COUNTRY LIVING | Confessions of a Farmer: Rebuilding a Farm

 Taking time out from the move. I'm so happy to be here! Photo: Svenja Shultz

Taking time out from the move. I’m so happy to be here! Photo: Svenja Shultz

By Terri Smith –

With any luck I will never move again! I knew that moving a farm was a ridiculously large undertaking, but the reality of it took so much longer and was so much more difficult than I had even imagined.

I didn’t even really go very far. In retrospect, it may have been cheaper and easier to rent a U-Haul rather than making the uncounted number of 210 km trips between Road’s End and my new home. Mark, my best friend and partner, whose home I have moved to has a 12-foot trailer and with that, his truck, and mine we moved everything from my greenhouse and harvest shed to the random vehicles scattered over my property.

When packing began my helper Svenja and I were organized. When we began I was still working and Svenja did most of the packing. By the end I was throwing random things into random boxes and stuffing tools and articles of clothing into any nook and cranny left in my truck. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, well, welcome to the hell of unpacking. In spite of our good intentions, half the Rubbermaid bins in Mark’s barn are labelled correctly, and half are not labelled at all. I just opened a box of work gloves and finally found my food processor. I’m still looking for my long underwear, but it’s almost summer now and not cold anymore so hopefully they’ll turn up before fall. I’m not sure how it is that the tub of fencing staples was hanging out with the sewing machine, and I really should either label or shelve the box of books whose top I’ve opened at least 100 times while looking for irrigation supplies or garden tools or kitchen implements.

A farm, when it is running, is a spread-out sort of thing. It may be disorganized, but at least there is a reasonable amount of order and sense to it. One can be reasonably certain on a farm that the cookbooks will be in the house, somewhere in the vicinity of the kitchen perhaps, and the garden tools will be somewhere in the neighbourhood of the garden. A farm, when it is packed in boxes and relocated, somehow becomes an absurd mixture of objects that make no sense together whatsoever. For instance: what is the teapot doing in this box of hose repair ends? What do garden trowels and tea towels have in common other than the fact that they rhyme and were both in the same truckload and so somehow ended up cohabiting in the barn? It’s beginning to feel like the nonsensical riddle from Alice in Wonderland around here. “How is a raven like a writing desk?” I think I know the answer now: they were both packed in the same box when the Mad-Hatter moved!

When everything you own is reduced to boxes, you realize how little you truly need. I’ve unpacked some books just so I could get to the other boxes, my laptop, my irrigation supplies, garden tools, and seeds, and enough clothes to get me through a week of work without doing laundry. The thing that is oddly bothering me the most that I can’t find is my duct tape. I’m also missing the dogs at the moment, but they’ve just taken themselves for a run. They were correctly packed and labeled and their being missing has nothing at all to do with the move.

We still took time out in the midst of packing and moving to do the things we love doing. We took Svenja hiking, my uncle took her flying, and we had a birthday picnic for Amadeus. We dress up in work clothes and work on the farm then dress up in nice clothes and go out. Life is about balance and I love this new life in which we work and play and work at playing and play at work.

The garden here is small this year. I love how small it is. The largest part of it is the 900 garlic plants we dug up and moved and replanted here. The first few days were a flurry of activity as we hurriedly finished the goat pen and shelter and tilled and made beds and got the garlic into the ground then set the drip line and mulched it all with lawn clippings. We finished all these things in the first few days then Mark had rehearsals and tech runs for the Burlesque Festival that happened the last weekend of April. Svenja and I continued gardening by day then went into town to watch the show both nights. Life has certainly changed since the days when I would sometimes be weeks without seeing people. That weekend I saw more parts of more people than I usually see in a year! And I still managed to weed the garden.

 

Terri Smith is a non-certified organic vegetable farmer in the Cariboo. She is passionate about writing, art, goats, and feeding good food to good people. She believes in following your heart, living your dreams, and taking care of the planet.

 

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