Apple Tree Farm –that’s what we call our place here in rural Oklahoma. It’s really kind of a joke since it isn’t truly a farm and we only have one apple tree. But it is 40 acres of lovely property in the country with the potential to be a small farm. I no doubt watched too many episodes of “Little House on the Prairie” but homesteading has always had a romantic appeal for me. A garden, a few chickens, maybe a cow. Sounds rather idyllic, doesn’t it? Well, not to my sweet hubby. His dream is a house on the golf course, a pool in the backyard, and a gardener.
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David does, however, love his wife and children and want what’s best for them. That is how we ended up in the country over eight years ago. We were homeschooling our kids and for reasons I can’t exactly remember right now, I had this idea that living in the country would be better for homeschoolers. Since this was just prior to that non event — Y2K–the possibility of society screeching to a halt and forcing everyone to live like the Ingalls probably played a role, too. In any case, we purchased this beautiful place with lots of potential. Potential for enough work to keep us busy indefinitely!
We’ve made lots of improvements, done lots of remodeling, and done more mowing than we could have imagined. Sometimes it’s been a bit overwhelming and discouraging, but other times we are enchanted with our private little world out here (especially when we get the opportunity to see deer or other wildlife). It is heavily wooded and the house is not visible from the road. As we drive in on our gravel driveway, it is like leaving the rest of the world behind. I wouldn’t say it is exactly quiet but the sounds we hear are birdsong and cicadas.
David has been a really good sport about all this and even agreed to let me get chickens last spring. Just in case you are thinking about doing the same thing, allow me this small warning. If your daughter is getting married in May you might reconsider getting baby chicks in March. They won’t be old enough to move outside until well after the wedding which means out of state relatives just might question your sanity when they realize one of your guest rooms is a baby chicken nursery.
Now that the chickens are outdoors, they really aren’t much trouble. We’ve had dogs that were a lot more work and they didn’t give us eggs in return. Even David has had to admit that chickens were not such a bad idea. And he is all for letting me plant a few tomatoes. He even built me a very nice raised bed for them.
On the other hand, think long and hard before agreeing to buy a horse for your 13 year old daughter. Even if a good friend/neighbor has a nice pasture and graciously lets you keep the horse there free. It will seem like a good idea at first. Horse crazy young girls don’t have time to be boy crazy, too, and that makes daddies happy. But at some point a very special boy comes along and even a horse can’t compete. In our case, the daughter meets an older boy and they decide to get married. Of course they can’t yet afford a place in the country with horse facilities so the horse gets left behind for mom and dad to take care of. Which isn’t much of an issue until the dear friend/neighbor sells her property and suddenly you have about two weeks to come up with another plan.
And that is why David has spent every spare moment of the past few days clearing a section of our heavily wooded land in preparation for a horse. He’s dealing with it better than I would have expected. I’ve convinced him that having a good place for horses will make our property more valuable whenever we decide to sell it. In fact, we are giving serious thought to, and making plans toward that time. It will most likely be at least 5 or maybe 10 years from now but that should allow us enough time to make this place the perfect country hobby farm/estate. Of course, at that point we might not want to leave!