Not All Peaches

It can’t all be Peaches and Cream. Right?

There’s a school of thought that says without the bad you wouldn’t appreciate the good, without death you wouldn’t appreciate life.
Me? I’d like to give it a go. No bad; no death. Would suit me. Everything wonderful all the time sounds pretty good to me. I wouldn’t mind trying it and letting you know.

But no.
Farm life, like life anywhere and everywhere, is not perfect. And I’m having several problems here.
First, I don’t talk religion or politics. Ever. Not over dinner; not at parties; certainly not on a blog. But, I’m making an exception to the rule because maybe some of you have dealt with this and can help. Have you ever lived somewhere where everyone there practiced the same branch of religion EXCEPT your family? Have you ever been the only one with different religious beliefs and practices? Have you been treated differently because you believed differently? I knew this was the case going into this area, but I didn’t expect my daughter (6th grade) to feel the “you’re different” vibe before we did. But, indeed, that has been the case at her school. Some negative things have been said to her about her religion.

(thinking about going to get a fishing pole)

I have to say that her school has been phenomenal in addressing the issue. I told my husband that I thought we should return any and all negativity with LOVE. PURE LOVE. Because we really do love this place and the people who live here. And because, I think, for the most part, the negativity is based on their unknowing. But if you just show LOVE and more LOVE. How can folks not eventually come around and believe you’re a-okay, even if your beliefs are different? How can they not come around and LOVE you right back? Yep, I say LOVE ‘EM and NICE ‘EM.
And then there’s another Not Peaches And Cream Situation. In the form of a person. Yes, a person is taking the PEACEFUL out of my envisioned peaceful farm life. You see, there is a man who thinks he still lives on our farm. We are told that he used to work on farms in the area, including ours, until alcohol and drugs and confused thinking took over his life. Then, somehow, he was placed in a trailer on our farm to live a basically hidden and drunken life. He was eventually evicted and the trailer was removed before we bought the farm. He was moved to a place 15 miles from here, we are told. And yet he comes here, apparently drunk and confused, and thinks he still lives here. He scares me. I’ve dealt with a lot of people like him throughout the years, as clients and as defendants. So bleh. Not peaches and cream. It is quite undelightful to be sitting under my delightful maple tree in front of my delightful farmhouse and have to deal with that. We have had to install a locked gate across our driveway to keep him out. THe first time we met him, he was laying in our yard, smoking a cigarette, wearing a Russian fur hat on a hot day. My husband was mowing the lawn and hello! He said he lived here. When the police arrived, he ran and hid in the Christmas trees behind the house. Undelightful. Any suggestions welcomed.
What else have I been up to? Well, you know my affinity for that orange shag carpet? Well, hubby talked me into ripping it up. Wow, I’m glad he did. You would not have believed the yuckiness under that carpet. I didn’t. 40 years of dirt. Stinky dirt. We were having a very difficult time getting the funky smells out of the house. That orange carpet turned out to be the source of some of that smell.

We also ripped up the linoleum in the kitchen. And I can’t seem to scrape up the paper backing from the vinyl flooring and under the carpet was not hard-wood floors, but plywood. So, this is what I have for a while.

Oh my!

I am thinking about painting it for now. I can’t decide what color. Black? White? Brown? RED??
Now, I should intersperse hunky-dory-ness with these issues, shouldn’t I? Okay, for some honky-dory. Here’s some HUGE honky-dory. Do you see this gorgeous creature?

(flies driving the horses crazy. any way to help with that?)

He was born on our farm before the farm was ours. I’ve had my eye on him since day one. His mane is red tipped from the sun.
And he still lives here with his Mom, along with another mare and another colt. Well, we have fallen madly in love with him. He has been “mountain raised” and wouldn’t let us near him when we moved here. But, he slowly allowed my daughter to touch him and pet him, and now he even lets me. I finally asked (begged) the owner if he would sell that little guy to us, and the owner has agreed! Our first horse. No, don’t try to talk any sense into me. There’s no hope on this one. Love is love.
Now the weather here is fabulous. There’s no denying that autumn is right around the corner. The other morning I smelled wood-smoke when I took my daughter to school. Someone has their first fire of the season. In September? WOW! I love it! There’s a crispness in the air. A few leaves have begun to change. I love it here. I finally have a place that feels like HOME to me.

And then I talk to the chimney guy.
Bad news. The fireplaces cannot be used. Remember how I pictured having Thanksgiving Dinner in the dining room, with a fire roaring in the fireplace? No can do. Remember how I saw myself baking cookies in the kitchen with a fire burning close by in that brick fireplace? No can do. Remember how I imagined myself playing Christmas carols at the old piano in the living room, with a cozy fire going in the fireplace. Not. How about how I visualized my hubby and I snuggling close together, clinking wine glasses and smooching in front of the fire? A dream of the past.
None of our fireplaces are operative. None are appropriate for a liner because of the way they are constructed. Poor chimney guy. I just about cried on him. That’s horrible news for me. Out in the country, living in the mountains, with 8 fireplaces, and I can’t use any of them? That hurts. I’m brain storming big time.
Okay, forget about the rest of the problems. They’ll work themselves out eventually I’m sure. There’s just so much to love here.

