A few years ago, while we were house hunting, our realtor sent Danny and I an email in the middle of the day with a few houses she thought we might want to check out. I texted her back that I like the third one. “I really think you guys should see the second one too,” she said, “It needs a lot of work but it has the nicest lot, the backyard has been totally landscaped.”
I looked at the picture again, “I think the yard looks kind of weird. It’s too green.”
We ended up going anyways, our realtor expertly talked me into checking it out, and Danny liked the way it looked. She was completely right too, it did need a lot of work (think pink and blue kitchen with loads of laminate wood paneling on every wall) BUT the yard was amazing. The lawn was big and green and perfectly manicured and……..it was made of AstroTurf.
Danny and I were moving out of a tiny house on a large lot with a backyard that was really just a field of dandelions we couldn’t cut fast enough. I actually have a real memory of being pregnant, trying to mow the overgrown lawn and then breaking down crying and laying on top of the hot tub cover. Not to fill a stereotype or anything but I do think that I then ate some chocolate, cried some more, and continued on. The point is that at this point in life, an AstroTurf lawn seemed like a dream come true.
Flash forward and here we are today, 3 years later, and I’m building a chicken coop for my growing flock at the bottom of our very green, fake lawn. My sister, Nicole, and I spent probably 4 hours today working on the coop. We laid down the laminate floor, put in quarter round, built the nesting box platform, made roost bars and started on the “poop tray” (that’s a real thing that will be real handy in just a few months). I am tired, I am sore, and really, the worst part is that I can’t even really show you guys a picture because all it really looks like is an empty shed with a few sticks in the corner and a box with some other boxes on top of it. I looked in it tonight and thought, “How could this possibly have taken us 4 hours?”
And then I sort of laughed/snorted to myself and thought about why I am building a chicken coop in the first place which led me back to why I bought chickens which led me back to thinking about my really, really green yard and then to writing this blog post. Here it is, it all boils down to this. I’ve decided……to be happy, right where I’m at, right now. And to do that, to appreciate where I am right now, I have to stop wanting to be somewhere else.
I look up homes for sale in the country all the time. I find a house that would be perfect, send the listing to my husband, and even sometimes drive for miles and miles just to see the place. Because I think it’s my dream to live out there. But the thing is, I know its not. It wouldn’t really be a dream come true because my sisters wouldn’t be a mile from me on either side. I mentioned this in my last post, but just like I made my family promise to never let me get a tattoo, I also made Danny promise to never let me move more than 5 minutes from my family. Its one of those things you just know about yourself. Just like how I know that in my dreams I live in the Snohomish valley with mountain views and horses and gardens and fresh air and quiet. And that quiet, fresh air would be oh so nice, for about 15 minutes, and then I would start to wonder what my mom was making for dinner or if my sisters wanted to go for a walk and I would be sad because I was out in the quiet country with my horses and mountain views and not here, where I live right now.
So here is what I’ve decided, I’m going to stop looking for houses somewhere else that I’ll never buy. I’m going to bring my dreams home, to this home, and have a little farm here. I’m going to plant flowers and grow things with my girl. I’m going to appreciate what I have and know that it isn’t perfect, but it’s real. I’m going to know that the grass is not always greener elsewhere, sometimes what we see as someone else’s really green grass is just astroturf. So don’t ever look at my yard and think it’s perfect. We’ve all got our problems, I’m sitting her with a sick girl laying on me and a Christmas tree on the side of my hosue that I can’t seem to put 4 minutes together to cut into pieces and put in the yard waste.
Instead of yearn for more, I’m going to sit on my half finished back deck and look at my AstroTurf yard, which now has loads of moss growing up through it and think about what my mom told me today. As I was walking her down through the grass to show her the coop progress, she commented on how the moss and weeds actually made my turf yard look “more real”. I then thanked her for finding the silver lining to absolutely every situation in life. I’m going to keep her words in mind as I work on bringing my homesteading dreams to this little house on the shoreline.
The Chicken Lady