Tuff Enuff?

So, I don’t know. This is one of the things I struggle with.
Big Time.
Am I tough enough to live on a farm?

I’ve been joking for months with everybody that this move is taking more courage that we have; and apparently there is truth in that jest. We are leaving our life behind. Our family, our friends. We’ll be six hours from everything we’ve known, from everybody that knows us. That feels weird to think about. I have lived in Georgia my whole, entire 49 years. And now I’m moving to a different state. I’m extremely excited and thrilled, but yeah, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I am scared too.
Well, let’s get this straight right at the beginning. From the emails I’ve received, I realize that there is an idea that I’ll be homesteading, living off the land. One farmgirl sister asked me about raising meat chickens. Looky. That’s just not me. It’s great for a lot of folks who live in or move to the country, but just doesn’t appeal to me personally.
When it comes to animals, I’m soft. Real soft. (Too soft?)
There is no way that I would ever kill a chicken. “Never say never,” I know. But I also know myself pretty good by now. I can say never on this. It’s just not something I could do.
Case in point. The other day I found some plastic bins in the basement that I had used in my previous move. I took them outside to clean them up and use them again. There was one that stayed outside for days while it rained and rained and rained.

When I finally went out to dump out the water so I could use it, I found two little frogs in there. Stuck. It looked like the sides of the plastic bin were too high for them to jump out. So, I went to get my daughter to see. Then we put them into a little glass pan so they could jump out whenever they wanted. We added a rock so they could use it to climb up on to jump out. Ta da! They are in here somewhere!

Wait. We thought about it a little later and decided that those little froggies were vulnerable to predators in that little glass pan. So we went back out to create them a little temporary habitat. We took the top of a trash can, poured in some of the water they came out of. Then we added leaves and bark for them to hide under. We also put in a rock, thinking that they might need it to use to jump out of the lid.

And, while we were at it. We decided that they would need a larger, safer spot if they stayed around. So we prepared some water for them in the future. Since the faucet water is chemically treated from the city, we decided to let it sit out for a day or so in hopes that the chemicals would evaporate or dissipate. So we had a tub full of water just waiting for them.

Hello, Cutie!

