Farm Dreams

First a little history to see how farms were introduced to me, if it's at all pertinent to why I continue to love farms and romanticize that life... Maybe you can tell me?


I got my first pony around my 4th birthday -I found out that Gunsmoke wanted to wipe me off on trees and fences all the time. I remember there were pigs in the big field where I rode him once, (where they told me to make him run, and I think I remember I fell off the back of him).
Photo Source *Note: pony photo is courtesy of Christina Bynum


Once Upon a Time.....
We lived on a dairy farm in Bolivar, Missouri (I only saw cows once the whole time we lived there). I remember very few snippets from that time (aside from Gunsmoke) that are the best & most vivid memories of my life: 
  *I had one little 45 record that I played over and over again mostly on one side: "Go on Little Doggies" (something like that, about a cowboy herding cows, not little dogs). I didn't find that out until years later. I apparently drove my parents crazy with it, so I had to play it out on the enclosed porch. 
  *We had a black and white Boston Bulldog named Blackie who once followed our bus to the schoolyard where we saw him at the fence, but no one believed us that it could be our dog because we lived so far away (and we were too young to know our own dog). But it ended up to be him.
  *Me and my younger brother once wandered into a field surrounded by woods and played like we were birds in a huge 6' circle of branches we built for our nest.
  *We picked blackberries that grew wild along a “crick” about half way down our ¼-mile driveway and once were faced with a water moccasin. Our cousins from California were visiting and one screamed bloody murder; I’m sure it got shot after that.


Also aside from the word "crick" for 'creek', we said "worsh" for the word 'wash'. I got teased for using that pronunciation for years and years afterwards (when we moved back to California).

  *I had an ugly doll with rough, cropped hair that I played with outside. (We had a tire swing and steps to climb going up a huge oak tree, but not much else).
  *After Gunsmoke didn't work out, I got 3 silky soft stuffed kittens in a basket - my favorite present ever.
  *When Dad came home from teaching, he'd lay on the orange oval braided rug to rest and do sit-ups and we'd play a game called "Run Around Daddy" where he'd try to trip us (and often did, and we got hurt a lot but didn't care).
  *One day my brother and I were playing hide & seek and he hid between the fridge and the counter and got caught on the coffee pot cord- pulling hot percolated water down on himself and into his shoes, so that his feet were burned really badly (this was made worse because he also had to wear braces on his feet at night and couldn’t for a long time). Both of us were pigeon-toed, but I only had to wear special black & white Oxford shoes to correct it).
  *One time we dug ditches in the back yard & filled them with water to slide around in the mud like pigs (no idea why we were allowed to do that!)
  *There were rain storms in spring that would rain torrents for 5 minutes and then go away leaving the grass bright and long... but not before the lightening would hit the electric lines down the driveway so that our electricity would go out. Mom says there were hundreds of holes in the lines from lightening, but I don’t remember that part.
  *I remember I slept in the top bunk and that there was a nail on the wall with a shoestring hanging on it that I would twist and twist until it was tight, and then let it go, watching it unravel like a cyclone. I played mean shadow tricks on my little brother because the light coming in under the door was opposite the window and my two fingers looked like horns, which would ‘walk by outside’ that window. I told him it was the devil!
  *I learned how to pluck feathers from white turkeys, and to pull off the crispy skins from tree bark that the cicadas left behind (fascinating).
  *Dad hunted squirrel (but if I ate any, I never knew it). I do know we ate fried frog legs once. They tell me it tasted like chicken! 
  *One day my little brother (he was 3), came into the kitchen wearing mom's fur coat. He opened it up and showed her his naked body, saying, "Mommy look! I'M A SQUIRREL!" (I'm SURE that horrified her).
  *One time mom hosted a baby shower and hung raindrops with silver glitter and made rainbow jello for it. I asked for that when I had my first baby shower- of course it wasn't quite as awesome as my memory of it was, but it still meant a lot to me. I used that theme for my first baby shower.


We spent less than 2 years at the farm,  yet it left me with a lasting fascination of farms and country life. 
Even though I hardly experienced a true "farm life", I never got over it. I can't pinpoint what I loved or what I got from it specifically- only that it resonates stronger than anything else in me, and I still love family farms and am fascinated by the cottage industries and products that spring from them.

I daydream sometimes a LOT, and spend considerable time online finding ways to incorporate 'farmy' things into my life. (Like aprons, clotheslines, herbs in pots, handmade soap and beeswax candles and such... that may sound silly since I have no supplies on hand for any of it, no pots for plants, no bees, not even a sewing machine -wait! We just got one!) 
But I am working on PLANS for when the day comes that I do have those supplies...

