Sunday, September 26, 2010

Of My Grand Dream

O.K. I have been thinking...(scary, I know!) I need a dream. I have needed one for a long time now. I have needed some dream that when I wake up every morning it makes me excited to be alive--something that I can think about during the day, some sort of purpose, raising my beautiful children aside. There are only a handful of people whom I know of that actually have a real, significant dream. Or maybe I just don't know what people's dreams are...either way, it appears to me that most of us (and yes, I am including myself in this category--at least until now) just float through life, without any big hopes or plans. Don't get me wrong, I don't think there is anything necessarily wrong with that. I know people can go about doing a lot of good for a lot of people, just while they are travelling along the road of life.
However, does that kind of life make people excited to wake up every morning? Does it give people something to look forward to, to dream about, to research and learn about and keep those old brain cells alive? That is what I am after. So, the past several weeks I have been thinking a lot about my current interests, and what I might like to do with them--what I would like my dream to be. I think I have found it.

First, my current interests (a few of them, anyway):

1) I like to eat (don't we all!). More specifically, I like to eat really healthy foods (not that I always do, mind you.). I have been learning some very disturbing things lately about common foods we eat all the time, and the additives, preservatives, colorings, etc. in them, and the effects they can have on our health. It is fascinating to learn about, and makes me want to change a lot about the way my family eats. (This will be a future blog topic you may all look forward to with great anticipation!)

2) I like to garden. I'm probably far too practical for my own good, and as such, I'm not really a flower garden type of person (I leave that to Curtis and Maile!), but I love to grow stuff I can eat. You know, fruits, vegetables, nuts...that kind of thing. I didn't really discover this interest until I had a home/yard of my own, or I might have had a different major in college! (It's amazing what a difference ownership of something makes!) I find it so therapeutic to be around green, living things that I can nurture and care for, and see awesome results!

3) I like to help people. Mom and Dad gave all of us kids a great legacy of service to others. That is important to me on many levels, and makes me feel good when I can touch someone's life. I have been blessed on countless occasions by people who have come into my life and made a difference, and I would like to be that person for others as well.

4) I enjoy teaching. I particularly enjoy teaching teenagers. One of my first jobs in high school was for the county extension office, going throughout the county teaching health and nutrition classes to kids. It was so fun, despite my two partners, who, well, let's just say they weren't as enthusiastic around the kids as I thought they could have been. On a religious level, my favorite calling in the church thus far has been a youth Sunday school teacher. I love it! I loved it when the kids felt like we were good enough friends that they could come over and shoot paintballs at my fridge, or have water fights with us, or play capture the flag in the house. Teenagers are so alive and engaged, and I think some of their energy and zest for life wears off on me when I am around them. I thrive on it!

5) I also really enjoy being around the elderly, again, thanks to Mom, who had us volunteering for years at the Nursing Home, and also thanks to my job there as a teenager. One of my hopes for when Curtis and I become millionaires is to go around the country donating aviaries and square foot gardens to old folks' homes.

6) I love warmth and despise coldness. The weather here in CA is perfect, although the landscape is a little too deserty for my taste. (Is "deserty" a word?!) I am looking to head to Oregon, I think, though I am still researching the perfect place to live. It has to be plenty green, lots of rain but not too much, and a fairly temperate climate. I think I am alright with a VERY short, mild winter--just enough snow for the kids to play in on occasion, but not enough to have to do any serious shoveling. If anyone knows of such a place they could recommend after reading the rest of this blog entry please tell me! If your recmomendation is the winning ticket, I will reward you with cash and prizes galore!

7) I want to do humanitarian work. I got my BA in International Development, and by golly, I want to do something with it!

8) I am also very interested in using sustainable energy sources, and would love to eventually be completely independent as far as powering my house and appliances.

So, what to do with all of these interests? Well, I have decided I want to be a gentleman farmer, so to speak. Have kind of a U-Pick place, plus. I want to grow organic, healthy, good food, raise my own chickens and cows, have a kickin' orchard, I want to press my own apple juice, crack nuts in front of the fireplace from my own pesticide-free trees.....the list goes on.

I like the peace and tranquility of being in the country, but I have a problem, because I also love to be around people. I am very much a people person, but I don't like feeling crowded, if that makes any sense at all. So, that's where the U-Pick part comes in. Let the people come to me! Invite folks from the rest home to come and dink around in the garden. Maybe provide scholarships for inner city kids to come for camps/internships in the summer, and teach them about making healthy food choices, where their food comes from, and how to care for animals--give them responsibilities. Provide an inexpensive place for families to come and enjoy trying out life on a farm--let them pet and feed the animals, help gather eggs, and milk the cows, give them hayrides around the farm, let them slide down the slide I plan to have in the hayloft, or splash in the kiddie fountain, let them pick pumpkins from the pumpkin patch. Let them enjoy fresh organic apples from the orchard, or raspberries from the patch. Let them help take care of the animals at our in-house pet rescue. (-; I also want to provide temporary jobs for people who are down and out, until they can get back on their feet. One thought I had about that is maybe I could offer a system where people can pick stuff and keep a percentage of the produce to sell at a Farmer's Market or something. I do not believe in giving handouts, but I do believe in rewarding hard work! I am all about finding ways to do things that are mutually beneficial to all parties involved, and I think a system like that would be perfect.

I am very interested in employing some wonderful new farming techniques I have been learning about. I want to do grass farming with my cows, which is where the cows go into a field, munch on the grass for a few days, and then are rotated to a different pasture, and the chickens in their mobile coops are brought in to clean up the bugs after the cows. It is a little more involved then this, but you get the picture--very good for the environment, very sustainable.

I want to make my own cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese, from my antibiotic/hormone-free milk cows, and know that my family is getting the best, most healthy milk available (more on raw milk later).

I do have a slight drawback to this big, grandiose plan. I like to travel occasionally. I don't want to be so tied down to a farm like this that I could never take a vacation, or go visit family. That being said, I think it would be highly advantageous to do something like this with family members or perhaps close friends, so we could help each other out. Obviously, this dream I am forming would be way too much for just our little family to manage. If anyone is interested in sharing my dream and making it your own as well, let me know! I figure we can get a lot of acres, then everyone who wants to can build on a little spot, with a common area for everyone to enjoy. Just FYI, since I am dreaming, I do plan to have a very awesome heated pool/hot tub in the commons area for relaxing in after a hard day's work. I am a farmer girl at heart with city tendencies, or the other way around, or something! I do enjoy the finer things of life!

So, that is about it. I will be researching a reading a lot of books over the next years to find out the best methods of doing things, the best varieties of fruits and veggies, the best gardening techniques...I am so excited! I have woken up every day the past couple of weeks with something to look forward to and TONS to learn about. My hope is to have this ready to go by the time Arden begins high school. He is six now.

Here's to being independently wealthy and being able to finance something like this! Better get busy, Curtis! (-;


AC said...

Very cool idea. I've read that it's always important to have some goal or dream, I'm astonished at how many people are content to just live life from one day to the next not moving anywhere.

The Writer said...

Sounds like your dream is going to have to be your entire family's dream--specifically Curtis' dream. Better make sure he's on board with it. ;)

Kestrel said...

I'm down with this. Oregon is definitely the place to go, too. It's quite cool near the coast, but the further east you go the warmer it gets. I love Oregon. I wish to marry Oregon.

Hardin Family said...

TEXAS...Hardin Compound...cows, pigs, chickens in the near future...orchards...berries...people...dogs (sometimes they get in the trash) swimming...heat (visit Utah for that cursed snow stuff)...when can we expect you?
Good to hear your dream,