I didn't grow up on a farm with cows, pigs, or other animals although I have cousins who did! I grew up between cornfields in various places in Central Illinois. The "home" that stayed constant was my Great Grandpa Quick and Grandpa & Grandma Quick's place. With an acre or two between the houses, apple trees, pear trees, wild grapes, Grandma's garden, multiple climbing trees and surrounded by fields that grew corn or soy beans or whatever crop was being rotated that year it was a kids paradise.
In the last couple of years my Grandpa Quick has been reminiscing about his growing up years in that same spot. "This is where the cows were, there were apple trees here then too, not the same ones most of them.", and "I remember mom putting cottage cheese out hanging on the clothes line." He didn't say if he liked the cottage cheese or not though! He's planting trees and watching birds now in the area where cows once grazed. His dad raised bees and chickens and sold them to the people in town. He remembers the wagon coming out to pick up the chickens to take into town to sell.
My dad's parents, Grandpa and Grandma Burks had moved into town by the time I was old enough to remember, but my dad remembers his family farm. He remembers playing on the farm fondly. He used to drive us past the house where he grew up. I remember the longing to still belong there, wishing it were still part of our family.
Through the years my mom had a couple of opportunities to raise chickens. I have memories of throwing eggs we weren't sure were still good, at the trees in the gulley. I remember how the chickens smelled. I remember how they pecked me when I tried to get their eggs. I remember plucking feathers and chasing the headless ones around when it was time to put them in the freezer for food instead of eggs.
Now I live in town. I can get to Walmart in less than five minutes and buy eggs, milk, butter, cheese, chicken (I don't from Walmart!), or anything else my little heart might desire. Except I can't buy country.
Last night I couldn't sleep. We're out of bread. So I started a loaf of whole wheat. It went over well. Before noon today it's gone and the girls are asking for more. So I've started a bigger batch.
As I was kneading the bread on my counter my mind drifted. Aunt Mary's yeast rolls, my mom's amazing cinnamon rolls, what it would be like to have cows and chickens. Not that far a stretch when you remember where my mom grew up and know that Aunt Mary lived on a working farm until just a few years ago when necessity moved her in town. She grew up on the same farm land my mom did, she's my grandpa's sister. I've been on farms. I know it's not romantic. Cows smell. There are flies everywhere. Chickens smell worse than cows.
What I long for is to have that opportunity though to just try it. I want to see if we, Tim and I, could do it. Not have a farm to make money. That is hilarious to most anyone who knows about farming! But to have a farm that would provide for our family. Milk to make cheese, butter, cream, icecream and other things with. I don't like milk so drinking it is low on my dream list. Chickens for the girls to care for and eggs to harvest. We've been blessed with a friend who shares hers and we love it! A plot for a garden large enough to grow food to feed our family, not just to play with.
I know that all that spells work. LOTS of work. Hard, hot, sticky, messy, work that isn't a single bit romantic. Yet still I want it. God knows me better than I do and at this time that's not an option for me. Maybe someday it will be but for now, for today I will be content with making loaves of bread and day dreaming.
You can take the girl out of the country, she might not even grow up there, but in her heart, in who she is there will always be a desire for that simple life.