But. Next morning, they were gone. Where did they go? I have no idea. Were they eaten by something? I have no idea.
But I do know this. Those were some cute little froggies and we spent a great deal of time trying to care for them. I think that’s part of my mission in life, part of the reason I am on earth, to care for animals.
So, you see why I could never kill a chicken? I can’t even kill a moth in my house. I catch it and take it outside.
I share that with you in an attempt to explain. Yes, I am moving to a farm. Yes, I intend to do some farming. Yes, I hope to make some income from the farm. But, no, I’m not really planning to “homestead.” We won’t raise meat for us or anyone else to eat. Any animals I have will be for work, for pleasure, or for pets.
And do you know what else I’ve come to realize? I can’t even fish.
No kidding. I’ve got that wonderful trout stream right out in front of our farmhouse. But no.
It’s just not me. It doesn’t bother me if someone else fishes, and I hope they do, but I can’t do it. You see what you’re dealing with here? Weird, I know.
And you know what else?? I keep running into blog posts that freak me out. Yesterday on Facebook, Fresh Eggs Daily had a post with a picture of the black snake someone had in their nest box. There that shiny black thing was, just sitting there eating the chicken eggs.
This concerns me in a huge way. What would I do about that?! Number one, I hate snakes. And number two, I wouldn’t kill one unless it was poisonous and threatened me or one of my loved ones (dogs and cats included). So, a black snake in a chicken house? That is not the farm life I’m dreaming of.
Oh my gosh, then I read a blog post about a farmgirl who had to shoot her horse to put it out of its misery when he was injured. Are you kidding me? I’m not made of that.
And to cap it off, I was talking to a new friend who told me that she had spent all day “canning beef.” She said that one of her steers had an unfortunate accident, so she was canning him.
All of these things together have made me question whether I was tough enough to move to a farm.
And then something happens. One of those blessing-in-disguise things.
I stepped on a construction staple in the driveway. It went straight into my bare foot, on the fleshy part of my heel. I cussed a little while I knew that I had to take care of this. There wasn’t anyone else there. And with each passing moment, the pain got worse and I was losing my cool. I suddenly remembered a story my Daddy told me.
When he was a little boy, he stepped on the spike of a pitch fork while he was working barefooted in the hay loft. It went right into his foot. He was about 12 years old. Well, he had to pull that tine out of his foot. Imagine! His foot hurt for months and months afterwards. And he couldn’t wear a shoe for a long time. His older sister would warm a special tonic and soak wool strips in it. She’d then wrap his foot in the woolen strips. The thing that hit me was the courage he possessed in order to pull that tine out of his very own foot.
Was any of that passed along to me?
Surely I could take care of this construction staple. Remembering his story gave me the strength to reach down to pull the stable out. So I tried. But when I did, I saw that it was fully into the flesh; I was unable to grab it with my fingers because it was so deep. There was no way to get hold of it. So I fussed and cussed a little more, sat down in the garage, and pulled the staple out using the flat tip of a screwdriver. And it hurt like the dickens and still does. But I got it. And doing that helped to convince me that yes, I’m tough ENOUGH. I’ll be fine on a farm. That, and I’ll start wearing shoes!
By the way, I’m glad I had gone a few months ago to get a Tetanus shot.
So I just have to realize. When it comes to animals, I have limits. It doesn’t mean I’m any less tough, it just means I’ll farm without animals. I’ve known this all along, I’ve just tried to ignore it: I’m not my Grandma. I can’t head out to the yard, grab a chicken, wring its neck, pluck its feathers, cut it up and serve it for dinner. No sireee bob, not this one, not me. I have zero desire to do that. Zero.
Planting turnips, tomatoes, and garlic? I’m in.
Hosting farm dinners? Sounds great.
Milking a cow or goat and making cheese? Mmmm, sounds interesting!
Doing a farm entrepreneur retreat? Oh yeah.
Slaughtering animals? Nope.
City Farmgirl might move to the Country, but she’s still who she is. That won’t change. Like Popeye said, “I yam what I yam.”

Ready or not. Farm, Farm, Here we come! Finally moving there this week!
Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!
Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

  1. Sherry says:

    When I run into black snakes…I don’t kill them..I relocate them. Now I can kill a snake that is threatening my animals….(think cute little chicks) but mostly the benefits outweigh the annoyances. I catch ’em put ’em in a big bucket and move them about 2 miles away by a creek. But then I am not afraid of snakes…just don’t like to be surprised by them. I can’t kill chickens either…but that doesn’t mean you are soft…we just aren’t hungry enough here in the good old USA.

  2. Maureen says:

    You’re so funny and honest! Meat is supposed to come wrapped in cellophane and Styrofoam! Right? My husband big game hunts and the closest I come to any of the butchering is wrapping after it’s all done. I don’t want to see anything with it’s head and feet still on, and clean the fish at the lake. It has to lose it’s personality, like the prepackaged stuff from the store, before it crosses the threshold.

    I must have blanched when I was at the wool market. I love to spin yarn and one of the vendors was selling sheep as well as fiber. I said my HOA didn’t allow them when asked if I wanted to purchase one. "Not to keep, to eat" was the response I got. I looked at that little sheep face and ran in the other direction.

    I too am a marshmallow when it comes to animals. It’s a good club to belong to.

  3. Joan says:

    Oh my dear ‘farm girl’ friend – having, living on a farm is different for each of us – each farm setting is different so each farm girl is too. You will make it Rebekah’s (of Sunny Brook) for sure. I am proud of you for doing this. God Bless and hope the move is spot on.

  4. meredith says:

    Don’t worry! My family and I raise Hereford Cattle and I am exactly the kind of farmgirl you are going to be- caring for animals and the land, and making the best life for my family I can!

