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Last updateTue, 04 Nov 2014 9pm

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Down on the Farm

I can’t really say I have become a farmer.  That takes a special type of person, more acreage, and a lot more work.  All I have are a few acres, a barn, two horses, some pastures, and a garden.  However, even though a lot about my life still seems suburban, it’s also changed a lot too.  

One of my first observations of life in the country was how dark it was.  There are no streetlights nearby and only minimal lights from the neighbors.  It’s wonderful, but there is the occasional downside. One night, it was so dark, that I managed to walk into one of pasture fences.  But then, the magical part, I had forgotten what it was like to see the stars.  They aren’t quite the light show I remember at sea, or what you get out west, but for being so close to a metropolitan area the sky scape is amazing.  Now, with my telescope, I can actually see something.  

Then they’re the critters.  I always thought that foxes barked.  Well, it sounds more like screaming to me.  And owls, yes they hoot, but I really don’t appreciate they’re doing it outside my window.  But so far, old Native American legends notwithstanding, I’m still here.  Ah, but my favorite encounter, was the first week we moved in.  I came home late and before I went into the house I decided to go check out the barn.  On my way, out in the nearby pasture, I saw a cat.  Or, at least I thought I did.  I had been in my new home a week, and so far, no sign of any cats.  And I like cats.  Could I get it to come to me?  Probably not, but I thought I would give it a try. With some “here kitty kitties,” I did my best and to my surprise the cat obliged.  It cheerfully started to prance towards me the way cats do.  However, as it got closer I noticed something odd.  What I had thought was a cat had short legs, and as it got closer, it seemed to have an unusually wide body.  Then in the starlight I noticed a flash of white on its back.  Oops.  This was no cat. It was a skunk.   Naturally, I didn’t want to scare my friendly, but potentially smelly new friend, so making no sudden moves, I got up and started moving towards the back door.  Thank goodness it was unlocked.  I have seen my friend since, but we keep our distance.

Taking care of my old house wasn’t all that difficult.  It was a typical suburban home.  A few fix ups now and again, mowing the grass, fertilizing, trimming the trees, and taking care of a small garden during the summer. But that’s all changed.  There is always a chore to do.  I load and unload bails of hay from the loft and haul in bags of feed.  Also, since there were some modifications that needed to be made to accommodate our horses, I needed to build two new stalls.  And there are always things that need fixing. The work out I get, lifting, hauling, hammering, and digging rivals anything a gym could offer.  Then there is the tractor.  At first I was a little afraid of it.  It’s loud, powerful, and I had never operated one before.  My first observation was that, “they really should put seat belts on these things.”  Ah, but what a remarkable piece of equipment.  There is an attachment for everything.  It plows, tows, tills, and even cuts grass.  

Then, there was the one winter night, when I came home from work, and I had a small chore that had to get done, and it required using the tractor.  It was getting dark and so I went straight to the tractor still wearing my suit and tie and dress shoes.  It was a pretty silly image, and it reminded me of Eddie Albert on the 1960’s TV program “Green Acres.”  My wife tried to get a picture, but fortunately, by the time she got her cell phone focused on me, it was too dark. Thank goodness.

In six months on the farm, I am slowly making the transition, but almost as quickly as I think I have it all figured out, there is a new challenge, which readily reminds me that I have a lot to learn. But, make no mistake, I have enjoyed every minute of it.

You may reach David Kerr at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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