Andrew's Blog

A City Boy Making His Way in the Country
September 2010

I’ve bought crocs!

Fear not my friends, these are not of the swimming and chomping variety, but the footwear that helps comfort the soles of zoftig Americans everywhere.  I’ve bought crocs…and not even real ones, but knock-offs! I think I’ve gone country.  It only took about one week.  Sure, I don’t think many of my neighbors are digging their vegetable patches in crocs – the dirt slides easily through those little holes – but the fact that I even own a pair is a sign of the apocalypse.

By morning I am a gardner, chopping down trees and digging deep vegetable gardens for some mythical “spinach” I am going to plant this week (or, more realistically, for next year’s planting season).  I then have some lunch, spend some money at a garden store or cute home boutique, and then transform into a carpenter and remove wallpaper.

There is something very cathartic about removing wallpaper.  Especially the stuff that’s been on the wall for decades.  It can be hard in places and then super easy in others – and the common wisdom is right, when you can pull a big piece off in one go, you have a sense of overwhelming satisfaction.  But accomplishment comes with those hard-to-get bits of paste as well.

Did I mention I bought some knock-off crocs?  And I’m writing about removing wallpaper?  And I have cuts on my arms from chicken wire and some poison ivy in very uncomfortable places (on my hands).  Did I mention I’ve gone country?  But not all hope is lost.  I am still able to laugh at British comedies and know when I’m drinking a good red wine.  Oh, I forgot to tell you, my crabapple tree has produced a large crop this year.  I think I may try and make a wine.  After all, I’ve gone country.

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We have arrived!

Ready or not Granville, here we are!  We pulled in to Orchard House on Monday night – dogs, cats, finches, rabbits, fish, and chickens – all arrived safely!  We have a lot of work ahead of us!  Who ever thought that staying at a Bed and Breakfast qualified you to open one must have been crazy.

What did we do on our first day in the house?  We added two more members to our family – a hedgehog named Lady Admiral Oswald and a puppy aptly named Bob Evans.  Maybe not the best idea to get a puppy immediately upon arrival, but he is too cute and has already endeared himself to everyone…including Auggie and Wally.

As we start to get the house ready, we are meeting contractors, consulting on our well water (we have a safe, but obnoxious sulfur smell that will be gone within the week), and getting boxes unpacked and setting up our living spaces.  The kitchen is great!  We’ve already baked some bread and roasted a few chickens.  The chickens (not the roasted ones) have settled in to their quasi-temporary housing – they’ll move again once the barn is built – and I got a blue egg for the first time in almost six months!  The rabbits are frolicking outside in their new enclosure, and have taken to smelling the dogs whenever they pass.

Granville itself couldn’t be nicer!  We have eaten at some wonderful restaurants and the farmer’s market is both quaint and delicious.  Donald has joined both a community choir based at Denison University, as well as the choir at the local catholic church.  Andrew has started applying for local volunteer positions and has been working on the house.  A magnolia tree has been chopped down – Andrew can’t stand them! And we have been making good use of the perennial plants now on clearance at the local garden stores.

Around the farm, we have learned a few things.  First and foremost, our dogs love deer poo.  We probably would never have learned this in the city!  We also now know what a mole infestation looks like!  We have our own Christmas tree forest, and today, we awoke to find someone had mowed our pastures.  (Still working on who did it, and in the middle of the night!  But it saves us a headache.)  Internet is still a pain to get in the country – where are you Fios? – and we have also discovered the joy of gardening and sitting outside without the pain of mosquitos!

Slowly, but surely, we are adjusting to country life.  Andrew is still a city driver and Don is still driven by the Washington, D.C. work schedule, but we are taking time to enjoy walks with the dogs, sitting on the screened porch, and watching the horses at the farm next door.  We may not be attending political gathering or meeting with friends at the trendiest restaurant, but we are preserving an American farm, will be raising heritage breeds, endangered by the factory farms of this nation, and returning to simpler life that not only reconnects us to the natural world but helps us realize what is truly important!

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