Farm Soul

Ever since we bought this old farm, I’ve wondered about its “Heart and Soul.”

I’ve looked and I’ve listened.

I’ve wanted to find it so we can be true to it. The farm was in the same family for 150 years before we had the honor of becoming the new stewards and care-givers. The house provided shelter and warmth for many generations of children; the land provided food and income. We want to do it right. We want to honor its heart and its soul. I think we’ve done that with the house; now it’s time to figure it out with the land.

Oh, this?

This is my crazy angel baby.

There is no reason whatsoever for his photo here.

I just took this pic and when I uploaded it and saw all that soft fuzzy neck fur, I thought you might want to kiss him. Yes, go ahead. It’s as soft as it looks. kiss, kiss, kiss.

This, the month of HEARTS, the month of SEED CATALOGS, has really gotten me thinking.

What are we going to do with this farm? In the long run. You know, the BIG picture.

We have 75 acres.

We have no farming skills or knowledge.

We have no equipment.

Oh, this?

There is no reason whatsoever for his photo here.

It’s just that he’s been doing so well lately. If you remember, when I bought him and brought him here to our farm, he went from being a gentle, lazy gentleman to a wild child. Yep, he went wild on this farm. Wild!

So, I had to call in a Horse Whisperer to whisper to him because he would not listen to me.

And she is an incredible Horse Whisperer.

Anyway, the Horse Whisperer took this photo with her phone on Valentine’s Day. She’s something else. We’re lucky she had time to work with us. Now he’s a  gentle, yet wild gentleman, which is actually a nice combination.

kiss, kiss, kiss.

Anyway.

If you’ve ever bought an old property or house or farm yourself, or worked on one, you know that there’s always a lot of trash in the yard, in the out buildings, under the bushes, in the weeds. I had a friend who bought an old house and found all kinds of treasures buried in the yard. Every time she dug a hole to plant a bush or a flower she’d find silverware, jewelry, knives, coins. All kinds of good stuff.

There are two things that I find the most of here.

One is beer cans. I think I mentioned that the tenant who lived here before us liked to drink al-key-hall. ALOT. A. LOT. ALOTALOTALOTALOT. ALOT. And, I don’t believe he ever went to the garbage dump. This farm WAS his garbage dump. Yay for me, huh? Yes, I know.

Two is shoe soles. What is it about shoe soles? Don’t ask me, I don’t know. The shoe itself is gone; it’s just the soles that I’m finding. Why are these all over this farm?? I’ve thought that perhaps nice people used to give him shoes because he looked like a hobo. Yep, he looked homeless and smelled homeless and stayed drunk all the time, so maybe they gave him shoes. And maybe he just threw them out in the yard? IDK. But I find them often and everywhere. Shoe soles: not the SOUL of my farm.

But, back to the Heart and SOUL of this farm.

I finally fingured out that we need a master plan and a master plan diagram, so we’re working on that.

And we need a tractor. No two ways about it. So we’re working on that.

And we need to try to save the outbuildings before it is too late.

This photo kinda shows you the shape the farm buildings are in.

They need a lot of attention. Do you think one would make a good law office? Nope, me neither!

Wait, am I beginning to look like a hobo myself?

Hmmm.

Oh well. Maybe people will start giving me shoes.

AND I forgot to tell you.

We got another horse. That’s him in this picture. Isn’t he cute? He’s an overweight Rocky Mountain Horse.

I guess adding horses works like I hear adding children does. You know how the first one you have you over-think everything, research everything, over-prepare, etc, etc, etc? And then after that you just kinda add on. (I only have one child, so I can’t speak to this firsthand; but so many of my friends have talked about how different it is with the children AFTER the first. You know what you’re doing, you’re far more comfortable with your skills, you don’t worry and document as much.)

Anyway, that’s the way it was with our horses.

We have three now.

Here they are out my bedroom window.

Excuse me a minute while I blow them kisses. I’ll be right back.

smooch, smooch, smooch, kiss, kiss, kiss

LOVE THEM.

So, I’m looking for the Heart and Soul of this farm. In addition to old ramshackle buildings, it has Christmas trees, steep woods, the pasture area, and some “bottom land.”

The sky is the limit with this Farm. I guess we are only limited by our imagination, resources, time and energy. Big limitations now that I think about it.

The learning curve is huge; I should add that to our limitation list. (For example, if I had my little garden patch back in Atlanta, I would have planted my Sugar Snap Peas by now. Here, I don’t know when to plant what.)

