I want a farm with pigs, chickens, goats, and sheep. I’d like an apple orchard, and fields with strawberries and raspberries. In the vegetable garden, I’d grow lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, carrots, and squash. The farm would be in a temperate climate with four seasons but where the winters aren’t frigid and the summers don’t bake the soil and the people walking on it. The farm would be surrounded by woods where birds roost and small animals mate and raise their young. Neighbors would be a half hour walk away.
How would I earn my living so I wouldn’t be a burden on society? I’d feed my family on what I grew and raised. I’d bake pies with fresh fruit and cook ready-to-eat meals with local grown produce to sell in town. I’d sell goat cheese and natural ice cream. During the winter months, when not much grows, I’d weave scarves, knit baby clothes, crochet shawls and baby blankets, and sew dresses and shirts. My husband would craft sandals, pocket books, and children’s furniture.
I wish I’d lived that life. To bring the dream to life in fiction, I’d need to spend much time researching. Would the research take away the smell of damp soil and crisp apples? Would all I need to know and do activate feelings of inadequacy and low back pain? If I’d lived that life, would I have given birth to nerds who hankered after video games, Ikea furniture, and cybernetics?
When I was a child, adults stressed that education kept a person out of poverty and in the middle class. (I used to think we were a classless society but the middle class is big in politics as this year’s victim). I was told I needed a profession for job security and should marry a man with a profession. The professions I saw as a child were practiced in cities and suburbs.
Years ago, my great aunt said she thought I should work on the land. She shocked me to the depths of my ten year old soul. I planned to grow up into a skinny, beautiful model who earned millions and was adored by men with both muscles and brain. (I have been skinny). No way was I going to get up at dawn to milk cows and clean out animal pens. I should have listened to my great aunt. I could even argue that farming is a profession that can take its place alongside teaching and dentistry. Universities offer courses in agriculture.
Do you have an unfulfilled dream? Can you turn it into fiction?