This is what I get to see every day. No, not my barns (mine are in disrepair). These are my neighbor’s. What a  beautiful sight.

And here is a farm up the road from me.
I took this picture on my way to the AWESOME farmer’s market on foggy Saturday morning.

And here is what was happening on a farm down the road from me earlier today.

Cutting hay with horses!! I have NEVER EVER in my whole, entire 49 years seen anything like this. It brought tears to my eyes. Wonderful.

And here’s the view from my upper pasture.

(you can see the four horses in the pasture that live on our farm…our soon-to-be little black colt with a sun-bleached mane is there with his mom.)

Hey, who needs peaches and cream? I’m good.
I’m about to need an ATV, as you can see from these hills! Any suggestions? Favorite brands, models?
OXO OXO to you all! You are lovely and wonderful and supportive and sweet! I love you all! Thank you so much for everything! You help me keep it together!
Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!
Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

  1. Carol in NC says:

    Hang in there! Moving is hard enough; add renovation to the mix and it can be pretty overwhelming. Not to mention sixth grade which is known to be the hardest year out of twelve by a longshot. Love pure love!

    We once had a little paso fino yearling that we got in a horse trailer deal, jet black and beautiful with a perfectly smooth gait. I loved him, but my husband called him the demon horse from hell. Ha. He was pretty feisty but so much fun. We sold him at two and a half years and he is now a fantastic trail horse.

    If you don’t read Cold Antler Farm blog, check it out. You will fall in love with Jenna and her farm
    and I think you will find her encouraging. Your pictures of the horse drawn hay cutters reminded me of her.

  2. Sandy in Minnesota says:

    I am a Lutheran living in a Catholic community, 30+ years now. Even my husband was Catholic when we met! You are handling the situation just fine in my opinion. Let them see you are not so awful. And I found a very large Lutheran congregation in the next town where I am very active. My philosophy is to live a Christian life quietly but with authenticity. Let your light shine!

  3. Linda Erdmann says:

    Try Avon’s Skin So Soft Original Bath Oil on your horse for flies. Spray lightyly around tail area & rub some around the eyes, but don’t get it in the eyes….

  4. MartiBee says:

    Please make sure your new found love is gelded.

  5. Roma says:

    Hi. We have lived on rural properties in serveral different locations and countries and from our experience we would recommend a Mule…a Kawasaki Mule. It is so much fun to ride around in and has a little bed on the back to haul things and more than one person can ride around together. If you buy a typical ATV it will only haul one person at a time and part of the joys of country living is sharing beautiful sunsets, lovely views and even the simple times of working together! Just our suggestion….

  6. Kim K. says:

    On the not all peaches and cream, yes. I currently live in TN in an area where my religious and political views differ dramatically from the majority of the population. I love living here but hate feeling uncomfortable about my views. My workplace is less than hospitable when it comes to that, especially the politics. But I’ve learned to cope. I feel for your daughter because people can be so harsh, especially other children.

    But on the peaches and cream side, look where you get to live!! So beautiful and so peaceful (with the exception of prior tenant dude – scary!) and so much to be thankful for.

    Re: fireplaces. I know it won’t be the same but how about installing either gas logs or using those candle holders made to be placed in the fireplace? At least temporarily until you can figure something else out.

  7. Maureen says:

    How about a black and white checkerboard for your floor? You could easily paint a square or two at a time, so as not to be overwhelmed by the whole concept.

    As far as the religious aspect, keep to your kindness philosophy as people have to love and appreciate other people for who they are. I am always amazed at what goes on in the world under the guise of "religious beliefs". Daily living can be hard enough without tearing people apart for their differences. Kindness and love rules always!

    How about some of those fireplace candelabras for ambiance? You’re heading into the most beautiful seasons, enjoy it!

  8. Jackie says:

    What a beautiful place! Are gas inserts an option for your fireplaces? I love mine and no messy ashe.

  9. Rebecca says:

    Kill ’em with kindness is my answer when someone tries to give me a hard time about my beliefs. It’s worse when it involves your child, but still works. I am so sorry that you can’t use your fireplaces. I was looking forward to living my dream of a home with a fireplace through you. Your farm really is BEAUTIFUL, though, and there still seems to be quite a bit of peaches and cream for you to enjoy.

