We discovered our farm in the spring of 2009... and while we were in no place ready to buy a house out-right, we knew we couldn't pass it up. While it did mean a few sacrifices (goodbye: New Expedition, hello: minivan we bought at a garage sale....), it was totally worth it. We went from a two-bedroom (ok, three bedroom if you count the converted porch) trailer-house on a city lot, to a three bedroom farmhouse with a barn, shop, garage, and several acres to spread out.
Plus, it had trees!!!! For those of you here on the prairie, who don't know understand what is so important about trees (and I'm not talking about a windbreak of Rocky Mountain Juniper)... let me explain.When I was young I would lay on the grass and look up at the light as it filtered through the trees and just wonder at the beauty of it. And yes, I have dedicated whole scrapbook pages to just trees. Trees nobody planted, but God. I digress... I grew up in Eastern PA, where you get views like this of rolling hills covered in trees, which turn a multitude of colors in the fall and just literally take your breath away.
Here on the plains, where trees only grow where you plant them. Here, the home of Arbor Day and the largest hand-planted forest in the United States... trees are valuable and, well, not really diverse. The upside, is that you can see your dinner guests coming from a mile away; the downside, is that the local nursery hardly even stocks "full shade" plants. Still looking for an affordable place to pick up hostas for the North side of the house. Another thing I didn't know growing up in PA... that the South side was sunny and the North shady. Every side was shady! But here you are very aware of the sun and it's path through the sky. I now know why we have a lovely tall row of pines on the south side of the house... except that they have been "topped off" at just the right height so that the sun shines full on the house in the heat of summer, but they shade the driveway nicely, so the snow there never melts in winter. (Lest I sound like I'm complaining: driveway shade is a much praised blessing from the Lord in summer).
So there you have it, we bought the farm. The one with a few trees. :) If my husband were writing this, his favorite feature to mention would probably be the shop, or the way the living room flows through the dining area into the kitchen. (I like that too!)The kids would probably talk about the barn, or the forts they build all over the place (the latest being a dug-out under the wood-pile; not sure what I think about that). But my favorite thing is that this place grows! Not only trees, which I plan to plant a lot more of, but three acres of real farm ground, and enough room besides them. I have been planting ever expanding gardens... and there's enough water access (irrigation/wells) to grow it all. That's something else I had no clue about in PA; we didn't even own a sprinkler!
Why is that so important to me? Because growing is a gift from God. Through watching growing things, creatures, and natural processes, I have been able to teach my kids about the nature of our creator. About His beautiful design for our lives. About the natural paths of time, through change of season, and winter hardship, to spring time: where faith really can be described by a seed.
Mark 4:30-32 "Then He said, 'To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.' "
Even Jesus knew a little bit of shade could be compared with Heaven. :)