I live on a farm in rural Iowa. I live on a county road; a dead end, gravel road that our TomTom does not believe to exist. I live where the stars are visible every night, and the morning sunrise makes the kitchen incredibly-squinty bright because there is nothing to block it but the shades on our windows. I live in a world of green trees and green crops and green grass during the summer; in the fall I live in shades of red combines and browning grass and changing leaves. In the winter, my world is in shades of white. I live in a little old house with a huge, wide yard. I cannot imagine being anywhere else.
I have to admit, though, my version of life on a farm is a little skewed. I’m not a “real”, born-and-bred farm girl. I grew up as a town girl, living on a street by the school and a park, surrounded by neighbors with noisy trucks and barking dogs. On September Friday nights, you could hear the football cannon and cheering crowds and the announcer’s booming voice just a couple of blocks away. Small town life is a busy, bustling place compared to the country.
Living on a farm is quiet. There is always noise, but not traffic noise. No sirens, no neighbors. No kids riding by on bikes, no vacuum salesmen knocking on our door. Farm life noise includes calves bawling, hogs squealing, birds cawing, coyotes crying. Rain. Wind. The rumblings of trucks: feed trucks, grain trucks, hog trucks. In the summer, four-wheelers revving up. In the winter, shotgun blasts. But overall, living on a farm is much, much more quiet.
Living on a farm is stinky. Hog barns are very, very stinky, although I’ll admit I hardly smell it anymore. Cows are stinky, too. Dogs are stinky, especially in the summer time. Sweat mixed with dust mixed with oil on skin is stinky.
Living on a farm is dirty. Our back porch will forever have a layer of grime on the tile. Muddy boots and hog-barn scented gloves reside there. We installed a tub sink in the basement for Cass to wash off in after work, because the delicate upstairs bathroom needs to remain relatively delicate for my sake. No matter how many times we clear the yard, the dogs will always bring up animal bones to chew.
Living on a farm is stressful, because farming is stressful. Corn prices way too low, feed prices way too high; hogs catching a cough, calves dropping too early. Tractors that won’t start, heaters that won’t work. The weather. Oh, the weather. Too much sun, and everything dries up. Too much rain, and everything drowns. Too much wind, and the crops flatten. Only the perfect combination of each results in profit.
Living on a farm is fun. My niece, I believe, will always have a fascination with pigs. (“Oh piggy, oh piggy! Dat’s a BIG piggy!”) I will never forget the first time I tried to drive a tractor. (Terrifying.) Summers are especially fun: we set up lawn games and drink warm beer. We go swimming in ponds and creeks. We ride four-wheelers a little too fast, we lay in our rickety, fraying hammock, we have bonfires; all of those cliched country songs are real.
Living on a farm is tasty. Have you ever eaten frog legs? Have you ever eaten freshly hunted deer? I have. I’ve had wild plums, wild peaches, wild pears; I’ve eaten asparagus fresh from the ground, hunted and LOVED mushrooms, sampled corn right out of the field. It’s not the same as organic; it’s better. I picked it.
I grew up in town, but I love living on the farm. It’s wonderful.