I’ve been trying to write this post for a few days, but every time I start it, my heart starts to ache a little and I can’t really get out what I’m trying to say. I recognize that sounds a touch dramatic, given what I’m about to write about. But this is something so precious to me—so tender to the touch it feels a bit like a blooming bruise. But I wanted to share it with you, for this is my dearest dream—my ultimate goal, my heart’s calling.
This is what I turn to when I despair about the state of the food system in America, when I hear about rising epidemics of diabetes, obesity, heart-disease, and cancer (that could be changed with a return to a natural food system). When politicians forget why they’re in office. When our population idolizes the fabric wrapped around one waif but forgets about the thousands of people going quietly insane for want of a morsel of human affection. When I feel it cannot possibly get any worse, we cannot sink any lower or possibly do more harm or be any more selfish. At the end of the day, after all this, after I’m exhausted from being infuriated by traffic and entitlement and rudeness, I disappear to this oasis of hard work and delicious rewards. I travel a few miles outside the pavement, and go home to my little farm.
It isn’t real, not yet. The lovely little homestead I cuddle close whenever I’m near sleep, or staring off into space, or riding my bike, or cooking my food or or or ANYTHING is still just a dream. It’s the vision that makes me heartsick with longing. I can’t paint it just yet—it’s more a collection of little dreams, little embers that warm my soul. They’re the juiciest tidbits of a hard-working life, but they are what I’m looking forward to, the little balls of dream-wax that stop up all the nastiness and ugliness that tries to get in through my weak spots during the day. Tidbits and wax-balls like:
A big brown dairy cow, big soft eyes and big soft ears, pulling up mouthfuls of sweet green grass.
Working on my hands and knees amongst the tomato and squash plants in the dying sunlight, trying to get one more row tended to before I have to go in.
Making butter from the milk my cow gave me this morning.
Tossing kitchen scraps to the fat orange pig , and a little more to my quiet murmuring chickens.
A basket of eggs, hued in a range from cream to nutty brown.
Hearing the swish of a horse tail and his impatient stamp as he munches on winter hay.
Stack of old tires, full of soil-enriching worms. Worms
. (Who knew I’d get excited about wriggly worms one day?)
A workshop for my furniture refinishing, filled with sawdust and beautiful gleaming rescues.
Nervously approaching the bee-house, covered up so I don’t have an allergic reaction to life. Dripping that honey on my biscuits.
Smelling the rich soil after the rain from my back porch.
Picking bushels of strawberries in the spring and peaches in the summer and apples in the fall. Turning all that delicious dripping ambrosia into strawberry jam and strawberry preserves and spiced peaches and peach preserves and applesauce and apple cider and apple butter.
My sheets, blowing in the breeze, then smelling all that wildness and hot sun as I go to sleep at night. Nothing smells better than line-dried anything.
A lovely old house with wood floors, antique molding, a wide front porch, bead board ceilings, and a wood-burning stove. Braided rugs thrown down, soft big beds with down featherbeds. A big wide kitchen to cook and live in.
Making ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut, bread, pickles, vinegar, vanilla, and chocolate syrup so I never need buy anything pre-made again.
Cellar shelves lined with quarts and pints of beets, okra, jams, jellies, chutneys, pickles, sauerkraut, peaches, apples, strawberries, green beans. Barrels of potatoes, onions, winter squashes. Strands of drying garlic and herbs softly rustling from the ceiling.
Wide green pasture, bordered by woodlands. A peach and apple orchard laden with divinity, the smell of cut grass heavy in the summer morning.
The color of a faded red barn against the October blue of a Texas sky.
The taste and crisp! of September apples, warm and tasting of the sun.
Lying in sweet-smelling hay, watching the dust motes dance in the streaming sunlight.
The wide open velvet sky, dotted with the hundreds of stars I can’t see in the city.
They aren’t grandiose dreams. They aren’t award-winning or earth-shattering. I won’t expect anyone else to love my farm, or understand my love for it, the way I do. But hopefully, lives will
be changed there. People will grow, learn, love, laugh, work, toil, sweat, cry, eat, sleep, sigh, explore, cherish and be cherished. I see it as a place to heal the earth, change perspectives, restore faith, and slow time. I want it to always be a place of comfort for others, a place where your heart sighs with the expectation of peace as soon as it comes into view.
There will always be good food here, but there will also be hard work. There will always be some animal to feed, a stall to muck, eggs to collect, food to be canned, or a fence to be mended. It will take a life-time to achieve. It will not happen tomorrow. All of these things will not happen even in a year, or probably not even in five. It will take an insane amount of money and hope and sweat, but I’m willing to do it. I’m willing to make this what I’m about, because this is what I believe in—-connecting back to the environment God placed us in, doing the best thing for the both of us (instead of just finding the most convenience for ME), and learning how to do the most good with what I’ve got. It won’t be easy, but by God those apricot preserves will be worth it.
I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams. —Yeats