For the longest time I considered myself a city girl, refusing to associate with those uneducated country bumpkins. Well, as I become more educated, I realize how much I still don't know. Here's what I meant....As I aged and began a family, I wanted to move to a safer environment, have lots of room for my kids to grow up, and have homegrown food choices. Oh - wait - that's pretty much where I grew up and wanted desperately to leave from! In the small town with a bunch of "uneducated country bumpkins". Oh how naive I was.
As you've read in previous posts, we moved to the country - not my hometown, but an acreage nonetheless. An acreage with a hundred year old house, two quonsets, and old barn, and lots and lots of work. I learned quickly about the different kinds of knowledge there is. I have a bachelor's degree in architecture but definitely no degree in agriculture, horticulture, livestock, or just plain homesteading.
First, there was the ticks. Those nasty, awful, blood sucking parasites that live in the tall grass and bushes so prominent in the prairies. Well, when we got to the acreage, it looked like nothing had been mowed in years!!! Everyday for about a month we'd be picking off ticks. We even made a trip to the hospital after finding one on my 5 year old son that had been there for some time. In case you don't know, ticks can carry diseases that can cause death. Well, money or no money, it was time for a riding lawnmower, a whipper snipper, and a chainsaw. That's my parents weeding in the first picture and an overgrown weather vein and metal wheel in the second picture.
Well, after grooming the tall brush from the edge of our home and property, the ground bees attacked and it was full out war. They'd enter the house in all sorts of ways until we plugged all the holes. Their final entry was the chimney but then simply died in the basement. Yuck!
The mice - good thing we have cats, but the nests in the yard were unreal. Speaking of cats, apparently our long time cat we had in the city wasn't as good at avoiding vehicles on the grid road as she was at avoiding them in city streets - she died. You can see her if your look closely at the wooded picture.
Then the lawnmower had issues but we're not exactly small motor experts, and have yet to clear the land for livestock and a garden but have no equipment to do so.
Then the mosquitoes! Basically, run from the car to the house without opening your mouth or breathing. Open and shut the door as quickly as possible or suffer the wrath of buzzing in your ears all night and itching your face all day.
Then the black flies...where do they even come from?
Then the maple bugs - why are there so many? We only have one elm tree!
The there's garbage removal. There is no simple black or blue bins to throw your waste and recycling in to. You burn it, compost it, or collect it and haul it away.
Then there's the first snow storm. Most of the grid roads to civilization are not protected by trees and when the storm hit, we were at work in the city- 30 minutes away. We packed our kids at the end of the work day, crawled home, and got stuck within the first 30 feet of grid road. We had 5 miles to go - well, that didn't happen. We managed to get unstuck enough to head back on the highway and rent a hotel in the city for the night. The next day, after the end of the work day, we tried again. We followed the goat tracks (trails that trucks have previously made) and got stuck again. And again. And again. And again, until we managed to plow over the centre snow and ice mounds too high for our family van.
So, needless to say, our knowledge base is ever expanding in ways universities don't teach. It's not all bad though either. The sunsets and sun rises are unmatched. Leaving for work in the morning there is often clouds that sit in the valley that make it seem like we're in heaven. The sounds of owls and crickets at night is more soothing than sirens and screaming out our front door in the city. Watching deer through your window munch on the berries is quite lovely, and the northern lights, milky way, and cluster of stars are so clearly visible that you can almost touch them. And the rainbow ends in the field across the road from us only a walking distance away. These surreal experiences make the learning curve much more tolerable.
In the end, those "uneducated country bumpkins" are more educated in ways you could not understand until you fill their shoes. I have come to appreciate both city life and country life and the people that embody each way. My body of art is supposed to reflect more than the object in the window, but the reflection of life that it touched. These new learning experiences put me in the shoes of those who know the land, used the tools, and shared similar experiences. I can't wait to get started on some new pieces!