I know I want chickens, but I don’t know anything about chickens. I don’t even have a chicken house.

I’ve got a brush problem in my upper pasture and am thinking about green brush control: goats. I don’t know anything about goats.

I think animals are a part of our Farm Heart and Soul. Not animals to raise for meat, but taking care of animals. Maybe rescues.

“Happy is the house that shelters a friend.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

That’s what I’ve always said to my husband when taking in new animals. That and

“What’s one more?” Rebekah Teal 

We LOVE animals. I’ve got to make sure we do it right so they’ll be healthy and safe.

And, hey. I think human friends are part of the Heart and Soul here as well. I’m loving keeping a pot of soup on the stove and bread in the oven. It would be fun to do some farm events here, like an East Coast Farmgirl CampOut. Maybe that’s part of the Heart and Soul too.

So tell me. Where do I look? Where did you look? Where did you find the Heart and Soul of your place? (Even a rented apartment can have Heart and Soul.) I think sometimes we find it; sometimes we have to create it. Where did yours come from?

Here’s another SOLE I found recently. An old horseshoe at the edge of the creek, buried in the bank.

tiny rocks attached to it…maybe some how THIS is the soul of our farm.

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of Love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

Leave a comment 14 Comments

  1. Jamie says:

    It sounds to be like you and your family will be creating the soul of the land by bringing the life and love of your animals and family to it.

  2. Rene Foust says:

    Rebekah I find so much enjoyment in following your farm girl progress;you are really living it. I find a connection to your actions because as you probably know I too have started my dream. It will be a while before I can really truly live the dream because right now I have to drive 11/2 hours and back every day in order to pay for it; but hey it is a start. I have always wanted to be able to adopt horses and donkeys that are no longer wanted by their owners and hopefully that is my next step in farm girl living (probably wont be for a while ) I think you have already found your farm’s heart and soul; I think you and your family are your farm’s heart and soul. You are breathing new and happy life into it and allowing its legacy to take on a new and happy life. For me deciding to make the jump at (age 50 and single) to move to the country into a house that was falling down and a barn that was falling down in order to live my dream has taught me alot about life. Sometimes you just have to jump in! If you fail so what you fail but you will never know if you don’t try! Following you along on your journey just gives me so much inspiration and gives me hope for my dream. Just remember you are your farm’s heart and soul

  3. Diana Henretty says:

    Your farm has wonderful stories buried in it’s soil!
    When we bought this 70+ yr. old house on the edge of town, I didnt really want it, I wanted the "out in the country life".
    But, as the years have gone by, we have figured out, our life in this house was was meant to be, and we have everything we wanted right here, it was waiting all the time!
    We found a antique piano in the basement, sales tax tokens buried in the driveway, a 1937 Seven Up bottle, an antique wooden toy top, and a beautiful milk glass vase filled with quarters hidden in a cupboard for a rainy day.
    Thanks for warming my heart this morning as a blizzard is all about us!
    Hugs from the Ozarks, Diana

  4. Maureen says:

    The reason you only find the soles to those shoes is that the critters eat the leather. That’s a word of warning too. Don’t leave leather shoes outside the back door to dry; fox will come along at night and steal them. Many hikers have fallen "prey" to this by leaving them outside their tents. It’s a long hike home without foot gear!

  5. Diane Van Horn says:

    Sounds like you are the heart and I am sure the soul will reveal itself soon! Look up The Gentle Barn. It is an animal rescue farm. May be just the soul you have been looking for! I could totally see you giving neglected farm animals a home. The Gentle Barn is a non-profit that runs on donations and good Samaritans can sponsor an animal. They also do farm days for visitors to come and love on an animal. Just a thought but think of all the kisses!

  6. Shery says:

    You are the heart and soul of your farm. And, if you’re seeking a broader purpose for it, perhaps it’ll come to you in a way that didn’t involve figuring it out. Mayyyybe like a bird suddenly showing up on your windowsill … aka opportunity or a need that you see unfolding … followed by willingness. I bet things will fall into place when the time is right and other needful details are too. We don’t have to plan everything for a plan to take shape. Sometimes the best plans (in my experience) have happened when there was enough room for serendipity to breathe.

    Oh, and what a smooth ride your Rocky Mountain boy is gonna be. They’re like riding a gliding rocking chair. Love the color too.

