If you count the rural years of my childhood and after twelve years recently as a “once and future farmer”, I have lived in the country for almost half of my middle-aged life. Until I moved to town three months ago following my divorce, my nearest neighbours were chickens, a goat and a horse. I could see across the field from my sub-standard, rat infested hovel to the farmhouse where my ex-wife and my kids lived but beyond that, no other neighbours were visible from my vantage point.
Since moving to town, I am frequently asked how I like it. The truth be known, I have enjoyed living in town. I would explain to those with inquiring minds that I have a very nice house on a quiet suburban cul-de-sac and I’m enjoying my new life. Originally, my plans were to move back to a farm when my youngest son moved on to a life and career of his own after graduating from high school. Further to those thoughts, Bill and I have spoken about buying a farm together in the future.
Recently, I even began telling people that there was now only a 50/50 chance that I’d ever go back to the country. It’s pretty easy living in town, especially when one has no pets to look after. I think Bill was still resolved to live on a farm in the future as my conversion of him from city to rural life had taken root.
We don’t have alleys in this part of town so we share a common backyard fence and even though their land is down-slope from me, the size of our lots brings us into close proximity with one another. This neighbour has two little girls and a very large trampoline. One of the neighbours beside me has two beagle hounds. One of the beagles must’ve been unsuccessfully “debarked” as is evidenced by the whiny, whistley sound it makes when aroused from its usual afternoon slumber on their deck and occasionally at 1:00 am.
Last week, with my youngest son hanging with his buds somewhere other than at home, I settled onto the couch to spend a few quiet, relaxing moments to myself before having to make supper. Then it began. I literally had to look over my shoulder out the window because I thought the girls’ peals of laughter and shrieks of joy were coming from directly outside my family room. They were actually on the trampoline in their own backyard. This is when I also realized that their father has a booming voice that carries right through my house as he’s calling to them. At that moment, I was 60/40 heading back to the farm.
Last weekend, another re-evaluation. Helping our friend Martha trim her goats’ hooves I was reminded just how much I love farm animals and farm life. I think I’m up to 80/20 for farm life in the future. I suppose, in fairness I should probably not decide this far out about being a townie . . .