Have you ever turned a corner and found yourself back in a familiar place?
- Gardening season — This is our 3rd summer here in our new home. For the first year, the extent of my gardening was potted tomato plants on my deck. Last year, we tilled a garden and planted seeds but rascally rabbits, deer and all kinds of wildlife ate my hard work. I gave up trying to ward them off. This summer, our plans took on a more strategic approach. Our reasoning was — we didn’t want to work hard at planting, cultivating and weeding just to feed the wild life. So a major investment went into our garden.
- Chickens – Yes, we added chickens to our homestead. We’ve talked about this for some time but this summer we took the plunge into the world of backyard chicken coops. I’m not so into the smell and all that chicken poop! Because seriously… that is all they do. Eat, poop and sleep. They’re like babies multiplied by a thousand. However, chickens don’t have that just-bathed-sweet-baby smell and they have no cuddling qualities. Dave laughs at me because I’m continually scooping poop and saying, “Yuck! They poop and sit in it!” And Dave replies, “Yes, Rachel, they are birds. They are not reasoning beings!” And friend, I hear ya, all that chicken poop is going to make great fertilizer for my garden next year. That thought alone keeps me scooping!
I have been reflecting this summer on how our life turns in circles.
I grew up in Iowa. Not on a farm, but my grandparents owned and operated theirs on the outskirts of town.
A windmill standing tall in a field instantly takes me back. There’s beauty in the symmetry of crops grown in rows. The smell of rich soil is good. The sight of dust and gravel trailing behind a moving vehicle puts me right back into the bumping station wagon of my childhood. There were no seatbelts – just 6 kids piled in the back with the window down and the wind blowing.
I spent weeks of my summer on the farm. Sleeping in the pink canopy bed I wished was my own. Walking the cow path to the farm pond. Sitting on the hill looking towards town and happy I wasn’t in that place of traffic and noise.
I sat in the quiet field, feeling the breeze blow on my face and hearing nothing but nature happening around me.
When I reached high school the idea of getting out of this old town was huge. I couldn’t wait to escape and never return. I mean, who would want to live in such a place when the whole world was waiting to be seen?
I moved to the big city of Minneapolis for college. I loved the city. There were new adventures and so many sites and big city things to do. There were skywalks and traffic jams, city buses and big shopping opportunities. Noise surrounded me continually. I grew accustomed to it. The fire trucks and sirens no longer woke me at night.
After Dave and I married, we moved around a bit. Every couple of years we found a new place to hunker down and call home. When we talked of our dream home, I always spoke of a quiet place away in the country. Far enough from town not to hear it but close enough for running errands.
And here I am again… back to quiet farm days of nothing but nature. Those days of “wanting out” for exploration have circled me around to discovering that the peace of the country is where I most feel at home.
I turned a corner and realized those early days of walking beans, farm pond swimming and picking strawberries in the field served me well and sunk deep into my skin.
Food grown on our own soil tastes sweet and good. Quiet nights with nothing but nature lull me to sleep. And dust drifting up from the driveway tells me someone I love has come home.