There are some (ok, many) things that I regret about living in suburbia. One of them is chickens. I can’t keep chickens and it is something I would love to try.
As I have mentioned many times on this blog, I grew up in farming country. 4-H, FFA, county fairs and combine traffic delays were a part of everyday life. As were intolerance, racism, ignorance and heavy drug and alcohol abuse*. When I was old enough, I packed up my stuff and was happy to watch the silos and cows fade into the distance behind me. I swore I would never go back except to fulfill my familial obligations (the parents have to see the grandkids sometimes).
I am kind of regretting that statement now. I live in the ‘burbs now, which is something I didn’t really want to do. I wanted to be a city girl. I wanted to be hip and cool. Then I had kids. The city does not really provide room for children to run around. They are a lot like Golden Retrievers. They need a yard to run around in. So we moved to the suburbs because it was not the country.
And you know what I found – intolerance, racism and ignorance. No drugs and alcohol abuse… well, there is but at least they keep it discreetly behind closed doors and only talk about it behind cupped hands.
This past summer, I started sending my sons to spend half the summer with my parents. There are memories I have that my children are lacking and only the country can give them. Memories like finding magical kingdoms in the woods, playing hide and seek in corn fields, bike rides that ranged for miles (with no adult supervision) and freedom. True youthful freedom.
Here in the suburbs, I get the long eye down the nose and an unspoken threat of a call to Children Services if I let them play in my own yard without standing over top of them. Heaven forbid that our children be off our apron strings for a minute, to develop things like courage, an adventurous sprit and common sense. (Gosh, you mean doing that really stupid thing on my bike ends up with me scratching the hell out of my knees?!?Â I think I will remember that for next time.)
These days, I toy with the idea of moving back to the country, back to places where I can keep chickens and no one cares if my Christmas lights are up till June (mostly because they can’t see the house from the road) and nobody will say a damn thing if I plant a vegetable garden in the front yard. And, more importantly, I could keep chickens.
Maybe the whole farming community living thing is not that bad. Maybe no matter where you live, you will run into issues and problems. Maybe I just need to weigh the good with the bad and see where the balance weighs out.
*It is a little known fact that drug and alcohol issues are more prevalent in rural areas than in their nearby urban centers. For example, the second largest drug bust in Ohio when I was a kid happened in a little nearby town that had a population of about 200. Think about it, wide open spaces for growing (marijujana) and fertilizer availability (meth), make rural areas ideal for production. The fact that it takes you a freaking half hour to drive to ANYTHING, and so most teens and poor adults have nothing to do, makes it ideal for consumption as well.