  10. Diana Henretty says:

    Good for you for looking at the positive even though right now life is a little
    We’ve been thru a similar experience, left our church in a small town where later our family was shunned for several years. Our kids were teens at the time, so we faced a mountain daily.
    Stay sweet, stay kind, show everyone what true love really is.
    Keep focused on your blessings each day, count them on a dry erase board where your family can write theirs too at the end of a long day.
    As the old Christmas songs says "The wrong shall fail, the right prevail"….
    ~Hugs~ from Diana in the Ozarks.

  11. meredith says:

    I second the motion on the Kawasaki Mule! We have one that is about 15 years old- couldn’t run the farm without it- and it is like the energizer bunny- it just keeps on running- even when it is feeling sick. If the day ever comes that it has to be "put out to pasture" we would not consider replacing it with any other brand.
    I also second the motion to get your new friend gelded as soon as the vet recommends!
    I would be up in your maple tree calling the police on the man who wont leave your farm alone- you have every right to, just on trespassing if nothing else.
    Show your community that you are genuine and loving- there is no excuse for your daughter to experience this at that age- the way you react will prove your faith. Good luck!

  12. Denise says:

    True "grit" will get you through the next few months. Enjoyed your article in the magazine and can see how having "grit" can help you through the less than enjoyable moments. You really need to get a few fishing poles and enjoy the solace.

  13. I am so sorry you’re having these problems. It must feel like hitting a brick wall. I’m so curious though – how did they KNOW? Are y’all purple with feathers, or something, that they could tell just by looking, that you were a different religion?

    I think you’ve got the right idea about it. Be yourselves, be kind, and give them love. Cookies might help, too. Or better yet, pitch in and help if a family needs something, or there’s a community festival, things like that. I do know what it’s like to be different, but most people eventually come to accept you.

    I like the other suggestions for your fireplaces. Fake it ’till you make it, I guess. I really hope you’re able to change the fireplaces so you can use them.

    Good luck with everything! Just think, a year from now, perhaps most of these issues will be gone, and you’ll have possible solutions for the others. Keep your hopes up!

  14. Rhonda Lane says:

    I just LOVE hearing all about your new experiences and thank you for sharing once again. I grew up with horses and the best product for repelling flies is called Wipe Fly Repellent. You can buy it online or wherever they sell products for horses. You will instantly see the relief it gives an animal and the scent is fairly pleasant too. Take care & have fun!

  15. Margaret says:

    I would suggest you get a second opinion on those fireplaces. There are so many new things out there that it would not surprise me that someone has a solution that would work. Do a little research on line too.

    With the community just be yourself and again do research on their religion so you understand where their feelings are coming from so you can understand these folks better. It would be like a midwestern (Nebr, KS, Wyom) moving into a New Jersey or New England community and not understanding any of the customs of the other religions in the area and there holidays etc.let along their dialect. Smile I am trying to be positive about this all. Good Luck and enjoy your new home.

  16. I am just reminded of the verse that says Love never fails…. and as for the fireplaces, I agree gas logs for now…and maybe something will come for the drunk guy, I am sooo sorry you have to experience that especially around your little girl…I will pray for that situation to dissolve..and I will pray that your daughter’s school mates learn more about love and not just religion. Be Blessed

  17. Shery says:

    Well, now you know you’re home. It is ALL yours…including owning the "unpleasantries" :o) I say that with compassion. I do feel for you … and most especially your little girl. It is hard to go to a new place, period, much less having to endure being singled out as even more different than just ‘new’. Your ‘love em’ response is the right one. You can’t control the choices that others make, but you can control your own and rise above the poor choices of others. It will be a character building experience for her, albeit not a fun one. My dad was in insurance and I was married to the military for several years too. I know all about having to start over in new places…as a kid and as an adult. It is not easy, but eventually things fall into place. You fell in love with the farm and you love each other. It will be enough to get your through. :o) hugs.

    What puzzles me is why anyone would put that many ‘just for looks’ fireplaces in a house … and an old one at that. Now that’s just plaid weird. Is there any evidence of them having had fires in them before??? Hm, well if you can’t use them as is, then maybe re-think how to use them differently…the new high efficiency gas log type or some other insert? You’d have the visual flamey thing…minus the mess. Maybe the options will be better than the original idea? Sunnyside thinking?

    With the right training, I bet your new horse will work out fine. At least, he’s not a repair horse. He’s clean…no bad experiences, no unfortunate history to un-do.

    MyOhMy girl, you’ve got a full plate and no more beautiful a place to do it all in. Good gravy, it looks like what all of Grandma Moses paintings were based on … storybook country images.

    Keep your eye on the dream. Not even the scarey ole drunk fella can impede a farmgirl with a vision.Call the law and be firm. Stake your claim and stand on it girlfriend. The world will come around and your dream farm will EVENTUALLY live up to your hopes for it. In the meantime, you’ll probably relate to the Tom Hanks movie, The Money Pit, from time to time. Laugh whenever you can grab a giggle. You’re gonna need it.

