Thursday, February 4, 2010

Our Audacious Hope

It's funny how the origins of our biggest adventures or fondest dreams can become shrouded in memory. For years now, my husband and I have dreamed of moving to his home farm. We have talked about it endlessly, uprooted ourselves from an easier life, and steered toward the farm as if it's the North Star. Planting ourselves on that patch of land is The Big Goal of our life right now. But despite all this importance, I couldn't tell you how or when this process all began. It's such a part of us now, that it seems as if it's always been there.

And it's not just a nice house in the country we're after. We have in mind a whole new life, all of which is untried and will be years in the making. We're quite insecure about falling on our financial faces or having to awkwardly say "Oh, that didn't work out" when asked how the farm's coming. It's frankly scary to speak your dream out loud, for fear that it's foolish or no one will understand or we'll just be failures. But at some point one needs accountability and audacity. So, here goes.

We see a charming farmhouse on the crest of a gentle hill overlooking fields rolling to the horizon. This part of the Grand Scheme is dearest to my heart.
I want a house in which I can look around me and feel that it is all I could possibly want--not that it would take that much house to satisfy me. Think farmhouse, not McMansion or country manor. If truth be told, I would fantasize that Country Living magazine, over which I have sighed for years, would choose our home for a feature article. I'm dreaming lavishly here.

Next comes the farm, with the whole goal of it to be participating in a local food network. In addition to the mandatory garden, we'd like to raise cattle, pigs, and chickens which would furnish our own meats and provide farm product to sell. Hubby plans to attend grazing school in the spring in preparation for this animal husbandry. We're also doing lots of reading up on the latest new/old thought on sustainable farming. We'll have to build whatever barns or outbuildings we need, as there is only one three-sided shed on the property right now. We'll plant fruit and nut trees, and possibly keep bees for honey. We hope to mostly feed ourselves, but we don't have to do it all. If another local farmer is doing something well that we're iffy on launching, then we can support our community's farmers and still achieve our goal of eating locally.

After the farm is established, I hope to add a couple of Bed and Breakfast guest cottages overlooking the garden and The View. (As soon as it's not muddy, I'll post a picture of the vista we hope will greet us every morning for the rest of our natural lives.) Dinner at the Big House will also be offered, using our own meats and produce. Paying guests will support the farm and give me an outlet for my culinary skills and domestic drives. I also feel a sense of mission about having guests that has nothing to do with practicality or money. So many people feel the need for a quiet place in which they can truly relax, rest, and hear their own thoughts, or perhaps just hide from the world while their soul catches up with their body. I've stayed somewhere like that and left inspired. I want to offer that experience to others.

Another possibility down the road is adding a multi-purpose building that could be used for retreats, meetings, small weddings, cooking classes, or other events. It could also, in our wildest USDA un-approved fantasies, house our Farm Store full of grass fed meats ready for purchase in already-cut form, for those who aren't able to take the plunge into whole or half animal buying. I have read about this advance in food sourcing in other areas. It's only a matter of time before this wave of the future reaches us. We want to ride it.

If we make it all the way, My Beloved can be a farmer/artist, rising with the sun to care for his animals and spending the rest of the workday in his study happily drawing. I'll be the innkeeper/chef/farm manager--at the least. There's still a lot of room for developments not decreed by us and many forks in the road yet to be reached. We have no way to predict what fruit our efforts will bear, but forward we go toward the call.
We may be insecure about making it all come true, but the alternative is stagnation and regret. We'd rather go down swinging for the outfield.

Julia Cameron, an artist who has written many books on creativity and the artistic process, advises not to broadcast all your baby ideas as soon as they are hatched. She believes they need private nurturing before their debut into the world. Well, surely two or three years counts. We've nursed this little darling at home. We've let close friends and family hold her. Now it's time to share her with the world.

Besides, if I remember correctly, Julia gave that advice to protect fledgling ideas from premature criticism that might break their tender heads while they still have soft spots. There comes a time, after they've been properly prepared, to let our heart's precious offspring out into a world that isn't always cruel and torturous. It can sometimes be amazingly supportive as we take the first wobbly steps toward our dreams, if only we will take them.

And take them we have. We've sold the house, packed up, moved to the country, and now declared our intentions. It took many startings over to complete that last part. Sometimes statements closest to the heart are the hardest to make, like the first "I love you." But it's out now, and it feels good. Your move, Universe.

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