Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Based on my experiences just since I moved to Texas, I'm beginning to see why some people are attracted to a hermitic lifestyle. I'm realizing that, although I've always professed to be a "people person", I'm really not. I'm more of a "people on my own terms" person. If you add to that all the questions and controversies going on about how commercial food is hormonalized, pesticized and super-sized, my idea of Utopia has changed a bit.

One day, I would like to have my own bit of land. I'm not looking for "40 acres and a mule" (I refuse to have any donkeys - one Jenny on my property is enough!); I merely want enough to provide for me and my family. Five acres would do nicely. Even 2.5 would be enough for self-sufficiency. Then I would be able to have a garden (and why not a greenhouse for the winter months while I'm dreaming?) where I could grow vegetables and such without pesticides or hormones. I'd also like some apple, pear and plum trees so we could have fresh fruit.

The more I think about it, the more my childhood home in Nowata, Oklahoma, comes to mind. We actually had about 20 acres. We had a large garden where Mom grew vegetables and gourds. One of my earliest memories of that place is squatting down and using my pudgy little fingers to push the seeds down in the soil. Then I vaguely think I remember Joel coming behind me to cover the seeds with dirt (I think he wound up playing with the worms more than anything), then Jodi came along behind us - supposedly to water the seeds, but really to make sure we had done it right. More often than not, we hadn't.

We also had a minature orchard of apple and pear trees. I think we even had some plum trees, too. We'd climb up in the trees, pick apples and peep out at our kingdom through the boughs. We'd try to hide up there, but it seemed Mom always knew where to find us no matter how dense the foliage. More often than not, between kids and birds, there wasn't much fruit left on the trees but Mom always managed to find enough to make yummy pies, cakes and cobblers. We always loved helping her out in the kitchen, then we'd fight over who got to lick the mixing spoon, who got to lick the beaters and who got to lick the bowl. The bowl always had more batter in it, but it was more fun to try to lick the beaters before the batter dripped all over you!

The majority of our property was a pasture. We raised our own cows for meat. Some of our friends (the ones my mom called "poor underpriviledged city kids") were horrified when they found out we raised the cows from calves, named them and petted them, then ate them when they grew up! I'll admit, sometimes I'd get upset. We'd have steak or hamburger for supper, and I'd ask "Is that Buster? Is that Butcher?" Mom would reassure me that it wasn't, but I'd still go out to the pasture the next day just to make sure all the cows were still there.

Our house on Sooner Drive was our playground. We only were allowed to watch Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street and The Muppet Show - or at least I was only allowed those shows. Jodi and Joel got to watch other things because they were older. But for the most part, Mom told us to go outside and play. We had an Irish Setter named Chevis and a kitten named Smokey. Chevis was the best dog in the world. I believe I've heard Mom tell a story that I learned how to walk by holding on to Chevis' tail. I don't know if it's true or not, but I can believe it. I climbed all over that dog and he never once complained. He'd merely let out a really big sigh, look at Mom, then go crawl behind the couch where I couldn't get to him. Later on he'd come back out and I'd crawl on him some more. He patrolled our bedrooms at night, too. He'd lay down on the floor between my and Jodi's beds (we shared a room), then he'd get up and lay down in Joel's room, then he'd get up and lay outside Mom's bedroom door. He'd do this all night, guarding his people, making sure we were safe. He even saved us from a Cottonmouth Water Moccasin once.

Enough rambling. The point is, that is my idea of Utopia. A veritable world of my own for me and my family. Food I personally grew and/or tended on the table. Of course, with today's sky-high prices, I'd have to add solar panels to provide electricity and our own well to provide water. Maybe even some windmills to help draw up water (and because I think they're pretty). I'd also have to have a job to pay for all this stuff - telecommuting would be nice! LOL!

However, I wouldn't want to isolate myself completely. My Utopia would have to be within an hour's drive of a city - a real city. I want museums, theatres, stores, good schools, etc. I want to be around other people sometimes, but as I said, I want it on my own terms! It will be a long time before I could do all this anyway. If I'm lucky, maybe I'll get to do this when I'm a grandmother.


ann said...

That sounds beautiful. I think you can love where you live wherever you are, and live in utopia, if you're happy.

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

I think you're right; however, it would be REALLY nice to be this self-sufficient!

Suze said...

we often dream about the same thing. of course, raising all of your own food is easier said than done and is more than a full time job in and of itself. (I have a lot of farmers in my family, so i know how this goes).

But in my utopia, we have chickens and a pair of alpacas!

ann said...

Suze, is that so you can knit to your heart's content?

Suze said...

oh, partly so i could knit all the time. but also because alpacas are just really, really cool. unfortunately, because everyone else thinks so, a breeding pair costs about 80K! i know this b/c we went to the midwest alpaca fair one time (it was free, except for $3 to park). what mild-mannered cuties alpacas are! and oh so soft.

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

There are a lot of alpaca farms down here, too. Seems like with it being so hot, though, it wouldn't be conducive to the Alpacas growing a lot of dense fur (hair?). But, they are popular. Maybe we could get back to that idea Becca had of a Bed-and-Breakfast. We'd not only provide lodging and wonderful food, but we could also grow all our own food and knit homey hats and sweaters to sell in the lobby! It's a nice dream, anyway! LOL!