Lately I have been doing a lot of daydreaming (a solitary hobby of mine), except this time I’m not doing it alone. My husband, my cousin, her husband and their daughter and I have all been daydreaming about what we have affectionately named The Farm. The weight of modern life has been pressing down on our collective shoulders and we are dreaming of an escape. We dream of a self-sufficient, eco-friendly, holistic lifestyle where we are all there to share the responsibility, enjoy the bounty of mother earth and resurrect a commune-style community where everyone belongs. In our dream-of-dreams we utilize the sun, natural aquafers, organic soil, root cellars, free-range chickens, angora goats, the mud, the grass, herbs, flowers, vegetables, the sky, fresh air and each other.
I was born and raised in a suburb of Minneapolis and have lived in the city for the past 11 years. I never thought of myself as an “outdoor girl”. I live among the concrete, the traffic and the city lights. I always enjoyed the energy of the city and when we bought our home in St Paul five years ago it was, and still is in many respects, a home I love and I swore I would live here until the day I died. It was not until our first summer in the house, and my husband’s persistence to grow our own vegetable garden, that I truly learned what it felt like to be free. We spent countless hours planning, plotting, arguing, digging, sweating, amending, planting, laughing, tending and harvesting our garden that first year. A daily stroll through our growing vegetable patch awoke a child-like joy and excitement deep within us. The bite of a fresh cucumber, a summer salad from lettuce we grew or the sight of the first little tomato growing on the vine meant more to us than a Saturday night out on the town. Over the years we have fallen in love with our yard, honed new skills, spent hours upon hours with each other working hard out in the sunshine, and expanded the breadth and variety of the plant life we grow. We grow vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers; we attract butterflies, bumblebees, hummingbirds, rabbits, and the neighborhood children.
We have always tried to dream up creative ways to utilize the awkward space of our tiny city lot so that we may someday have the ability to grown enough food to sustain us for an entire year or to have chickens or a beehive of our own. But when does it come time to realize the limitations of our yard space and make a plan to move on? When does it become worthwhile to uproot your life for a glimpse of something better? It is a scary notion to slough off societal restrictions and expectations in order to live a life you think you want. There would be so much to miss but there would also be so much to gain. To make this type of life decision with people we love and trust makes it seem a little less scary but still frightening nonetheless. When I listen to the call of my heart I feel it yearn for big skies and open plains, wildflowers and babbling brooks, harvest moons and star gazing. Is it possible that now is the time for a new chapter? If the city was for my 20s maybe the farm is for my 30s? As of right now we are still in the dreaming phase, but if you dream a dream enough is it not destined to become a reality?