, I’d find that the snakes would disappear.
When we found snake skins in the basement of the house we said, "if we find them on the first floor then thats it". When we found them in the first floor bathroom we said, "if we find them in the living room then thats it". When we found them in the living room we said "if we find them in the bedroom then thats it". Then BC found one in the master bedroom (see: Where Else Would Rather Be)
We found that our tolerance changed that nature and the environment helps ease you into those transitions before you are aware. I guess some people would have moved out after the bedroom horror but we had a Godsend in BC. I know I write about how hard things are and what difficulties we often face as well as point out how things are not easy. But I count my blessings every day and I appreciate the life I have. We've been given an incredible opportunity here and we are trying our best to make it work.
I've learned that life is precious, that things can be taken from you in an instant and tomorrow is nothing but a possibility. I've learned patience and that I am mentally and physically stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. I've been given a chance that not many people are given and for that I am immensely grateful. I've met some incredible people that have a real passion for what we do and they are an inspiration.
Things don't always go as planned and life is hard and that doesn't change just because you've moved from the city or you live on a farm. I've seen the beauty that nature brings, like a night sky so crystal clear you feel like you could reach out and touch a piece of it. I brought my wife outside to view. As driven as you have to be in order to do something so hard, I'm as much humbled by a simple act of thanks or expression of gratitude from our supporters and customers.
Life on a farm is hard and there is no way around it. You sacrifice yourself, your time, sometimes your well being and your vacations. But God love all the people that have chosen to rise above all the negative in an effort to strive for something better for our local communities, environment and animals.
Buy Local - from a farmer not a chain advertising "Local"