City Girl Gone Country

City Girl Gone Country

For the most part, I grew up in 2 major cities; Indianapolis and Phoenix. Once, though, for a brief time when I was about 8, we lived in an old farmhouse in the countryside of Northern Indiana. Our closest neighbor was over a 1/2 mile away, and it was a 45 minutes bus ride to and from school each day. And I loved it!

There was a big barn with a rope swing in the loft, a tire swing on an enormous Weeping Willow tree, and all the room a little tomboy and her dog could want to explore. The barn cat had kittens, and there were plenty of garden snakes with which to scare my older sister. Life was good!

Sadly, it was short lived. We were only there about 6 months because my mother (a country-girl, no less) was scared of the isolation, so we quickly moved back to the city. But since that time, I’ve always dreamed of living in the country.

All the years my was husband was in the Air Force, I would dream of the time he’d finally retire and we could settle down with our dogs, a couple of horses, and the slow easy living of country life. 

Dreams Do Come True

In 2004, while my husband was finishing his last year of active duty, I moved back to Indiana to find our retirement home in the country. Although Indiana wasn’t my dream destination, my family was there and, since I hadn’t lived near them in over 16 years, I was eager to be close to them again. 

It didn’t take long before I’d found our home. It was a large home, too large for just 2 people, but the nearly 5 acres it sat on was perfect! About 3 acres were cleared “lawn” and the remaining was wooded. There was an existing chicken coop to house the chickens I’d have for fresh eggs, a little pond (that desperately needed dug out), a creek that ran through the wooded portion of the property, and the neighbors were far enough away for privacy. But not too far. They were still close enough that they could hear me scream if a masked madman with a chainsaw came lumbering out of the woods after me. 

Standing there with my sister and our realtor, I could picture the pasture fenced in, a small barn with a couple stalls for my horses, and a little garden spot to grow our organic veggies. Yep, this was my country home!  

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Front Yard

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Driveway

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House

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Deck

 

Reality Check

Well, nowhere in that fantasy of idyllic country living was even an inkling of all the hard work it takes to maintain that little dream! What I failed to realize was how much time and work country living required! But it didn’t take long to learn!

In the city, if we had a lawn at all, it took a maximum of 30 minutes to push mow and we were off to enjoy our weekend. Not so in the country! It takes several hours to mow over 3 acres on a riding mower and another couple hours to trim and weed! That “little organic garden spot” I dreamed of? Yeah, well, who knew it would take daily maintenance to keep it weed and bug free? And, if all that’s not enough, the trees and shrubbery need pruning and ditches need burned and maintained, as well! 

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Burning our ditch.

My chariot.

My chariot.

My Prince Charming and our Noble Canine.

My Prince Charming and our Noble Canine.

Between commuting back and forth to the city for work and maintaining the house and “yard”, we still haven’t found the time or energy to erect that barn, dig out the pond, or raise chickens! I decided long ago to let my neighbors buy and maintain the horses and I’d just pet them and feed them snacks across the fence! But we do have that little organic garden spot. 

This year I’m learning to can and I hope to put up some tomatoes (whole and diced), salsa, pickles, and spaghetti sauce using my home grown veggies. Using a recipe I found on Domestic Bliss Squared, I have learned to make freezer jam and have already put up 6 jars; 3 strawberry and 3 blackberry!

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Overall, it’s not a bad life. It’s certainly not as easy as it was when I was 8 living in that big farmhouse in Northern Indiana, and we spend more weekends than we’d like working to maintain our little piece of the American Dream when we’d rather be fishing, but it sure beats the heck out of city living!  

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