  5. Pat says:

    Like my granddaughter says, "you will find your groove." This is very true. It is a little frightening leaving familiar territory behind and moving on to something new. I have done that a couple of times, once when moving out of state following a divorce, and then several years later after my children were all grown and on their own, deciding to move to Hawaii because I had wanted to experience life in the tropics for a while. It is a little scary leaving family behind and striking out on one’s own, but it is an experience I will cherish always. I learned, however, I am not the tropical type–missed the changing seasons too much, and I missed my family, so after 10 years of living in Hawaii, I moved back to the mainland to be closer to children and grandchildren. And, I have found my "groove" so to speak and you will too.

  6. Adrienne says:

    Good for you, Rebekah! I’m looking forward to reading your stories about the crops you grow, the recipes you create from milk and eggs, the fun you’re having redecorating, and the critters you rescue.

  7. Pamela says:

    Wow, this was like reading about me!
    No worries, you’ll be fine. Remember, it’s your life, no one else’s.

  8. Elaine says:

    I live on a small ranch in southern AZ and have had to do so many things I never thought I would do, or could do, but who else would do them? To care for my animals and myself, I’ve had to be tough on myself so that we would be safe and comfortable. It’s good to know my limits, yet I know that my limits will be pushed back as my life continues in this chapter. I am a tenderhearted cowgirl who has had to kill critters and put down beloved animal friends, who cries when I do it and who asks for forgiveness, and then does the hard thing I must do. My heart goes out to you, new farmergirl. You’ll be fine and as tough as you need to be.

  9. Diana henretty says:

    Closing the door and opening a new one is exciting!
    Years ago we packed up our 3 and 5 yr. old, sold all we had and left the city to move to the mountains of Montana.
    No job, no home, we just left.
    I think back on it now, almost 30 yrs. later and think of how crazy we were, but we were determined to leave the crime and grime of the city and head into the mountains to raise our kids.
    We did just that, bought a 100 yr. old farmhouse, hunted, fished, learned to garden, can, bake bread, make yogurt, made homemade Christmases and lived the best life.
    No regrets at all, our children are grown and have families of their own, once again living in the big city, but talk of their childhood with a sweetness
    and love for it.
    May all your dreams come true…..hugs….Diana Henretty

  10. World Star Farm says:

    I’m with you. I’ve lived in Los Angeles my entire life, moved to Texas 6 years ago and now moving to our 5+ acre farm in rural North Texas. All my family is in Santa Barbara so they’re a 4 hour plane ride away. I will have everykind of animal, but butchering them, I can’t do that either. I have 24 chicks and 8 keets in my bathroom right now, we’re moving to our farm in two weeks, still fixing up the farm house and I’m working on the coop!! I grew up with my Bama Grandparents so I’m a cowgirl at heart… just have to get used to all the country thingy’s…. 🙂 Good Luck, I know I’ll need it!

  11. Linda Petersen says:

    Hi Rebekah! I have been following you for quite a while now & I must tell you how much I love your posts! Love the recipes too~~~really good~~~thanks for sharing:0). The move to your wonderful farm will be the beginning of another chapter in the diary of your life journey. And~~~you ARE tuff enuff! I agree with your feelings about animals~~~I have some & they are family~~~they have names & personalities & we love them. My husband & I live on seven acres of land that is mostly dry & dull in Arizona but, we have taken step by step for the last five years building a dream. My dream that my husband has gladly joined me in fulfilling. Our home,the chicken coop,the garden,the herb bed,the planting of trees & on & on. There is nothing like it!! I was born in Chicago but half of me is pure Southern red dirt girl, my Daddy’s family came from cotton mill workers. The family home had a huge garden & my grandma put up everything~~~! The turning point for me came when MaryJane’s Farm magazine appeared before my eyes & I KNEW exactly where I belonged~~~pure & simple. I am so happy with my life & I said all of this to say to you~~~~buckle on your red maryjanes & tie on your cutest apron & give your family & your new home all the love, joy,& heartfelt care you have inside you. You are a Farmgirl!!
    Linda (sister #971)

  12. Shery says:

    Rebekah, The move away from what you’ve known will be the harder part. Adjusting to soooo much that is new — yea, it’ll be a challenge, no doubt about it. Yet, I betchya every day will bring blessings that are just as fresh and different as your new life. They will be blessings that you would not see in any other way.

