Transitioning to Farm Life

21 September 2021 | Veronique |

Detoxing from city life and settling into farm life has been challenging. There has been so much to absorb and adjust to, it all becomes a bit of a blur eventually.

Funny enough, the weather has been the biggest challenge.  The stifling heat of those very hot bush winds before the rains come have been debilitating. Being in a half built house means we don’t have the protection from the elements yet.  When the gale force winds blow, we have to close all the windows and the house becomes a sauna! It becomes impossible to work as the heat just drains all the life out of you. The sun then sets directly where I need to work, so that also makes it impossible to see.  We’re going to have to make a separate office facing East soon and invest in air-conditioning.

The city is a blaze of never ending noise, and a big reason we moved to the country was to get some peace and quiet. This has had mixed results because 2 of the locals pump music over weekends which destroys the peace in every direction.  No amount of conversation has stopped them, so we just go inside and put on a movie instead of enjoying an evening braai.

There are still dogs barking, although much further away and only intermittently.

Roosters are new. It took me a couple of weeks to get used to them, but now I don’t even hear them anymore.  I consider them sounds of the future and of sustainability.

Feet! Broken and sore feet! I don’t think my poor feet will ever recover.  The dust and heat has caused terrible cracks from which there appears to be no escape.  All my usual tricks have failed.  Maybe one day when we have grass and proper flooring I can go on a recovery mission, until then, I’ve had to learn to live with it. I used to be really proud of my pretty little feet and toes – not so much right now.

Getting into a new rhythm is taking much longer than I expected.  Moving to the bush to a place we built from scratch has been such an assault on the senses, it’s taking time to settle.  Morning routines have become longer, but thankfully it’s getting lighter earlier now, so it’s easier to get up earlier. I’ve had to rethink my usual work routine because farm life is demanding.

New birds are everywhere! We’ve identified 35 species so far and they are hugely entertaining. My office desk now has binoculars and the camera on hand in case a special visitor pops in. You are forced to stop what you are doing and just watch them. It’s impossible not to.

There is something that needs maintenance or fixing or building every single day.  The list keeps growing. I’ve made peace that it will take a lifetime to do it all, Buffy is still struggling to come to terms with that concept, he finds if difficult to rest.

Your car is never clean – not on the outside anyway.  When you have to travel 11km of dirt road to get here, it is a physical impossibility keeping it clean.  The inside is only slightly better, long as you don’t need to transport dogs, plants or wood!

Everything takes three times as long as you think it will, and cost twice as much as you planned for.  This is the law of farm life, just accept it and move on.

Existential crises – they still happen, to me anyway. Despite all my dreams always coming true, I still descend into the Dark Night of the Soul, the view is just better while it’s happening. You cannot run or escape from your limiting beliefs, fears, triggers and demons, they will follow you relentlessly and unravel in layers.  You simply have to face them head on to dispel them.  This is the most important work you will ever do.

But despite all this, and a bunch of things I’ve probably forgotten – it is worth every single second! Waking up to pristine bushveld; hearing lions, hyena and jackal almost nightly; nightjars every night; frogs calling in the distance; gorgeous moons, sunsets, sunrises and Milky Way with shooting stars and meteors; new friends, happy animals, clean air, free electricity, free water, no debt, both of us gainfully employed, a vision for the future, and working together to make it a reality. There is a lot to be grateful for and I am very glad we are doing this.

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