It was supposed to be a short chapter in the story. A couple of years to experience rural life, then maybe move to Costa Rica for a bit of ‘out of the country’ culture, and then back to Arizona.
That’s what our family said over thirteen years ago when we moved from the suburbs of Scottsdale, Arizona, deep into the country of Northwest Oregon. It was certainly a culture shock, as so many different parts of our lives changed. The lifestyle I had grown accustomed to did a 180-degree change.
Life on the farm is a bit different than the way storybooks depicted it, and so here’s my view of what it’s really like living on a farm!
The first thing that was different from living in the city was the drive. It’s a good 45-60 minutes to go to a major grocery store, and for work, it’s a 90-minute drive for most of my appointments. It’s made for a lot of early mornings and late nights, but it’s taught me to prioritize my time and become a very organized planner. And as a result, I have an awesome playlist and car dance moves!
It’s a livestock farm, not the concrete jungle of the city. We often know when cars aren’t from here as they drive by… merely by the fact that they are clean! I also have a stash of wipes in the car for last-minute emergencies when the dog brushes against me, or when my shoes get a bit dirty walking to the car!
From growing up talking to our neighbors over the shared tan cinderblock wall to having no neighbors in sight was a massive change! I’ve learned that you have to get really intentional about “social time,” because in most cases it won’t happen by itself.
When we moved to this farm, we came with an adorable English Springer Spaniel (that’s it!). Now I can’t tell you exactly how many animals we have. It depends on the time of year and fluctuates quite a bit. Their existence has made for many wonderful memories and stories. I’ve delivered many baby animals, bottle fed, dropper fed, woke up to several baby rabbits who escaped out of their box (and quickly hid in every nook and cranny of my room)!
One of the first big animal instances happened when several of our cows decided to visit one of our neighbors. At midnight, in POURING rain, I watched my dad corral a 1200 pound animal about a mile back to our house. Ha!
There was also a time that my siblings and I chased a few escaped horses all around the property (up and down the hillside). Then, there’s mucking out countless wheelbarrows of manure, and that time I repeatedly kicked a mean rooster that wouldn’t quit attacking me (I was in flip flops!).
One of my favorite animal memories was when I delivered twin pygmy goats. It’s crazy how much you’ll learn on the farm- when a living creature’s life depends on you, it forces you to take on responsibility rather quickly!
It’s not very convenient to live on a farm. Animals fall sick, emergency vet trips are made, and they don’t always make it. Making a “quick” run to the store can easily turn into half a day… Oh and make sure there’s at least a 1/2 tank of gas in the car so there’s enough to make it back into town.
The electricity going off may also be a common thing in the winter. A few years after we moved in, there was over four feet of snow and no power for nine days! With friends living with us because they had no heat, it made for one of the best and eventful times of my life…I’m still talking about it! : )
If you hadn’t gathered by now, the human population is quite small here. Fewer cars, noise, and chaos. It’s a wonderful feeling just to walk out the door and go on a hike out in the woods, or go for a run on a quiet road.
Several neighbors helped us make the city-to-country adjustments… yet I also discovered they were the same neighbors taking bets on whether we’d make it or not!
From pulling vehicles out of the ditch, helping get our water supply back online, and offering patient advice on whatever challenges the day held… we are so very grateful to them for their support.
And because of their support, not only have we overcome the challenge, but we have intentionally helped the next set of “new neighbors” make it out here as well!
I’ve learned so much from living on the farm. I’m so grateful to live in such a beautiful place with such a supportive community.
Who knows how long this chapter will be written for? Well, no matter how long, I know that I’ll always treasure these times.
Have you ever lived on a farm? If so, what’s it been like for you? And if not, do you think you would ever want to?