    I’m a rancher’s wife. I’m not tuff – at least I don’t see myself that way. I have butchered chickens with a friend before. Couldn’t cook a chicken for about 6 months after that. Hated every gruesome minute of it. Not doing anything like it again unless I am starving. I have killed foxes that slaughtered my beloved hens. Trust me, it wasn’t that hard to do after witnessing the carnage. If you gotta, a person can bristle up in a heartbeat and take care of what needs to be done. Don’t under estimate the deep reservoir within. You don’t really have to be any tougher in this sort of life than in any other lifestyle … it is just a different set of circumstances and you’ll adjust just like someone moving to the city from the country.

    Milkcow. It is like marrying again. If you think a man and children are a committment, square that if you have a milkcow. You can have friends watch your dog or cat. You can even have neighbors watch over chickens, horses and other small livestock in your absence. But, precious few are the people nowadays that know how to milk and do the follow- up required … every day of every week during the time of you that you might like to go places, vacation & such. My farmgirl pal has a milkcow. She can go overnight somewhere and her husband could. But not together … ever … not from the time the cow calves (April) until November. One of them has top be home so that the cows are milked every day.

    You can enjoy as much of the farmgirl life as fits your personality and family. Have fun and make your own trail. Shery

  13. Tammie says:

    Rebekah I totally understand your issues here. I would love to have the same opportunity you and your family now have to move to a farm and I share the same feelings you have toward animals. I respect the farmers and ranchers that deal with what it takes to slaughter the meat we eat. I couldn’t do it, on the other hand I have never had to do it so it isn’t in me.
    I lived in Puerto Rico for 8 years when I was in my early 20’s. They make a home made chicken soup called Asopao (I’m sure spelled that wrong… sorry) but it includes the feet. I know it is more nutritious and healthy to eat a home grown chicken, but I couldn’t eat something that when I called it came running like a puppy would come when called. They tried to tell me it was store bought chicken….hmmmm, really? Feet and all? Just couldn’t do it.

    On the other hand I am sure there are avenues open where slaughter would not be a necessity. From chickens come eggs. From milk cheese, milk, cream… from sheep come wool… (but then of course you already know that… lol) No matter which way you go there will be hard work, but there is satisfaction in hard work. I hope you find your nitch! Plus, you always have your camera as well. Go hunting with that and write a book filled with the wonderful pictures of renovating your loved farm.

    Don’t forget the cats to take care of your mice and a farm dog to help with the other critters… lol

    Good luck! I’m sure you and your family will do fine.

  14. donna d says:

    "You wiLL find your Groove"…i lika that !!! And you wiLL, just be who u r, u r adorable and funfunny too !!! The Farm is AweSome, what a GrandPlace…Have Fun, thanks for letting us n on "Your Groove"…LOL

    donna d FL

  15. Mary Frantic says:

    You are a better woman than I. I grew up in West Virginia with 4 rooms and a "path". I could not get away from it fast enough when the time came. My kind of ideal living would be pink lemonade, a shade tree and a good book. Camping is OUT for me. Hubby and son dragged me through that experience years ago. I ended up going to a nearby motel while they finished their experience "in the wild"! … Different strokes…..

  16. Debby Carrico says:

    That’s me to a tee. I never could kill an animal. I take spiders and bugs out via a cup and paper to the outdoors. I could raise chickens for eggs, but not to eat (the chickens, I mean). My Mother did that for years when we moved away from the farm (though she had killed them previously) and lived near a lake. She raised cochin hens as well as anacondas which lay small eggs (green in the case of anacondas) which we loved as did my boys when they were growing up. Chickens are a wonderful group of beings alive and clucking or crowing. Have fun being yourself.

