If you haven’t been following me long you may not know that along with my passion for Paris, I also have a thing for farms. It may have something to do with all those episodes of Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons I watched as a kid. Whatever the reason, there’s a part of me loves the idea of a piece of land with a garden and chickens. And a farmhouse with a real working kitchen where the family’s daily bread is baked and garden produce is “put up” for the winter.
When we bought our place eighteen years ago, Y2K was a topic of interest to many. There was widespread concern that much of what we have come to depend upon in this country would be turned upside down at the dawn of the new century, all because of a computer glitch. We now know that Y2K was a non-event but in the years leading up to it experts really weren’t sure.
Lots of people became convinced that life as we know it would disappear and we would all be forced to return to our grandparents’ ways in order to survive. Personally, I thought those fears were overstated. I felt certain that we have enough smart people in this country to figure things out and get everything up and running even if there was a collapse initially. I did think it was possible that we would experience a short period of problems, though.
This was about the time we got our first computer and I started researching how to do basic things without electricity in case the grid went down for awhile. That led to a fascinating study of the modern homesteading movement. I started printing articles about everything from food storage to raising chickens. I eventually ended up with a 3 inch binder stuffed full of information about homesteading.
We didn’t move to the country because of Y2K but I did figure that if something happened we’d be in a better position to deal with it on our 40 acres with a pond, fruit trees and room for a large garden. After the uneventful dawn of the year 2000 I continued to read homesteading books and message boards because I found the subject fascinating. I amassed a rather impressive collection of books and learned a lot. I bought a wheat grinder and Bosch mixer and began baking our bread from freshly ground wheat. I did a little bit of canning. I grew tomatoes and a few other things. After several years of begging I eventually talked David into letting me get chickens. He will tell you plainly that he is NOT a farmer and has no interest in such things. But even he had to admit that chickens were pretty low maintenance. That is, until raccoons decimated our flock, but that’s another story.
Since writing my post the other day about learning to love my home I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Since it looks like we may be here for the long haul perhaps it’s time for me to get back to thinking of this place as a homestead of sorts again. We jokingly named it Apple Tree Farm when we bought it, despite the fact there were only a couple of apple trees and they have since died. But I could plant some more. I could plant a garden and get more chickens. I could go back to baking all of our bread. In fact, I did bake a couple of loaves earlier this week and I was reminded again of how utterly delicious homemade bread is.