Judging by the growing backyard chicken trend and the increasing number of urban gardeners, I know I'm not the only city slicker with serious farm fantasies. Mine started somewhere in college driving through the rural areas of Illinois and Indiana and admiring the desolate beauty of old farm houses and the solitude they symbolized. Later as I thought about starting a family, the dream of spending time working together with the ones I love the most on our shared livelihood appealed far more than the "meet at the end of the day when everyone is spent" reality of nine-to-five jobs.
There are many things I love about my urban life and for at least a long while we're committed to St. Paul, but someday, oh maybe, someday there's a plot of land out there with our name on it. In the meantime, here are some of the ways I've been indulging my farm fantasies lately:
Blog:SouleMama. This family of seven finally made good on their farm fantasy in the last year.
Movie: Sweet Land. If you haven't seen this cinematically beautiful and quiet movie about a German mail order bride and the Norwegian farmer she comes to live with in Minnesota just after World War I, it's an immediate must rent.
Children's Books: (Nothing wrong with indoctrinating your children into your fantasies.) We're currently reading aloud all the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder as a family in the evenings. Right now we're on Farmer Boy about Almanzo Wilder's childhood on a New York farmstead. In the picture book category, I also love Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall.
Grown-Up Books: I just finished reading Coop by Michael Perry about his family's first year on their Northern Wisconsin farm. I also read This Life is in Your Hands by Melissa Coleman, which is her story of growing up with her back-to-the-land parents in rural Maine in the seventies.
Places: Dodge Nature Center has a lovely little farm with chickens, goats, mules, pigs, and sheep. The Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakotah Life is kind of like a living version of the little House books. There's also the family farm at the Minnesota Zoo, which is open during the part of the year while the weather is nice. I'm still trying to push Josh into lobbying for "free baby goat" to be one of the benefits given to zoo employees and their families.