    Sending supportive thoughts from Wyoming…where we’ve yet to finish my dream place in 18 years.

  18. Cindy says:

    Oh, my dear Rebekah….I have no suggestions other then what has already been suggested here, and it’s really great advice! But my dear, I will say this: I am sending you and yours an abundance of love and good energy in your new home. Everything will work out, it always does! People will be people and people will judge, but your response of pure love is beautiful, and the ONLY way to handle the situation. May you be surrounded and protected by love, joy and good will. May your days enjoy a savory ripeness, and may your hard work reap a bountiful harvest of bliss. You are such a wonderful woman, and I love your blog! You are a blessing to those who know and love you. Thank you for sharing your life with us, the good, the beautiful, and the less than perfect parts. All shall be well…


  19. Marcie says:

    Hi Rebekah,
    I like the gas log suggestion too. They heat the room, look great, clean and no mess to clean.
    Also agree with "kill them with kindness" approach … your daughter will become a stronger person too.
    About the trespasser … he wrote his own destiny years before you met him, plus he’s messing with the wrong person now. You know the law … use it to your advantage and find peace of mind that you’re right.
    Love the pony, what a great addition to your farm.
    Also, love the suggestion about the mule or a ranger instead of an ATV. A shared ride for your family around the farm would be great.
    To control flies around our chicken coop and yard we use a food grade Diatomaceous Earth … works like a charm and it is safe for one and all. Should work well around all animals. We find this at our local county co-op.
    Rebekah, enjoy your beautiful farm and hopefully everything else will fall into place.
    Enjoy this beautiful fall in the mountains.

  20. Dianne says:

    You have the right idea about the religion. Kindness is the best virtue. I would suggest the Mule also. A GREAT machine. I like the idea about the checkered floor. I had one (vinyl) in my kitchen and loved it. It is so beautiful at your new home. SO HAPPY FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

  21. Beverly says:

    Hi Rebekah….I’ve enjoyed your posts for many years now and I’m quite envious of your beautiful new life. Of course there will always be bad with the good but in know in good time things will work out for the best. As a horse owner for many, many years I know you will find much happiness with your new bundle of joy. The only thing I would add is that horses are herd animals and they really need a friend to hang with not only for companionship but for security(safety in numbers). All the best to you and yours in your new life!!

  22. KatieB says:

    Hi!! Sorry to hear about the chimneys, but yes, get a 2nd (and 3rd) opinion.. gas inserts are great and heat up the place without all that heat escaping up the chimney! As far as your situation with the locals; we moved from busy Southern California to rural Tennessee to find some peace and beauty.. not everyone likes newbies, but oh well. We just respond with kindness and humor and soon, sorta, they come around. The rest is between them and their Maker. You had more guts than we did, we bought in a subdivision with 1/2 an acre, which was a good ‘spread’ compared to the postage-stamp-block-wall-bordered-lot we had before. But, starting to feel confident to spread out a bit and maybe in the next 2-4 years we’ll migrate to 3-5 acres, Lord willing.. Exciting right? I had to buy several books on planting seasons/plant types for this part of the country, since I haven’t a clue. Seems like I’m starting from scratch when it comes to understanding the various seasons, etc. All I’m used to is just sun, sun, sun and 50 degrees was considered cold. Loving the different weather here, it makes me feel alive.. the smell of rain, trees, hay, cows and horses.. can’t get enough! So yes, different place/different problems but the upside is HUGE!. Don’t be discouraged, little steps will get you where you want to be…Enjoy the RIDE!! ")

  23. hobbit says:

    Wow! You had a mouthful to say on this blog!First let me say,A loving mother feels a child’s pain a hundredfold. I grew up in a New England town with one church, Congregational.We were french Canadian in our heritage,our grandparents only spoke french and it was disrespectful to speak english in their presence.Therefore, english happened when I started school.My father drove us to a bi lingual school every day of his life.There was no kindergarten to give us a "headstart" My family was Catholic and a family friend drove to our home every Sunday to say Mass.We were taught,as you are doing, that God is God and we all reach out to Him in a different way.Like your unwelcomed visitor there will always be people who just don’t get it. I have to say that when my brothers and I became adults my parents had already instilled a sense of purpose in us and most people like us just fine and are only too happy to enjoy our friendship.With your guidance, I’m sure the same will be true of your daughter.Patience and love will rule.I must say I think the fireplaces are your biggest problem.Love the pictures.Before we had a tractor on our farm,the sight of those big black horses meant that my grandfather would hoist me up on the back when he walked them back to the barn. Such fun for me……today he would be arrested for child endangerment. So glad you are able to see a bright side to all of this as you have taken on a huge project.You "be steady" in your journey and you can’t go wrong.

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