Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Little House on the Prairie

If you are visiting from the Ultimate Blog Party 2010, click here for my post!

I have always, always, always, thought myself to be an urban chick.  I totally dig the city vibe, love the city sounds, the culture, the ability to get good sushi in minutes.  That kind of stuff.  I pictured myself taking public transportation to work, stopping in for yoga on my lunch break, and getting the chance to see limited-release films in a theater when they open and not through my Netflix cue.  Well, I probably imagined seeing those films on VHS because Netflix wasn't around 20 years ago.

But I find myself captivated by my life right now.  I can't wait to get home and shove my children out the door so that we can explore our yard, our world.  Our own little bit of Earth.  Maybe it stems from my girlhood adoration of the "Little House" books.  Maybe it is the push for Community Supported Agriculture.  I'm not sure, but I am awakening.

I have lived in Iowa nearly all of my life.  I have been surrounded by agriculture for 30 years.  It always felt like a backdrop, like the scenery for a play.  This is my life, it is set in Iowa and we know that because there are cornfields.  And livestock.  And tractors rumbling up the gravel road.  But the action of my life has always taken place indoors -- in a theatre, in a classroom, in my home.

I am suddenly so very excited to look into my summer -- to see my huge vegetable garden spreading wide, reaching deep into the earth to find nutrients, sucking them from the soil into their ripe flesh.  I hear the chickens clucking as Scott plucks their brown eggs from their nest boxes.  Serving venison stew from the deer that he and his brothers hunted.  I imagine entire meals cooked from ingredients we raised -- the vegetables, the starch, the fruit, the protein are all from our own hands.

Suddenly, it occurred to me that if I am not buying produce, chicken, stew meat or eggs, I can afford the fancy, organic, non-hormon-ed or antibiotic-ed socially responsible milk and cheese for my kids.  I don't have to walk by the organic whole-grain pasta staring longingly at it any more.  I wonder about what it would cost to buy a side of organic free-range beef or pork.  I think I'll research that tonight...  I imagine churning butter from organic cream -- I have left cream whipping in the mixer for just long enough that I accidentally made butter, what if I could do it on purpose?  Maybe there's someone who would barter milk for eggs?  Homemade ice cream with lusty red raspberries bouncing in the bowl.

My country life is bursting and bountiful.  At lease I hope it will be.  I could run completely out of steam when I need to weed the garden yet again in July when it is 95 degrees out and my allergies are insufferable.  Or I could thrive like the plants in this Iowa soil, no longer seeing my earth as a backdrop, but as an integral part of my identity.  I have always wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder, maybe this is my chance.


The Grasshoppa:Triplets Plus Two Momma said...


Sorry. Couldn't resist.

We are not quite totally in the country, but we share the woods with the deer (and they steal from our veggie garden) and I too love being so connected to the earth.

I also love to hit every Starbucks when we visit NYC!!

Cities are SO ALIVE---but in different ways. I love them both, but I prefer to peek out my window and take in the wild flowers. I don't much like living with well water, though---I would trade the city water for the well water any day :)

JoeB said...

Have you ever actually lived in a city, or is it that you just like the sound of the city life?
I am a city-dweller; living in a high rise building in the middle of a city of 3 Million people. I love city living... Taxi Cabs and Subway Trains, the lights and the smells and the sounds - 24 hours a day, I love being able to grab a bite to eat, from any region of the world, in 10 blocks or less.
I grew up in the country, in a town of 1,400 in Wisconsin. I vowed back then that I would be a city-boy for the rest of my life. While I don't regret that decision one bit, I can't help but think that maybe the 'country life' would be a less stressful - not paying $1,500 a month in rent for a one-bedroom, and $130 a month for parking, for example, would be nice. Not tensing up every time a homeless man comes at me smelling of whiskey. Not being stuck in rush hour literally every day of my life. I wouldn't trade my life, but I do wonder if maybe I would be less stressed back in my home town.

IASoupMama said...

Hi, JoeB! I think the largest place I have lived had a population of 60,000. Not quite a "big city" city, but not the town of 4,000 that is closest to where I live now. I am thrilled when I visit LA or NYC -- I love the subway and wandering around the Village. That was my dream, as a teen. Or maybe it wasn't?

Vernetta said...

Great post! I always wanted to be Laura Ingalls, but I wanted to live in Nellie Olson's house - ha! Sounds like you have a great summer ahead.

Christina said...

It sounds like an amazing way to live and eat.

Check out eatwild.com to find grass fed beef.

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

Just before we had kids we almost bought a condo in the centre of the city. Now that we have kids I'm so glad we didn't do that. Life is so much better with kids in the country. I'm becoming more country by the moment. I've planted a veggie garden, we just went out to see the nearby horses and I was wondering how much meat a side of organic beef actually gives...I wonder if it will fit in our freezer?

The Mommyologist said...

The city is fun to visit, but I love coming home to my quiet little house out here in the sticks! We are 10 minutes from the grocery store, which was an adjustment for me, but I have learned to love it!!

Mama Pipes said...

I am totally with you on the back yard exploration (affording the non-something foods, not so much right now, but maybe someday)! In the meantime, I just wanted to shout ditto after the first two paragraphs. I have 6 years of NYC under my belt and can't wait to puree our backyard broccoli for baby & me! Tomorrow we plant flowers! YAY!!!!

We can't have chickens here, but man we have looked around.

I love flowering plants! I need a shirt.