by RAS aka The Farmer
I grew up on 120 acres in the country. My father rented most of the land as hay fields but we cut our own firewood, raised some livestock, and had a garden. It was a decent (and good) childhood experience.
Work brought Wife and me to Syracuse after we were married. When we bought our first house, I did eventually put in a small vegetable garden. When our growing family necessitated a size upgrade, the new house had a beautiful woodlot but hardly any yard. There was one spot with enough sun that one year I was able to grow some cucumber plants vertically (like the pic only cucumber plants, not beans.)
I am tech-oriented (my current off-farm job is providing help desk support). So in the late 1990s I was drawn into the Y2K debate. I learned about just-in-time delivery, about where our food comes from, and about cities’ reliance upon interdependent systems. This caused me to re-envision society as a thin veneer of civility that could easily be cracked or chipped.
Although it was becoming clearer that companies were working hard enough to prevent major catastrophes at the millennial change, we began making lifestyle changes, like storing some food and water, using less-processed ingredients (e.g. grinding our own flour), and generally thinking about being more resilient. I really wanted to garden, and we talked about finding a small plot to rent for this. But it didn’t make sense for what we wanted to do.
The combination of our Y2K changes, my romantic view of my childhood, and the fact that our kids had hardly any space to play outside all combined to spur us into moving yet again. The place we landed (our current farm) was great, but bigger than what was needed for a homestead. So we got busy with chickens, goats, and a garden and paid a local farmer to mow the edge of the unused fields to keep the scrub trees from invading them.
Thus with no real plan in place except to be more self-sufficient and to give our kids space to run and play (and work), we began our country life. (To be continued)