I’m trying to be all healthy and active and whatnot

I Read A Lot of Internets

land spreadin' out so far and wide

There are times, usually when I’m doing something domestic, like cooking or baking, or lamenting my perpetually messy and dusty house, when I get a twinge of wanting to devote myself to wifey things. This gets even more perverted when I think about how much I would like to micro-manage our food; have a garden, do all of our baking, try to do everything that I can to make sure that what we eat is the best that it can be for us and the earth. /hippie

But these are things that, when I’m honest with myself, I just don’t have the time or, more importantly, the energy to take on. I can’t just pack every second that I’m not at work with housework. I need to relax and sit sometimes.

Anyway, I told my friend Angela the other day that I was having a Diane-Keaton-in-Baby-Boom moment because I had some down time at work and found myself searching real estate websites for farms for sale.


Turns out Angela sometimes has the same urges for a more scaled-down and self-sustaining existence, one in which we don’t rely on companies to do the right thing but instead grow our own food and whatnot, go to bed when it gets dark, wake up with the sun, work, retire to the porch, send the baby outside to play all day or do his chores.

One thing that I like about living in a city is that you are always coming face-to-face with the fact that being part of a society means relying on each other. From macro things like paying taxes so everyone can have roads and sidewalks and schools and fire departments, to more micro things like the bus driver coming on time so that I can get to work and help the people that I work with everyday.

But at the same time, I find myself longing to be away, quiet, and having some semblance of control over my environment. Plus, Pennsylvania has some really beautiful country.


I realize that this is highly idealized vision of such a life, that it’s incredibly hard, physical work that I’m just not used to. And I know that, realistically, I would get so sick of living in the middle of nowhere after a short time.

There’s also the not insignificant matter that I’m somewhat terrified of the country, having seen too many horror movies where psychotic, mutant axe murders lurk in the trees, waiting to chop me into bits and bake me in a casserole to be served to their inbred, mutant family.

I told my mom about my farming idea the other day and she immediately reminded me of the time we went to a family friend’s farm outside of Conneaut Lake and I got thoroughly freaked out by a group of kids who went to play in the corn field. At night. And there was some flood light or something that bounced their shadows along the barn and it looked so creepy that I remarked to someone, “Ten children went in, but only five will come out.” I sought refuge in the farmhouse, the walls of which were covered in deer heads. I’m not in any way opposed to hunting, but when you’re trying to calm down, decapitated deer aren’t the most soothing sight.

Quit looking at me like that.

Another obstacle to my rural fantasies is my incredibly sensitive skin, which achieved some kind of notoriety this past weekend by getting horrifically burnt while I was firmly in the shade of a wooden structure. It took a few hours to really develop, but on Saturday night, the husband came in late from a bachelor party (which did not include strippers but instead consisted of poker, cigars, domestic beer, firing guns, and watching Ultimate Fighting, aka The Most Dude Agenda Ever) to find me half naked in bed, an alarming shade of red, covered in damp rags and making some kind of, “Ehhhhhhhh,” sound. He couldn’t wrap his head around my ability to get burned under those circumstances and has since teased me at every opportunity. Last night, for example, on our way to the movies, he asked me if I had sunblock on. “That projector gets pretty bright, man.”

(Aside: the weekend before last I managed to get extremely drunk from three beers. I feel like all of my defenses are failing me.)

The final big obstacle to my farm-to-be is that the husband has absolutely no interest in moving out of the city. We either split up and I forge ahead on my own or I drag him out there and just let the axe murders behind my house know when he’s whining about the lack of sidewalks and public transit.

8 comments to land spreadin’ out so far and wide

  • Dean J

    It’s kind of nice here that you can be in cow country in an hour’s drive. (San Francisco, much to my surprise, put us into cows in about the same amount of time after crossing the Golden Gate, but here, you can manage that distance with traffic.)

    We keep considering moving somewhere significantly more rural; we only go out and see friends every other week, but have to deal with the negatives of the city fairly regularly. The thing that keeps us here is probably food; between Trader Joe’s, farmers markets, and a *ton* of restaurants, we’re spoiled.

    If you live rural, there’s no Chipotle, strangely enough.

    Here’s looking to the future, when everyone can telecommute to the job they already work, and the rural areas have better food options that don’t involve a strip mall. Or something.

  • Dean J

    Yeah, I hear you there. I keep hoping I’ll find some rural enclave of awesome, though.

    Just salty this week. Was on a run, and some drunk up at the corner store threatened to beat my ass for hitting his kid on the head with a bottle. Which wouldda been fine – he wasn’t going to be able to do that – but I very much didn’t hit his kid in the head with a bottle.

    I dislike urban shitty drama. If you’re going to get housed drunk, and you’re an easily confused angry drunk, 3 in the afternoon might be a bit early to hit the bottle in public.

  • The title of this post was KILLING me, because it was familiar but I couldn’t place it for the life of me. I finally broke down and Googled it. Amen.

    I fantasize about rural living from time to time. But I know myself, and I know that if I had to drive more than 20 minutes to get to the grocery store or work, I would cry. What I NEED, see, is a country cabin to go to on the weekends. Oh, and a staff of people to keep it cleaned and maintained and be responsible for landscaping and garden upkeep. Is that so much to ask for simple country living?!

    • mstiegirl

      @jive turkey, I was having trouble figuring out the title, too! I knew I knew it but it took me a few minutes to figure it out.

      As someone who recently moved from Bloomfield to a quiet suburban neighborhood in Westmoreland County, I have to say that I’m feeling the opposite type of longing that you are. In the city you have better access to public transportation, you don’t have to drive every day, you can walk to so many places… I miss all of that. My 45 minute commute (that used to be 5 minutes tops) is slowly killing me. I miss being around so many people, too. Oh, and the restaurants.

      The only two positive things that I can find about living out of the city is that I feel comfortable letting my car run to warm up in the winter without supervising it and I love that UPS/FedEx can just leave packages on my front porch without anyone signing for them.

    • @jive turkey, I was also looking at lake houses today. We need to pool our money, have a bake sale or some shit.

  • here is another solid “Amen” and this is why i am so interested / obsessed with urban farming !

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