It’s beginning to sink in. We are moving to a farm in 2 short months. My mental space is starting to free up as I complete some of the big projects I’ve been working on over the past couple months. We sold our house and are now renters. I completed the photo book documenting the 5 years our beloved nanny worked for us that I want to give to her as a gift on her too-soon last day. I’m 95 percent done with the “grad book” – a binder if art and photos from the last 2 years of school – for my 5-year old’s preschool graduation. And I’m about 50 percent done with my final drawing for my art class – due in 2 days – the first class on my way to an MFA in painting.
I’ve had a yearning for a simpler life over the past couple years, more close-to-the-earth, further from commercialism and technology. Somewhere along the years, Alec started wanting it too. I’m not sure where it started, but I know it’s been fueled by a lot of reading and eating! There’s nowhere like the Bay Area for eating local and food and eating is one of the things I spend the most time thinking about. I devoured every page of Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Vegetable Mineral. Recently I read The Dirty Life, and while it makes farming seem daunting, it also makes life sound so real and rich.
We don’t actually plan to have an official working farm right away. Though our house does come with lots of outbuildings and some chickens. (Horses too but those are boarders, owned by someone else.) Moving there in July gives me three-quarters of a year to get my bearings and make a plan, which I greatly appreciate.
Right now we have a vague idea of creating a flower and herb farm. We imagine, maybe wrongly, that flowers will be lower-maintenance than vegetables. We will have a garden for ourselves, but large-scale vegetable growing seems beyond us at the moment. Can you imagine 7 acres of flowers out your door? I can and I love the way it looks! I think maybe Miss Rumphius has a little something to do with the vision.
With my mental space freeing up, I went to the bookstore on Friday and poured over the home and garden section. Most likely the San Francisco mall bookstore isn’t going to have the best selection of farm books, but I figured it was a jumping off point. I bought a guide to wild flowers of North America, a book on growing and using herbs, a book on raising chickens, a book on gardening in small spaces (which doesn’t apply to us but it seems to have good basic information) and, for fun, a memoir by a chef turned farmer. If any of these prove to be useful, I’ll list the titles.
I know this is a slow process and I’m trying my best to just let it all unfold. There is no rush. Some of our big dreams include a cow (Wylie), a goat (me), a driveway lined with overarching fruit trees (Alec), canning veggies from the garden in the fall (me), and honey from our own bees (Wylie and I). My fear is that we’ll get there and it’ll be so overwhelming that we don’t do much of any of this and instead spend our days at the gorgeous nearby beaches. Some friends have accused me of having a romanticized vision of farm life. I think that’s true in many ways. But it’s also true that I’m ready for a big change. And my heart says that living on a farm, growing our own food – even if it’s only a little, is going to feel great. Right now I’m just moving forward, with an open mind, and letting it all unfold.