Over the years I drew ‘maps’ of my dream farm- where the gardens and livestock, ponds and house were located in relation to each other, the road, all laid out to flow with the arc of the sun. I thought a lot about how I would arrange this own farm (and how orderly & clean it would be), down to details, like how I would paint the buildings to match, and maybe have a quilt square on the side of the barn, even what flowers would soften the corners, line fence borders, and decorate the rural mail box.
I'd raise bees and sheep and pigs, have my own horse and a Jersey cow, an orchard and berries, and a pond full of fish---and a HUGE pantry full of homemade goods (not that I would make them all, lol) to sell, to give away, to sustain ourselves with. 
I would get up before the sun and begin working on things. Baking, at least. There would be a picnic table outside under a shade tree in the yard just to eat lunch in nice weather. I would always have a vase of fresh flowers at my table, and pies would be my specialty. People would visit us just to have some of my pie!

I realize it's too big a dream to start on this late in life, I have no children left at home *to raise* to help with that dream... but that's still where my daydreams go to. 


*I’m formally AMENDING that statement: ‘certain’ aspects of this dream may be too late, but not all- not all by a long shot! 
Currently, we are both interested in topics of self-sustenance, and we will eventually create our lives with ways of less dependency on consumerism.
I have freshly painted but empty bee hives and a beautiful greenbroke horse (can't ride him). I have books on  hydroponics, and other ways of raising plants, raising chickens & bees, but I can’t build for chickens yet because our lives are so insecure right now. I saved seeds one year and planted them, but between the clay soil, huge red ants, grasshoppers and deer, I sadly discovered I need to buy pots for the deck to grow things to eat (I always plant morning glories and collect wildflower seeds tho' - because one day I hope to have a butterfly garden).

“Farmgirl” is the word that best depicts who I am at my core, even if it doesn’t seem to be the essence others might see- and I would prefer to dress in loose flowing fabrics rather than more practical things (a ‘hippy’ type farmgirl).

 I know that leaves a lot out about who I am - that I'm better at artistic things than anything really practical (other than making pies), so would probably flop at being a ‘real’ farm girl. I can only say that I got too old before the dream became reality, so it wasn’t meant to be. I write stories with my farm dreams in them.  And I keep planning ways to bring self-sustenance (creatively) into our lives down the road.
I keep these things in my Dirt Road Diary - here is the graphic I use for this file:

Here is a Dirt Road Diary sample entry:
I like the idea of naming your place “something Farm” or “something Ranch”, but I think it’s wise to think ahead to how that name would look written out in different Fonts, and how it would manifest on your own product lines if you produced items for a cottage industry.
We named our current place “Paradise Ranch”, but that’s no good for commercial use at all. If you intend to raise animals you have to register them too, so you’d want to search the registry, or even Brands (the kind that go on animal hides) for your name ideas to make sure someone else isn’t using it as a stable name, herd name or kennel name) – it’s easy enough to Google search the name(s). When you arrive at a unique name, you will be able to register all your animals under a single name, even if you raise different species, e.g.: Cherry Hill Stables, and Cherry Hill Kennel... But you probably want to make sure that it’s also wholesome or appetizing in case you sell products:  Cherry Hill jams and jellies – Cherry Hill Pies... (I can’t say I really like that combination), but I like the sound of: The “Oak Hill Honey Mill”. It sounds like a real place and has a lyrical sound. 

It's also fun to look up "barn art", to see all the things people paint on their barns. I've seen Sunflowers, cows, flags, quilt squares and advertising. I considered painting quilt squares on my beehives. I collect the images that most inspire me. I find it's easy to romanticize these things.
                                           photo source: squash blossom farm


If you had a barn, and the time, what would you paint on it?
Would your barn be white or gray or red, or yellow or some other color, and WHY? 
(This comes to mind whenever we're driving around and I see the colored metal roofs of hay barns and sheds...and it matches the trim on the houses (or not). I think if things match that the place just looks neater all around.)

What attributes do you think a working farm or ranch should include? 
(what would make or break the deal for you?) I would prefer to start from scratch, but who can afford it in $ or Time??


This is 1 of 3 of my attempts using Paint.net (very limited, but I wanted something quick):


What are your thoughts on this topic? What do you like/not like about my farm map?
There are a few guilty bloggers who help to continue my fantasy romance of a farm life – things related to sunflowers, aprons and clotheslines, posting photos of fuzzy baby chicks, and lambs with sunglasses on, and little pieces of things, like this:


“I am a very slow milker ... and I pass the time by singing songs to LaFonda [the cow].  She seems to especially enjoy music from Fiddler on the Roof and folk songs like  "I'm Just a Poor Wayfaring Stranger." Our signature milking song is sung to the tune of "Alberta, Let Your Hair Hang Down," with lyrics I re-wrote just for LaFonda...”  
The entire lyrics are on the page at: http://squashblossomfarm.blogspot.com/  
- a wonderful site!