Friday afternoon carried on like usual. I checked on the goats, threw a few more pine branches in the paddock for them to nibble on and went looking around for Loretta, my one rogue hen who will not stay inside the fence line.
It was while I was looking for my adventure seeking girl that I noticed a van slowly coming down the road, and slightly breaking in front of the clearing of trees that gives a wonderful few of our livestock shed and paddock. In the summer the trees are so full of leaves that you cannot see in, but alas there are no leaves yet on our trees. My heart began to beat wildly when I noticed what was lettered on the side of the van: “Municipal Enforcement”.
You see we are a commercially zoned lot masquerading as a rural one. Up until this point we had had no problems with any of our neighbours. They all like to stand and peek through the trees at the goats and chickens. They ask lots of questions about our way of life, and generally seem interested. People from all the way at the end of the road walk up to see the animals, and all of them are friendly offering hellos and waves when they wander on by (well except some weird lady who lives near the end and drives a noisy truck. She likes to taunt my dog when she walks by, but that’s neither here nor there).
I read every single by-law for our municipality and not one, not one, mentioned anything about chickens or goats. There was one food action plan that mentioned supporting local food and people who have backyard goats and chickens, but nothing further. I did, however, learn that my grass had to be a certain height, that gardens were against by-laws, trees and hedges had to be properly trimmed, and paint should not be peeling from one’s home. Dogs cannot bark, and there should be silence after 9 pm. It made us sound like we live in some swanky high society. Let me assure you, we do not. And nobody follows those by-laws, so I shrugged my shoulders and carried on with our life plan.
The reality is however, that they could close us down anytime. That if one of my neighbours moved, died (they’re all old), or suddenly didn’t like us, we could be done for. That my entire world could come crashing down at any second.
I spent the weekend in a daze. My stomach felt like it was twisted, and a million senerios went through my head. What if they took the goats and hens away? What if they made me get rid of them?
My feelings of anxiety and dread quickly turned to anger, and then sadness. It has been almost a year since we moved here, and not a day goes by that I don’t miss the farm. Why we moved here, where the cars never stop racing by, and where the street gossip never ends, is beyond me. People are always watching us here, and frankly, it is exhausting.
I miss the quiet. I miss the trains. I miss the fields, and the grass, and my garden that actually had real dirt. Not sand and gravel and iron. I miss the giant apple tree that gave off more apples than I could ever use, some of them the size of softballs. I miss having running water that was usable. I miss letting my little dog out the door and not having to worry about him running out into the highway. He misses his freedom also. Every time I have to clip him to the chain so he can go out, he looks up at me with sad eyes. This is not where we are supposed to be, and the longer we stay the more caged I begin to feel.
Oh what I wouldn’t give to go home. To go back into the woods and the hills and throw sticks for my big dog. For long hikes, and bonfires, and sitting on the back porch with a glass of wine staring out over the fields.
The hardest part of this whole thing is Hubby is perfectly content here. This is where he feels we should be. It is hard being the stick in the mud who never wanted to move, and continues to feel more and more miserable as the days go on. Each day the houses around us seem to get closer and closer, like they are about to just shallow us whole. Summer is also fast approaching so all the cottagers will be back. The street will be filled with people.
The bible says we are strangers on this earth. That this is not our real home, only a temporary stop to our eternal destination. Never in my life have I felt more like this. Like a stranger, a temporary passerby. Perhaps that is the lesson here. That my earthly home does not matter, that Heaven is my home.
Please pray for me friends. I have no question that God has a plan and that it led us here, but my sinful self serving heart is saddened and longs for quiet fields where goats can naaa and chickens can sing the egg song as loud as they want.
It also longs for a world where providing your family with home grown and healthy food is not illegal. Sadly, that is not reality.