Around The Farm: Space To Breathe

These days, the air around the farm is crisp and cool. It smells like ripe apples and woodsmoke.


Before I started buying houses and tearing them apart, I spent four years living in places that didn’t have proper seasons and even the year I spent on the beaches of Hawai’i doesn’t compare to the simple pleasure of experiencing Summer fade slowly into Fall.

And by “fade slowly” I mean that one day you’re sweating your ass off with record high temps and humidity, and the next morning you walk outside with your hair wet and it turns into little icicles that make a cheerful jingling noise around your head while your eyeballs freeze.

So it’s true that, objectively, I love the changing of the seasons. But it’s also true that as the daylight begins to fade, and the temperatures hover just a hair over freezing at night, I am filled with a constant low-grade panic brought on by Things That Are Not Done.

The chicken coop, the pasture fence, mowing the back four, fall planting. Finding my drivers license, taxes, laundry, the dishes. Finishing the master bath, laying flooring, installing light fixtures, the kitchen. This is the litany of projects and chores that runs through my head, a constant loop of things I should be doing. I used to fool myself into thinking, “when these five things are done…” as if I would one day screw in the last light fixture and all of the sudden there would be no more projects.

I mean, what would be the point of life without projects?

I like the projects. I like the pressure to get them done. I have not once, in the last four or five years, felt like I was on top of things, and that’s pretty much a conscious choice. No one forces me to get donkeys or chickens, to buy old farm houses, or to tear out my kitchen. (I have not, in fact, torn out my kitchen. I have, in fact, gotten lots of donkey hugs.)


I am not “put upon” by the universe, I am blessed. And sometimes those blessings require a shit-load of work. It’s not uncommon for me to get caught-up in that work. To be convinced the world will end if I take a weekend to hang out with some friends instead of building a chicken coop.

But life always finds a way to stop me in my tracks and take a deep breath to appreciate what I have.


To be grateful for this crazy life I choose to lead. Coop or no coop, life goes on. New projects replace old ones (or, fine, unfinished ones.) There is always work. There will always be more to do.

But there are also, always, moments of awe.

UntitledAnd that’s life on the farm these days.

21 Responses

  1. You are a wonderful writer. I’m looking forward to reading your posts over our long Maine winter!

  2. That mantis photo is magic!

    I get where you’re coming from. I feel driven to do projects and take on crazy amounts of work, too, but I love it. And then i take long moments to sit on the back of a boat and drink whiskey and life is just so damn sweet.

  3. I was right there with you, right up until the picture of the bug. What the hell is that thing?! Grasshopper, preying (praying?) mantis, alien life form? Terrifying, lol. Good picture though. 😉

  4. Good way to start the weekend. I’ve found it easy to get overwhelmed with our 90 year old house and forget to enjoy the little things. I’ve driven home everyday this week for lunch on the front porch and it’s been good medicine.

  5. “I mean, what would be the point of life without projects?” Agreed. We are currently on the brink of finishing one last project, building a shed, at our current house so that we can sell it and buy a farm with an endless supply of projects. Many of our friends can’t comprehend how we can leave our current house behind after redoing it from top to bottom to start again.

  6. I feel so bad, I just wrote about how the praying mantis scared the sh*t out of me last week, and here you go and take a photo that is a perfect visual of the beauty of nature, including our friend the praying mantis.

    Projects are extensions of our being. They bring out the best and the worst in us, and make us laugh and cry and curse. Sometimes more cursing than anything. I wouldn’t change a thing.

  7. Kit, I SO agree! I live in the U.P., in a little town near Iron River. My house sits on a hillside where I can watch the weather roll through the little valley the town is in. Watching the shadow of the clouds roll through across the valley or the seasons change is one of the main reasons we bought this “hill”! Seeing the deer trot up the middle of the street in the evening or stand on the other side of our porch fence is STILL awe inspiring! You made a good choice!

  8. “I am not “put upon” by the universe, I am blessed. And sometimes those blessings require a shit-load of work. It’s not uncommon for me to get caught-up in that work.”

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for that. It was exactly what I needed to hear at the moment.

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