I’m entering day six in a ten day stretch of watching the ol’ homestead solo. I go back and forth with calling it a farm and a homestead. It is kind of half-and-half really. We have the following:
- 22 goats
- 22 dogs (seriously)
- upteen chickens (I’ve lost track thanks to various predators and an in-between coop status)
- 5 cats (three outdoor, two indoor with me)
- 3 guinea hens (we hope to add more because they are pure delight and eat so many ticks)
- 3 horses
- 3 ducks led by a goose (a very ornery goose)
- 1 pig
It is a huge variety of animals and a delicate balancing act to keep them all at peace and not eating each other. But my cats love watching the yard all day.
This is actually my aunt and uncle’s place. I moved here after grad school to help out while I started the fun grind of Job Hunting.
But first, a little backstory for some context. Our family has a farm-farm up in Michigan, it has been in the family for over a hundred years. We lease out a large portion of the fields to a local family, we’ve had a contract with them going on fifty plus years now, they rotate between field corn and soy beans. I grew up spending holidays and weekends on this farm, visiting my great-grandmother (Gram as she was called by absolutely every member of the family).
I adored The Farm and would constantly beg my dad to go visit. I got to run through corn fields, play in the woods, find frogs to adopt as my pet for a few hours, until Gram made me set it loose at least. It was my childhood safe place. Nothing bad ever happened at The Farm. Gram had books, and card games, and fresh pie. She taught all the great-grand-kids new words and made us practice math.
After her passing, The Farm stopped being The Farm. I didn’t realize it until I was an adult but it was Gram that made it as special as it was to me. Even now, when I think back on my time there she is an omnipresent force. Like the air you breathe, she made life there possible.
The farm is still in the family, my dad lives there now. We still lease out the land and it still has the same look but the spirit of place is gone.
When my aunt moved to Tennessee she had a thought to attempt a resurrection of sorts. She wanted to create down here what The Farm had been up there. It could never be the same of course, there is no Gram, but that sense of place and adventure and love could be brought back to life.
I moved here November of 2016 and I’ve come to love it for what it is and what it can become. I told my aunt I want to stay and help make it the new ‘The Farm.’ I’ve been fortunate enough to find freelancing jobs that allow me to work from here so I can continue to work, write, and create.
It is not an easy life and my OCD is often in overdrive (I vacuum and dust multiple times a day, have to wash my hands every ten minutes), but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I feel home.