Abandoned Farms of America
If you have ever walked on the land of a lonely farm you may have felt what we are about to describe. There are sleeping farms all over America but especially in the Colonial East. Previous generations farmed it and as each generation passed it to another, eventually there was no one to pass it to. The children wanted something different and with no one to take the land, it lies dormant. The great barn roofs sag in time, the piles of debris corrode with the passage of time. Abandoned trucks or trailers and coops wait. But most of all the old farmhouse looks out its windows, waiting for someone who cares to come along and breathe life into it before the roof damage takes the possibility away.
We lived in such a place once. There had been no life for 16 years. The only life we found was 1 tarantula and 2 snakes, a few weeds and scattered sagebrush. All other life was gone. No worms. Not even any bugs. No prairie dogs, No deer. Nothing. Living farms down the road had all those things, but without life breathing daily into a place, all other life ceases to be. As chickens were brought in and gardens were planted with compost, slowly the other life began to return. The sleeping, damaged house first became a storage room and then a small home. There was roof damage but it was repaired, walls were removed with new ones put up, and slowly life was breathed in and the land began to live.
All over America, farms wait and hope that someone will come and love them and breathe life into them. The sleeping farms long for the time when a cow will splat their sweet manure upon the ground changing the dead soil into living organisms. The old farms listen for chickens to cluck and pigs to oink, for turkeys to gobble and sheep to baa.
With the movement to go back to the land, there is hope for these old farms to receive a new owner. We are reminded of the great dust bowl and the crime that was committed against the land. If only every desolate place could have a new homestead owner to love it, manage its soil and grasslands and treat it with respect. The land waits to give back.
There is a couple who has tasted the life on the land. We are that couple. We have sowed the land and brought a bountiful harvest from the desert soil. We have embraced chickens both layer and broilers and acknowledge their willingness to give to us eggs, give work through tilling and manure and at last, give their life for food. We have raised pigs, milked goats, and loved our milk cow, Clara Bell. We have walked the land, woke up to the sunrises and laid our heads down to the sunsets.
We long for it with an ache in our hearts. We feel like lost farmers with no land to nourish. We long for fresh soil to be nurtured in our garden and animals to care for.
Yet, there is a tug-of-war going on inside as we decide where to find our farm. The farm that is lonely for us. This tug-of-war pulls us between family and lush affordable land.
We struggle to understand why land without sufficient water, requiring irrigation and extra care, comes at such a premium price. We look at land, whether closer to family or in remote parts of the states near our family and discover very few properties within our price range. Most of this land has limited agricultural value while showing beauty to someone longing for breathtaking mountain views. If these were our only choices we would sort between them and find which makes the most sense for us.
On the other side of the tug, we are aware of many localities that offer rich agricultural land within our price range. Many have ponds, streams, trees, and bushes along with lush fields for pastures. Some even have amazing homes and outbuildings already in place.
To Sustainably Live In Place we must have a reliable ability to grow our own food both now and in the future. We can adapt to almost any condition. We will do so if we must. Few choices are completely one-sided and must become balanced between pros and cons, likes and dislikes, heart and head. We must be able to happily live with our decision.
Our Quest is Not Over
Either choice brings us joy and sadness. Our task is to discover the balance we are willing to live with.
There, you have it! Our longing for a home while balancing our family ties and the lonely, ownerless, abandoned farms. Somewhere in this big beautiful nation is our answer.