Monday, August 11, 2008

Family Farm

I've been down visiting my parents at their Charlottesville, Virginia farm this past weekend and I'm amazed at the number of changes in the five months since I've been here. They're in the process of converting their non-working farm to a sustainable organic working farmlet. They've now got about forty chickens, eighty guinea hen, three hives of bees, a couple fields of hay, a massive veggie garden and a new dog. Plans are in the works for goats come Spring. The next year: cows, maybe some sheep. All organic, grass-fed, humanely-raised and slaughtered.

I love visiting here for a couple of reasons: there's the obvious draw of my kooky but lovable parents; the lure of farm life with its growing plethora of produce and animals, both of which I love; and the peace of the country pace.

So different from both the life I'm living in Brooklyn and the world I grew up in. (My parents only left our comfortable suburban Maryland existence when I was in college., although their farming tendencies manifested early. We had huge gardens during my childhood, baked our own bread, made our own pasta, yogurt, & sausage and even brewed beer.)

Sometimes it feels like this big disconnect inside me: urban Jessie exists but beneath her exterior is this other potential self waiting for the right time and place to emerge.

I don't know if I could live here permanently, or farm on this scale, but I do have fantasies of buying a 2-3 acre house in Jersey or NY 45 minutes outside of The City and setting up a mini-farm: 4 chickens; a garden; a dog; my darling cats... And of course a gaggle of children.

Of course, I have an equally strong fantasy of my potential Brooklyn life: a three bedroom garden level apartment with an outdoor space in Carroll Gardens or Cobble Hill seems about right. With a gaggle of kids, of course. Or as many as I can squeeze into the two extra bedrooms....

I look at my life now and feel this weird sense of curiosity and excitement. I wonder where I'll be in ten years. Will I be living the urban fantasy or the mini-farm/suburban one?

It's anyone's guess, really. But if the next ten years are going to be anything like the last, its going to be one hell of a ride.

And luckily, I've got my seatbelt fastened and the radio turned way on up.

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