Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Origin Story

I was watching The Specials the other day and it got me thinking about my origin story.  No I don't consider myself a super hero.  I was just wondering at what point did this idea come to me, to become a homesteader/farmer whatever you want to call it.

I actually don't remember the exact moment.  I know I've wanted a garden forever but up until Rose Cottage had only lived in apartments.  I have a black thumb when it comes potted plants.  I don't know if I picked something from the library or I stumbled across the country living forums on Mothering.com or what.  It must have happened in the past five years.

When we bought Rose Cottage the plan was to make it our forever home and to make as much of the property into a food garden as possible.  I wanted chickens but they aren't legal there and Limey wasn't willing to break the law.  Besides he also wasn't at all interested in having animals.  The garden we had just made me want to go bigger.  I also started reading homesteading books, lots and lots of books.  It soon became my dream to win the lottery and move to a farm.  It wasn't possible without the winning ticket which made me really sad.  It's depressing to have a dream you know will never come true.  I talked about it a lot but Limey was absolutely not interested.   He's a major extrovert and was very involved in the community.  As much as he liked to garden, the thought of moving somewhere rural made him want to gouge his eyes out.
2006 Three Sisters Planting

2009 Cottage Garden

Early in 2010 there was a subtle change.  We had watched a couple of documentaries on the future of farming and sustainability.  Limey stopped eating chicken because of how they are farmed.  He had always been a workaholic but the rat race was starting to lose it's appeal. 

I remember the exact moment Limey got on board.  We were driving home from the mall.  It was cold and depressing, that moment when you decide winter has been around way too long.  It was a conversation about the weather and how wouldn't it be nice to move somewhere warmer where winters weren't so shitty.  We went home a had a never ending conversation about moving, homesteading and starting a farm business.  We worked out a budget to see if we could afford to move if we sold the house for x amount of money.  I of course had been looking at properties for months, properties that I never thought we would buy. 

Nova Scotia was the only place that made sense.  Southern Ontario is not for me and BC is crazy expensive.   Property in NS was within our budget.   The Valley is a microclimate and it's where all the farming takes place so that's where we centered our search.  At some point Limey flew down to look at the area and to buy a house.  This one was the first one on my list.  Before he came down I had serious doubts about the trip.  I was still not convinced that he would be okay living somewhere rural.   When he came back he gushed about the area, the house and all the people he met.

The rest is history.  We absolutely love it here.  It took a long time to feel comfortable in the old house but I felt like I was home the moment I drove up the driveway here.

I'm sure the news that we were moving came as a bit of a shock to everyone that knows him.  But now Limey feels uncomfortable wearing his business clothes and rushes home from work to relax and put on his farm gear.  It's hilarious the change in him.  We both fight over who gets to get up at seven and feed the animals, even when it's freezing and winds are 40km/hr.  Stress has pretty much disappeared and we are happier than we've ever been.

Before:  Onstage at the Paramount Theatre.
After: ready to butcher a chicken or assist in an animal birth at any moment.

That said, it's not all sunshine and roses.  There's a long commute to work, the power goes out frequently, hydro is expensive, midwifery is non-existent, animals die, chickens stop laying, ideas don't work out as planned, we have a hard year ahead making this farm thing grow as a business and we desperately miss our friends.  But when you are living your dream it's totally worth it.



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If you are interested in the same kind of life change I'll be posting a list of my favourite resources this week.  Books, documentaries and web sites that inspired me to this dream.  Stay tuned.

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