This morning, Shrek was on TV. Shrek was on his way to wherever he was going with the donkey. They walked through a pastoral paradise that called to me and my ten year old. We talked about how much we regretted not buying the house in the country this summer. We signed a contract that was dependent on the cost of running business-class internet wires across train tracks in a little corner of Ohio that has less access to technology than many parts of Africa. When we got the quote of $23,000 for a quarter mile of internet cable, we opted out of buying the house that seemed to promise us peace and tranquility.
Instead, we built vegetable gardens lined with pavers in our suburban back yard, intermingled with a frog-shaped sandbox, wooden swing set, and baby pool. We placed a bright orange beach umbrella in the middle of it all to shade two chairs. It was a little bit of country paradise on a pie-shaped quarter acre.
Once we had our miniature farm-like paradise completed and sat outside to enjoy it, the sounds of aging air-conditioner units, the roar of the highway in the distance, and the sounds of cars at the stop-sign just behind our yard were a complete distraction for me. I tried to write outside but only ended up writing about the sounds that kept distracting my mind. Inside was worse: the hum of technology was and still is overwhelming - refrigerator, air cleaners, too many computers, a basement data-center with a dozen servers, and even the power-vent in the attic that we thought we couldn't live without. Together, all of these technology items create a hum that makes it impossible for me to truly relax.
I remember a day when the electricity went out. I was napping. The sudden sound of silence jolted me out of a nap. This made me realize how the noise of our home was too much for me.
Today, as my son and I contemplated planting sunflower seeds in the tiny end of our back yard and longed for a yard big enough to support big dogs, I had an epiphany. We could still move to paradise in the country - maybe not the same house since it likely won't still be for sale. But we could save our money in case we need to drop a fortune to wire our house for technology. We could do it in three or four years. I asked him if he would like to move then - he wholeheartedly agreed if only for the possibility of a yard full of dogs.
Unfortunately, my older child will be in college by then. I told her about our idea - the first thing she said was that she would be in college by then. Then she smiled and said she would definitely apply for the nearby university. I told her she could still live there with us in the summer if she goes to college somewhere else, which was met by and even bigger smile.
We brainstormed about barns, barn cats, and little goats to cut the grass. We designating a spot for a short grass tennis court - after all, Wimbledon is grass, right? - and a pond where we could stock fish we like to eat. We can build a greenhouse and create a sustainable lifestyle where we are not dependent on processed foods. I envision a back section of the land that we could set aside for pumpkins, cantaloupe, and watermelon. We grew watermelon in our little garden last year, but the vines took over the grassy areas. We definitely need to give melons more square footage.
My husband joined in our fantasy that could actually become a reality in just four years - he researched greenhouses and irrigation systems before I could get out of my mouth the gardening ideas I had.
Last year, we were very successful growing organic tomatoes - grape tomatoes and regular sized ones. We grew a couple of good watermelons and too many green peppers. This year, I want to research it more. As I thought about it more and more this morning, I think the thing that will set our plan in motion is if I work hard to become a better gardener on our tiny little plot of land and expand my farming technique past tomatoes and green peppers.
I am very excited for spring and can't wait to document my adventure in becoming a country mouse as I go.