A little over a year ago, I made the mistake of saying, “I cant wait until we can move to our farm and live a simple life.”
I am hear to tell you those 3 words…”the simple life” does not exist on a farm. Im not sure who started that saying and assumption. Obviously someone who did not grow their own vegetables, make their food from scratch, raise their own meat, etc…
It has been on my mind for a while. I think the thought came to me in the spring when we were tilling up our huge garden by hand because a tractor is just not in our budget just yet. And as I carefully planted each seed and nurtured it for weeks and months before I even got anything back, I thought this is far from simple. This is complex. Each seed is differnent, requires different soil conditions, different fertilizers, different light, different companions, and so on and so forth. It took so much time to figure it all out. And we are still figuring most of it out.
You see, to me, “the simple life” would be to go to the grocery store to buy all of these things. The “simple life” is going to the store to buy eggs vs. shoveling poop, hauling fresh water and food to them every day, making sure their nesting boxes are full of bedding, and making sure your coop stays clean for the sake of some fresh eggs. You begin to name your chickens and learn their personalities. Yes, they have personalities. And you develop an attachment to a few special ones. Why, yes, it is easier to go to the store and pick up a carton of “cage free” or “free ranged” eggs from a shelf that plants and idea in your head that you are getting fresh “farm” eggs when they are really 6-8 weeks old by time they get to that shelf and even those “cage free” chickens never set food on a blade of grass. That is a “simple life.” Raising chickens is not simple. Its hard work. But the satisfaction of feeling an egg while its still warm in the mornings cannot be beat. Having eggs on my counter, knowing exactly where they came from and that they are really do come from a flock of free ranged chickens balances out all of the hard work we put into it.
The “simple life” is going to the grocery store when some fresh veggies are needed. Or a can of tomato sauce for spaghetti sounds nice. Or when I need some beans for chili. But this assumption that we are living the “simple life” means that we worked for months before we got to harvest our fresh veggies all grown from a simple seed. And that we spent hours weeding the garden to keep from using pesticides to make sure we have organic foods. The simple life is not spending hours in the kitchen until you break a sweat from chopping and canning those vegetables so when that feeling for spaghetti hits, you have fresh sauce that came right from your front yard. Everything from the herbs to the tomato’s. The simple life is buying that bag or can of kidney beans for chili and picking up a package of meat that came from a slaughter house. When we planted our kidney beans in the spring we have been envisioning eating that chili on a cold day. The meat either from bear or venison that really does live in the wild and has had a life just how it should. The “slaughter house” is this case per say, is my kitchen and the only hands that ever touch the meat is my husbands and my own. It never leaves our farm. That is the real organic meat. So that one meal has had MONTHS of preparation. Not just a 5 minute drive to a store and an hour or so of simmering on the stove. That, to me, is a simple life. What we are doing is far from simple and I was so silly to think that it would be any different.
So I’m going to take my 2 little cans of kidney beans that came from countless weeks of growing, Im going to store them in the pantry until we have the fresh game to go with it, and I am going to really enjoy that chili knowing we grew every bit of it from our own hands and that my husband spent a huge amount of energy on hunting the meat for it. While a bag of $1.97 bag of beans from Wal-Mart would be way simpler, it will not come with the same satisfaction as growing each of these beans. That pride and satisfaction can not be purchased. he memories made for my children of sitting on the porch shelling beans with me cannot be picked up on a shelf. The lessons of patience and hard work cannot be a put on a grocery list. That makes all of this worth it. And that is far from simple.