Wednesday, November 2, 2005

The Beauty of Farm Dirt

I have been reflecting on the difference between farm dirt and city dirt in a conversation with the Ksmilkmaid. As women we want our homes to be neat and orderly and clean....somehow I think this is tied to the nesting instinct we build a comfortable, safe and beautiful place for our families.

When we were city people (has it only been 7 years ago?), we had a small 4 bedroom house that had been beautifully decorated by the ministry of a Titus 2 team of women. The floor plan was wonderful, not one inch of wasted space, but the kitchen was small. We had a corner lot and fenced yard. When the kids went out to play the most they could track in was grass, if the lawn had just been mowed.

Because there were not a lot of outside responsibiities, we cleaned house on Saturday mornings as a family. It didn't take long at all. The rest of the weekend was free for us to do what we liked. We played family games, did the grocery shopping, visited friends, had a lot of friends to dinner....the fairly normal American household except that we weren't big shoppers and we didn't watch much T.V. We quit watching network T.V. about 20 years ago - we do enjoy old movies and the occasional new movie that passes our family litmus test for acceptability (maybe one a year!). Although we were Christians, and very active in our church, looking back it seems that a lot of our lifestyle involved serving our own desires in our free time.

Then we moved to a farm.....lots of changes. The house is a wee bit bigger but with lots of wasted space. It is a much older house and in need of many repairs. It appears to have been finished inside from the local bargain salvage store. Quite a change from my beautifully decorated home in the city. The kitchen is much bigger which is good news since my kitchen responsibilities have grown a hundred fold.

But the most amazing difference is what comes into this house. It is rarely grass anymore...although that happens. But here we also have dirt, red clay, twigs, leaves, feathers, nasty old pieces of skeletons from small creatures (oops....treasures of great worth according to my boys!), hay, weeds, mud, poop (from all sorts of animals!)....and critters! Oh, my the critters....if you had told me 7 years ago that my living room would one day be a temporary home to a sick baby goat....well...I would have politely smiled and quickly backed away... all the while trying to remember what you needed to do to Baker Act a delusional person.

Our main living area is actually one medium size room that includes living room, dining room and kitchen - in other words - very close quarters. In the seven years we have lived here we have had, as temporary residents for one reason or another, baby chicks, chickens, roosters, guinnea keats, goat kids, kittens (I am allergic!), puppies, injured dogs (BIG!) and a variety of injured wild birds of all ages. I am waiting for the day they tell me a calf needs to come inside....can I draw the line there?

Now, you must understand that I was raised in a home that was like a picture spread from Better Homes and Gardens. My dad was a Marine Corps Colonel. Everything had a place and it was always in it....or else! It was ALWAYS clean. I quickly learned, after the birth of my first child, that this was not a reasonable lifestlye for someone who wanted to spend time with their children. But, I did need a semblance of cleanliness and order. This seemed to adjust with each child and worked very well for city dwellers.

But now-a-days....well life on a farm is different. Farm dirt is different....for one thing there is so much MORE! The amount of dirt that comes into this house amazes me. How can 7 pairs of feet do this much damage? With visitors, customers and 4 boys, who are in and out all day - early morning chores, playtimes, adventures, explorations, and evening chores - I have come to learn that I am fighting a loosing battle. There are days when I sweep the living room, leave it for an hour, come back and wonder what happened....didn't I clean in here!?? Sometimes all that dirt is from my 7 year old who has found a great treasure and wants to share it with me (this can be anything from a huge frog, to an unknown bug, to a "beautiful" weed)...Sometimes from a boy who has run in and out to leave me a bouquet of flowers, a basket of eggs or some vegetables harvested from the garden...Sometimes from an unexpected customer, who has left a much needed check on the kitchen table....

This dirt has begun to have meaning for means that we are living in a beautiful valley between two mountain means the air is fresh and means we are raising our own food, wholesome and means God has entrusted a variety of animals to us for their care and in return they provide us with many delicious means it is safe for my boys to play outside unsupervised and they are having wonderful adventures in the midst of God's means we are beginning to make a small living from the work of our hands and the bounty of God's means we are living the life that God wooed us to 7 years ago....

I guess I need to thank God for the dirt..... (am I able?) because it is truly a beautiful reflection of God's work in our lives and our choice to leave the normal American lifestyle and follow God's leading to do something radically's just really hard, at times, for my flesh to appreciate the beauty of farm dirt!


  1. Can you post pictures of your beautiful farm?

  2. Faith,
    If I knew how I would be glad to do it - I just figured out how to add links in my blog! Any tutoring will gladly be accepted.


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