There are lots of reasons Jason and I decided to look for a place in the country when we decided we were ready for homeownership.
- I grew up in the country with many generations of farming behind me; I have never felt at home in the city.
- Jason grew up in small towns with relatives that live in the country; he also feels comfortable in the middle of nowhere.
- We don’t like having neighbors on top of us, all up in our business.
- I freak the freak out during bad weather when I can’t see the horizon.
And one of the biggest reasons of all:
- Our dedication to a Paleo diet has created in us a burning desire to raise our own food.
Actually, that’s not even “one of the biggest reasons.” That’s Reason Number One. And really the only one that truly matters.
Both of us grew up eating the fruits of our parents’ gardens. Indiana summers can grow some pretty good stuff, tomatoes being the top of the list–I am a tomato snob and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Jason’s dad still keeps a large, beautiful garden, and we get to enjoy a bit of it every time we visit. My mom would like to have a garden, but between her full-time job and running the books for my dad’s shop, she just doesn’t have time for one. She will be planting one, and getting chickens, when she retires, but that’s still a few years off.
The last few years, when we were renting a cheap house in a vinyl village, we just had some herbs in pots on the deck. I don’t have the greenest of thumbs, and I struggle to get the water level right with potted plants (and by that I mean I forget to water them for days on end). So that experiment had mixed results.
Well… now we own a house, in the country, on a beautiful sunny hill, with an acre and a half and no close neighbors. I have a garden now! We’ve had a good (if late) spring, and the little 15’x20′ plot is just popping with delicious noms. I’ve got tomatoes starting to turn red, lots of gorgeous neon chard, four summer squash plants just about to drown us in zucchini and yellow straightnecks, and six five-foot-long rows of carrots.
Tonight we will eat those little baby carrots, and some Swiss chard, along with our pork chops. There are few things more wonderful and amazing than eating something that you grew yourself, with nothing more than dirt, water, and sunshine.
Someday down the road, we want to expand the things we grow and raise ourselves. Our new property already has a chicken house; it needs a little work, and I want to fence in part of the property, but we’ll get some chicks late next winter so we’ll have laying hens by summer. Our current property is too small, but ultimately we want to have room to raise some beef. I grew up eating home-raised beef, and I miss it.
Until then, we’ve got our garden. Soon we’ll have a berry patch. Not long after that, some fruit trees. Maybe a bigger garden. Chickens for eggs and meat. We’ll buy our meat in bulk from local farms. We eat three times a day, every single day; that’s worth the investment of energy, time, and money to do it the best we can.