  17. Nicole White says:

    Echoing your words! I have the opposite question of yours – I’m moving from my small farm to suburbia. Scary! Am I tough enough to handle close in neighbors, traffic, light pollution, and noise? Add to that the 1/3 acre expanse of lawn with just a few rose bushes and six small trees, no chicken roost, no garden plot, only lawn, sprinklers, vinyl fence, cement patio and a shed. I’ve been reading up on the practice of permaculture and envision a yard alive and buzzing and tweeting and shading. Big plans for a small space. Like you this can be overwhelming, but I’m starting small and creating one usable corner, near the front door, pretty and editable and bug and bird friendly. One corner at a time and over the years a lush retreat. I may even sneak in a few chickens a bee hive or two and some angora rabbits. Here’s to change, adventure, and courage to built our dreams where ever life takes us. (ps- a company move took us from wet, cool, cloudy Oregon to sunny, dry Utah)

  18. KimberlyD says:

    When I was little my family and my Aunt & Uncle and their family was camping up north at Jones Lake, Mich. My dad and uncle went fishing and my dad was cleaning a female fish for when he cut it open it was full of eggs and I about threw up! Than a few years later my dad was at the local Eagles club and they was roasting a whole pig and it had its head still and I about got sick again! But I do kill bugs..sorry but don’t want them in my house. I have taken care of dead mice in a mouse trap. Also I can give you a foot story aslo. My friends and I was running around the driveway jumping in mud puddles and I stepped on a garden rake and had to go get a tentnus shot! Boy that ruined my summer! No more doing that or swimming till it was healed! So just grow what you want, raise the animals for what you want, just do it your way.

  19. carol branum says:

    Becka,Oh How funny!I had to laugh,last night,I went to my farm directly after work,in a long cotton skirt,I did not have time,I thought to change,I had to feed one of my goats,and he got loose and ran wild,here I was trying to chase a goat in a ankle length skirt,boer goats eat down to stubs,and leave stubs u can fall on,well,I fell,luckly I was able to get up in time before he ramed me,it took se3veral atemps to get a rope back on him,luckly a male friend showed up!It took time,but,after I got him back into the pen,I walked over to a peach tree and picked him several peaches,as I did that,I got sticktites all over the bottom of my skirt!It will take hours to remove hundreds of sticktites all from the skirt by hand,or,I will have to just throw it in the trash!Daddy laughed at me,and said told ya so!but,I learned a lesson,that I allready knew,and had forgotton!Your so right,I could of gotton hurt so easily,and I wonder myself,am I tough enough!It was so hot last night too!I wondered too,what the heck am I trying to do,wrangling a goat in one hundred degree heat!This morning,I was talking bout this in the salon and my ladies were just a laughin,and just think they said ,one hundred years ago,women wore those long dresses all of the time,and I bet they picked a lot of sticktites off too!,have a great day! carol branum,Lamar MO.

  20. sharon says:

    Good Luck with your move Rebekah! This type of life change takes a lot of courage and a lot of love. Luckily you have plenty of both to see you through it. I am looking forward to hearing about all of your adventures as you settle in.

  21. bobbie calgaro says:

    ME too. I could never do the animal thing either. There was a black snake on our porch last week. I sent my husband out to do battle with it. He lost but the snake left about an hour later. I was absolutely frozen with fear. Now, I look carefully when I am in my front yard garden near the house for fear he is there. Hopefully, Jim annoyed him enough with the 1×2 that he’ll think twice before coming back. Can’t deal with snakes, couldn’t deal with killing animals or fishing. Just wanted you to know you are not alone farm girl. I’m suburban farm girl. Love the country just not sure I can deal with what goes with it.

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