    The different ‘places’ in our lives sometimes involve a move to another locale … or not… but, even if not, as WE change, our ‘place’ does too. Periodically, we face reinventing ourselves … again :) Least-wise, that is my take after 54 years.

  7. Marian Luther says:

    Rebekah,
    you are such a kind sensitive soul, your love of animals and wanting to protect them is wonderful – Kiss, kiss to all your fuzzy lovable babies! And I must say I agree with Diane Henretty’s lovely note above, you don’t need to look for your farm’s soul, it is you. You are very much the soul of your farm and your family, you are what makes your home and your farm real and alive. Whatever purpose you decide to give the farm you are the one who brings it to life. I so look forward to hearing your stories, the good and the bad, as you move forward (and hopefully sometimes just sit and enjoy what you have in the present).
    And a little side note, my home was a run down dump previously owned by another lover of al-key-hall who chucked his glass bottles off the back porch into the backyard…for 20 years. 12 years after purchasing I still find broken glass when digging in my garden and yard, it helps me to remember what it used to be and what we have made it now :)

  8. JoEllen says:

    What a wonderful post and comments following — I love how you pick the topics and the words just seem to flow out of your heart to us!
    I guess the heart and soul of our home would be that we determined after moving here some 35 years ago, that we would have an open door to the needy. We took in foster children, adopted two of them, sheltered a recovering alcoholic with her dog, took in numerous friends of our children for a time and at present are caring for my elderly mother and a young man and his son. Heart and soul are what you make of what life has given you to the best of your ability, preparing your home to be lovely and comfortable, and then hold that door open for what comes your way with joy. Sounds like you have been doing that all along — many blessings to you and your family of humans and animals!

  9. Brenda says:

    I want goats too! Hubs says not. Sad face. I will be content with my chickens, they do not need much and Ladybug and the old mean cat that won’t come out of the basement anymore (don’t feel bad for him it is a walkout). It is a process. We have been here 5 years now. Ten acres. Seems we would fill it up but it is mostly woods and already filled up. Continue to have a wonderful time figuring it out and sharing your journey and we will keep coming back to see how it ends!

  10. Cindy says:

    Guurrrl…you are the sweetest lawyer I know! I think the soul of that farm is going to find you. It will. Just go about your business on the "what’s one more" farm (that’s what I’m going to call it! I remember that issue with the third dog!) and that farm soul will find you. Here’s the thing! Maybe, after 150 years of a lot of al-key-hall, that farm wants a new soul. Maybe, just maybe, that’s why you are the new farm family for it. Relax with it, go on doing what you are doing. It’ll happen.
    You need to get three goats if you get any though. Why? Well, there are three of you, three dogs, three horses….three goats. Hmmm…Three’s a a charm farm! Do you have a name for that farm?

    Cindy Bee

    PS – I should be on my own blog right now. I have some exciting news I need to get posted. Stop by when you get a chance…I bought an old camper-soooo excited-but I can’t pull it to your farm..sorry…it’s in bad shape…it needs a new soul!

  11. Carol in NC says:

    I saw a t-shirt once that said, "I don’t need another horse, I don’t need another horse, I don’t need another horse…" I get it! A friend who boarded with me had a Rocky Mt horse. He was drop dead gorgeous and oh so smooth. I called him Fabio, not his name, ha.

    I’m guessing you’ve discovered Wendell Berry by now. He delves right into the heart and soul of land and you can see pretty clearly that we’re just the stewards.

    Glad things are going well!

  12. Adrienne says:

    You’ve probably discovered by now that the heart and soul of a farm is the land. Otherwise, your house would be on a city lot with limited landscaping and no room for animals. You’re making beautiful improvements to the house and making it your home. You’re discovering what the land can provide and the animals that inhabit the land. You and yours are good stewards to the soil.

  13. Nicole White says:

    Ahhh… thank you for kissable horses. As you know MaryJane has had some great articles on chickens. They aren’t that hard. I love to watch them cluck and peck around, very soothing to me. We had goats (before our move to suburbia) They were so fun. We choose pygora goats, smaller like pygmy goats, with fleece like angora goats. In Organ they eat everything but thistles. Another nice thing we didn’t have to milk them everyday. Once a year we’d sheer them (hire someone the first time and get trained on how to do it- not as hard as it seems)and get this wonderful fleece to play with. Hugs!!

  14. sue margetts says:

    You and your family and the love of this land are the heart and soul xoxo

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