My land consists of a few acres lying down a hill, across a creek and up a hill from my parents home. My brother lives a stone's throw in the other direction from my parents. Never in my life did I think we would be a family compound sort of bunch but it seems to be working out that way. I whole-heartedly blame my dad, who began buying this beautiful land out in the county 12 or 13 years ago and constantly planted suggestions in our heads like Big Brother or those weird recordings in the baby cribs in Brave New World. "Wouldn't you love a house on this spot?" "Your goats would love it here!" and the ever effective, often thrown-about "I'd buy you a horse if you moved near us!" (What is it with some girls and horses? I once promised to clean the house for the pink My Little Pony with the blue mane. Don't recall ever cleaning the house but I do remember that fateful day when mom melted said Little Pony in the dishwasher after she got muddy trampling GI Joes into the yard. Ah, the casualties of war. RIP, pony. You served me proud. heehee)
I am desperate to maintain my autonomy whilst also being able to shout from my bedroom window to my mom on her porch. Fear and trembling, indeed.
After going through a pretty gruesome divorce just over a year ago, my own Wunderkind and I find ourselves in a house slightly outside our means and slightly unsuitable for the life I am dreaming of these days. Don't get me wrong. I love my current house. I wanted to raise a family here and make millions of memories in the hardwood floored-vaulted ceilinged-rough hewn wood trimmed-fireplaced living room. (Dear readers, bear with me in my tendency to over describe and adjective invent. I pray you'll find it more charming than unintelligible.)
In short, it's a great house that I can't afford on a piece of land that can't support my ever increasing menagerie/crops.
So, I'm off to become a homesteader.
The Land, as we've all come to refer to mom and dad's property, is a huge chunk of our county with a little pond and a littler pond and a sometimes streaming stream/sometimes gravel bed. There's room to do so many great things which up til now have gone largely undone with the exception of mowing which has been nearly constantly done by anyone who can sit on a mower or tractor long enough to fight the good fight against ever attacking tall grasses.
I have dreams of fainting goats (Google them!) and sleepy-eyed Highland cows, an apiary and raised bed gardens in every sunny spot. I want enough hens to eat a fresh egg whenever the desire strikes and a compost pile that would make Al Gore dance a jig. (Not because I care what Al Gore thinks. Just because compost is worth celebrating and he knows it. Can't seem to trust a guy that discusses how many toilet paper squares he uses, though. Sorry.)
Sometimes I am a seed-saving, vegetable growing, livestock keeping person because it seems wise in these strange times but most of the time I am because it feels right to have dirt under my fingernails and assorted poop on my boots. Maybe it's God's way of healing me from all the wear-and-tear of a less than joyous marriage and less-than-amicable divorce. Maybe it's my destiny. Or...maybe I'm still just kind of a hippie at heart, although I am pretty sure my membership in the N.R.A. and the Peace Through Superior Firepower sticker on my car make me a really bad hippie that would be unwelcome at many healthfood stores and music festivals. I bet if they saw my compost, they'd forgive me my handguns, though.