The Farmers in the Dell

A little over six months ago, Andrew and I were just starting off on our North American road trip. We were excited about the next three months, but had no idea what our “real” future would look like. Every time I tried to imagine where we would find ourselves at the conclusion of our freewheeling adventure, I suffered a bout of anxiety. Will I have to go back to work in an office so we can pay our student loan bills? Will our simplified, reduced-clutter, outdoors-oriented lifestyle be a fond memory once our travel funds run out? Somewhere along our 15,000-mile journey we decided to never return to “the way things were.” Our newfound freedom, untethered from superfluous possessions and a 9 to 5 workday, would forever be the norm.

So far, farming seems to fit the bill just right. We are still in the learning stages, and for me especially, the learning curve is steep. I have learned how to operate some semi-heavy machinery like the tractor, rototiller and weed whacker. I have learned how to sow seeds in a green house, how to fight blackberry brambles (although I still cannot seem to come out of a bout unscathed), and how to set up sprinklers. I have had the joy of welcoming 100 newly hatched chicks that are happily brooding in the garage next to our temporary housing. I have also experienced some remorse: this morning I unknowingly rototilled over a bunny nest, and decapitated a newborn bunny. The other two survivors had to be “taken care of” as rabbits are pests on a farm. That’s the way things go here…it’s time I get used to it. After all, the cute little chicks are going to be someone’s dinner soon enough!

The first few days on the farm were spectacular. The weather was a balmy 55 with blue skies and abundant sunshine. I marveled at the views of the Cascade Mountain range while I weeded around the rows of blueberry bushes, and even found myself stripped down to a t-shirt. I was told not to get used to this weather, and sure enough after those two clear days it has been cloudy, rainy, and cool. Although there is often the threat of imminent rain, mostly it is overcast and cool enough to make the work outdoors quite pleasant. The times when it really rains we can usually find work to do inside the greenhouse, hoop-houses, and other covered spaces. In other words, I am not complaining about the weather! Yet.

Every morning I roll out of bed and toss on old dirty jeans, a wool layer, and my new trusty Carhartt jacket. I throw my hair up into a messy ponytail and slap one of Andrew’s beanies on over my head. I stuff my feet into my rubber boots and away we go! It’s really nice not to have to worry about looking nice on the farm. That feeling I got while in Hawaii (this goes WAAAAAY back to one of my first posts!) also exists on the farm. There is no need for makeup or pretty clothes. And when I do decide to wear those things, “dressing up” becomes that much more special.

We have only done a little bit of exploring in the nearby town of Snohomish, but I’m hoping this weekend maybe we can see what the nightlife scene is like. Last week we found an excellent spot for lunch called Grilla Bites that even served gluten-free bread and vegan cheese, and you can imagine my joy and excitement at finding such a local gem. Another nearby dining spot, Mongos, looks like a mediocre takeout joint, but they specialize in pretty gourmet fair despite appearances. The other day I inhaled a pile of truffle fries that were served up in a cardboard takeout container. There is also a yoga studio in town that I am hoping to check out soon enough. My sore, abused muscles sure could use some TLC!

In the next month or so we will be building our “tiny house” on a flatbed trailer that Eric, our farmer/mentor bought. With his help we will construct a lodging that is approximately 12’ x 20’ with a loft for Andrew, Zephyr, Sake, and I to live in at the farm. This way we can keep an eye on our animals (we’re hoping to soon add pigs, goats, sheep, and turkeys to the mix), and it will be even easier to roll out of bed to get the morning chores done. I am looking forward to another opportunity to downsize, and without television or internet I will find a lot more time to read, paint, create art, snooze, and get to know my love a little bit more every day.