Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Down Wit the Farm

I picked up a new read last night and was so excited to get started on it!  I'm a sucker for "city folk relocating to farm" memoirs.  (See also, It Takes a Village Idiot, by Jim Mullen and of course The Pioneer Woman  They all seem to follow the same script.  But I, for some reason, never seem to care. 

These usually start out in the "big city" with a high-powered/high-tech/high-paying job that the writer will begin to feel unfulfilled with by the end of the first chapter.

A weekend trip to the country is what generally begins the inner stirrings.  One half of the married couple will suddenly resign from their high-paced occupation and suggest the permanent move to the other.  There's usually one party involved that takes a little more persuading.  Sometimes there are also children involved.

Most often the writer is capable of easily finding a home in the rural town of their choice and is easily able to unload their prior real estate.  There might be a quirky country-bumpkin realtor involved, but it's always a breezy transaction nonetheless.  New job searches are never mentioned.  There seems to be an abundance of cash flow in these books.  (Of this I am jealous.)

The first week in their new digs is usually the most entertaining.  The new residents never know how to repair their new houses' quirks, who in town they can trust (that answer eventually ending up to be "everyone!"), when the small town stores' hours of operations are or where to find a decent bagel.  There's usually the same (shocking!) discovery of oddly contrasting items being sold in same shop.  Tractor wheels and hairspray.  Fishing tackle and linen table cloths.  Hunting  bows and cashmere sweaters.  You get it...

The remaining chapters will always involve daffy new neighbors, farm animals running amok, unexpected down home hospitality, a bird/bat/rodent/snake found alive somewhere loose in the house and eventually a gradual adjustment to slower paced living and new found familial closeness.

I think I'm a closet city-to-farmer wannabe.  My paternal grandparents lived on a farm while I was growing up and visiting their place was always an adventure.  I loved running through the cornfields and "slopping" the pigs the best!  But, daydreaming aside, I don't think I could end up permanently toughing it out.

Every weekend trip to Amish country, for me, is a full-on experience of relaxing and unwinding.  The steady sound of horse buggies clip-clopping through the streets always causes my mind to wander for a bit.  It's such a different lifestyle in comparison to my home in metro-Detroit.  (The newscast on my last visit to Amish Indiana amused us with its innocence. The most shocking police reports on that particular weekend's broadcast were 1. Someone rudely shoving into another with a box at the local post office.  And, 2. a drunken man found wandering in the street until some kind folks stopped him---worrying for his safety--and called to procure him a safe ride home.)  But, in the end, these getaways always end with me pining for a grease spout attached somewhere to my body to drain my arteries and pores with.  The fantasy always dies with me realizing that I miss my local Target, I require more dining options and I don't really care to live in a house that's forever scented of onions and manure.

Poor me.  I love farm animals so much too.  I'm not squeamish at all about squeezing an udder.  I don't squeal in horror when a hog rubs its cute muddy nose up on me.  I just keep very different hours than these creatures.  They wouldn't want me as an owner.  And, I'd have the worst time trying to eventually eat them.

I do want a mule however.  Not of the equestrian variety, but one of those vehicles you see farmers zipping across the fields on.  Whizzing around from the house to the barn and then to go check on the cattle with.  They look like a work vehicle, but are secretly ATVs.  You know, these things:

I can easily picture myself with a mule-full of nieces and nephews (and possibly cats) cruising around the meadowy terrain. Stopping to pick berries and flowers along the property line and then chasing down the pesky fox that's been terrorizing the chickens.

But, mules and relaxing clip-clops aside, I guess I'm glad to live near the city.  Yeah, I get burnt out in my job too.  And, some days there are too many sirens in the background to hear the tea kettle signal.  But, I have convenience at my fingertips and tourist attractions within a half-hour's drive.  On those days I long for the country, I can always take a short drive to it.  Or, even easier yet, pick up a book!

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