- Mental Health
How to Have a Country Heart in a City Life
Well life on the farm is kinda laid back...
I often find myself wishing I lived in pioneer times. Things seem so much simpler then, didn’t they? Sure there was no running water or sewer systems but there’s something appealing about waking with the sun, tending to your garden and making your own bread.
Ok, I’m snapping out of it now and realizing I do appreciate our modern amenities more than I may acknowledge, but there is something to be said for a country life. A life of simplicity, wholesome hard-working days and a peaceful night’s rest. I’m sure anyone on a farm who regularly deals with country vets, cows breaking fences and goats eating your garden would argue the totally peaceful part but in my mind’s eye it still seems idyllic.
My mom, grandma and great-grandparents were all born and raised in the south, and having lived through tornadoes, in chicken coops, and driven big rigs across the heartland they taught me something about the country way of life.
So if you feel yourself longing for that pastoral life, here are a few ideas to bring the country to your city (or suburban) life.
Get Down and Dirty
Roll up your sleeves and don your sunbonnet (or baseball cap) as you prepare your soil, plant little seedlings and tend to them as they grow. When you garden you get a bit cozier with mother earth and become more aware of the weather--I've found myself wondering whether our little warm spell here is going to harm my snow peas! You can even do some research on planting by the moon--the theory that the cycles of the moon affect the way your plants will grow.
Planting a garden has been a big trend lately with the status of the economy being the way it is. Growing your own organic food means you don't have to worry about a salmonella outbreak, pesticides intoxicating your body and polluting our soil and water tables, or the CO2 produced in making packaging materials and shipping the food. Even if you don't care to grow food, being surrounded by blooming flora does the heart good. And you don't need a lot of space to make a garden. Container gardens are an easy way to plant--and you can rearrange with a few grunts and pulls of the pots!
Come fall, enjoy the rich satisfaction of running outside to pull a few tomatoes and peppers for a quick salsa!
Rolling in the Dough
It's therapeutic. I promise. Baking bread is something deliciously organic, and even if the dough sticks all over your counter and doesnt' rise right and the crust is tougher than beef jerky it's still worth it. The rhythmic motion of kneading bread brings awareness to the labor that goes into food. And the best tasting things are those you make yourself (even if they don't live up to a 5 star restaurant rank!) You may have to make (or order) dinner every night, but how often do you get to take the time (yes it does take time) to be this actively involved in one of your basic food needs?
How Green Was My Neighborhood Park
Even smack dab in the center of a metropolitan you can find a patch of green to relax in. Go ahead, ignore the thought of dog feces and reclaimed water and take your shoes off and feel how good that grass feels! Well, I may have ruined that for you but you get my drift. Climb a tree and people watch for awhile--or let them just watch you behaving like a chimp.
Happy Hands at Home
Feeling a bit crafty? Home crafts aren't so popsicle stick and doilies as they used to be. Whip out the hot glue gun and invent your own felt monster for your kid to tote around, make your own reusable bags out of some fun fabric and spice up your bed with some new pillows.
There's a lot more than crocheted hankies out there for you to do!
I'm a big advocate for Farmers' Markets, so why not grab your biggest I'm-so-country basket and head down to your local market to stock up on all the wonderful things they have there! Throw in a bouquet of flowers next to your heirloom tomatoes and homemade jam and pretend you're Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm!
Blue Ribbon Times
Once or twice a year a fair may come to a town near you. Chances are there will be lots of horses, cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and a few chickens tossed in for good measure. Indulge your inner child as you pay 25 cents for a handful of feed and feel the warm tickle of a horses' muzzle. Or go hold those adorable ducklings and chicks, ignoring the fact they may poop on your Rolex.
Warm the Bench
No, I'm not talking about sitting on the sidelines in baseball. I'm talkin' about getting your butt on a pew in church. Granted most churches don't even have pews now--we've claimed our individual spaces and have chairs or padded benches with seams to let you know where to sit.
But I'm getting offtrack.
My point is to give it a shot, and try not to judge all churches by the first one you go to--they're all different and full of sinners like you so don't expect to find a perfect one!
When the work's all done and the sun's settin' low...
You don't necessarily have to "pull out your fiddle and rosin' up the bow." I'm not fully sure what "rosin'" means but I get the gist that after all your work is done it's time to kick back and relax.
Now hold your horses, try keeping that TV off tonight. Play a game of Scrabble, read a (gasp!) book, brew a pot of coffee and enjoy it on your patio. Ban the blue haze that drains your brain and dust off that guitar you learned to play in college. Whatever you do, take a moment do stop and enjoy it, because that, my friend, is having a country heart.