A pastoral life on a hobby farm is apparently difficult for a lot of people to comprehend. We're not going to be Amish just because our current vision for life includes draft horses for wagon and sleigh rides. We are not going to join with the hippies who sit in the woods and wail because trees are cut down. We just don't feel that a minivan in the suburbs is going to meet our emotional and spiritual needs. (Can any one of you really see Sarah driving the soccer car pool?) We know that the path that we want to take is less traveled and will require support from family and friends along the way. Here's a few of the reasons why we want this route, so you can remind us when we get in the middle of a mess and forget.
In an urban setting, you see a lot of man made things, and there is nothing wrong with that. In a rural setting, you are surrounded by God's creation. It is easier for us to be reminded of God's power when it is constantly right in front of you. We both fall victim at times to trying to wrest total control over our lives and worry about all sorts of things instead of placing our trust in His strength. One of our goals for getting out of the city is to do a better job of remembering the source of our strength to live our lives.
We are sick and tired of dealing with battling with the City on rules, requirements, red tape, and fees. Last year, we went rounds with the Housing Inspector's Office in Green Bay. This year, we are going rounds with some office wanting to raze the house because we haven't fixed it fast enough after the fire for their taste. (Insurance and construction companies can't quite work overnight folks, and we could have told you that if you had bothered send correspondence to the correct address or even name on the blasted title.) Neither Green Bay nor La Crosse allow the pets that we want, the city of La Crosse has rules about not having a car that doesn't run in view of the street, and you should have seen the explosion at the Sheffer household when we found out how much the meter fees and cost for "storm drain usage" were (double what our actual usage cost was). We're not bitter. Really, we're not. We're just annoyed and ready to be done with the foolishness of city government. Yes, the county, state, and federal governments will still hold sway, but we will have one less layer to battle.
We like fresh food. Green beans really do taste better when you eat them 20 minutes after they're picked. It's nice to know that your tomatoes weren't picked green and shipped for 2 weeks. (If you're going to pick them green, they should be fried up that day. Fried green tomatoes....mmmmm.....) It's a pretty big challenge to grow much food when you are very limited on space. Yes, there is a lot you can do with various intensive gardening practices. There's a lot more that you can do with room for a small orchard, lots of berry bushes, a couple of thousand square feet of garden, and a green house for year round food production. We also like home canned food. The jams and jellies in the store can not even begin to compete with the jams that you get when you pick the berries in the morning and make jam later that same day.
It is easy to go with the flow and drift when so many things around you are convenient. A little bit of a challenge requires more deliberate effort in life, and that's a good thing. You appreciate things more when you work for them. You accomplish more when you are making conscious decisions about how you are spending your time.
As a side note: We are not planning to go all Green Acres on this project and just buy a farm and move to the country. We have already started developing some of the skills that we will need to make a successful transition. Some of our attempts have been more successful than others. We are planning to do a better job of sharing those projects as we go along.