I hear it a lot. "Your blog and your Instagram (@xoxofarmgirl) are such a great escape for me!" Do you feel that way? What's funny is that it's an escape for me too.
I grew up in a small college town in North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and moved to New York City on a lark in 1989. I didn't mean to stay, but I met my husband in short order and never left. I have very vivid memories of my childhood -- playing in creeks, exploring the woods, and making forts out of piles of pine needles (oh the chigger bites!). But 30 years in New York City can convince you that you are a city girl.
In 2008, my husband and I (and our two kids and soon thereafter a new puppy) bought a place in the country and fixed it up. Soon, we got chickens. Then bees. Then three goats for my daughter's birthday and then a donkey. Plus a companion donkey for the first one. It all happened pretty quickly and with, I must admit, pretty much zero planning. I call it my accidental farm.
For ten of our 12 years here, I have played a very hands on farmer on the weekends and for longer stretches on school breaks and summers. My neighbor pitches in when I am not here. I muck stalls, plan for deeply snowy winters, serve as a junior vet and barn/coop architect, source the best hay, and love the animals. It is thoroughly satisfying. It is also the initial inspiration for this blog. Funny things happen on any farm and this one is no exception. Even funnier things happen when a junior farmer, such as myself, makes mistakes. Leave a door ajar and the goats ransack the feed room. It's happened more than a few times.
Back to you. Maybe you live in a city full time. Maybe you ride an elevator up 20 stories to your office and have a schedule of conference calls and spreadsheets to tend. Maybe you drive a truck for a living with long stretches of highway between one bedtime and the next. Maybe you live in a suburb and drive from grocery store to mini mall running errands. No matter your home, I am pretty sure you have a country side.
When people visit my farm, they are immediately drawn to the animals. The donkeys are fuzzy, curious, affectionate and goofy. The goats are impressive with their long curved horns and sideways eyes. The chickens inspire conversations about eggs -- how often they lay, the role of roosters, the parallels between bird and human reproductive systems -- every time.
The nature that surrounds the barn is equally impressive. Hawks. Eagles. Bass and trout. Bear, bobcat, deer, coyotes and fox. A hike here usually unearths at least one of these neighbors.
Here is what I am getting at. Your country side. The one you admit or the one you keep hidden. The one that longs to connect with trees and streams. The one that eagerly trades the honking and sirens for a trickle of water and rustling leaves. The one that wants to be friends with a donkey or a bee. To taste the honey directly from a hive or to marvel at the very orange yolk of a truly free range chicken.
This is what I want to talk to you about. Your country side. Please send me a note (firstname.lastname@example.org) or a photo or something that tells me about your country side... a few words, a picture, a poem... anything. If you are on Instagram, tag me @xoxofarmgirl and use the hashtag #showyourcountryside I will be between here and the barn, waiting to hear from you.
xoxo Farm Girl