Who We Are

The past few years, the area where I live, Crawford County, Ohio, has seen a wonderful explosion of younger families who are embracing the joys and challenges of living off the land. Because of them, amazing things are happening which have been embraced by our community. Farmer’s markets have been created and on-farm stores have opened. Families dedicated to growing organic produce and naturally raised meats are meeting the public’s needs for locally raised foods. And at the heart of this movement are the women.

Ohio Country Journal is my attempt to share the essence of farm life, focusing on, but not limited to, women. My goal is to bring you into our circle of friendship by inviting you to share your stories and experiences with us. You don’t have to be a full time country woman to benefit from joining us; you just have to be you.

The full-time country women featured in Ohio Country Journal are an inspiration to anyone who dares to follow her dreams, whether it is to live in the country or to bring the country life-style to their urban neighborhoods.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Country Girl Convert: Part 2

Today guest blogger Rachel Mendell continues her story of how she and her family adjusted to country life after years of urban existence.

Marcheta *learning a thing or two :)

Country Girl Convert: From the city to the country one day at a time. Part 2

“Let's get chickens!” suggested my husband one day. I was less than excited. I was exhausted. Chickens would be one more thing on a long list of duties I couldn't keep up with. He talked of his dreams as well, “running a few head” of cows, pigs, “maybe even goats.” All I could think of was the stench of the dead raccoon deposited by a high-velocity truck right next to our mail box and imagined living with similar smells for the rest of my life.

And the garden... Gardens to me were nicely tilled forever patches to plant seeds in every year. Our reality was six to ten inches of solid sod to cut through before a vegetable bed could even be ready to prepare.

Yes, I was immature. Yes, I had been starry eyed.

Then one day I sat and had a long heart to heart with myself. This was my dream. Yes, the dream had been unrealistic, but I sure didn't want to move back to town or give up on making something of the property we had worked so hard to buy.

So I wrote. I scribbled the 10 levels of wind velocity I charted in my head – from lovely warm breeze suitable for laundry hanging (1) to icy-cold-rip-the-neighbor's-tree-down-and-throw-it-in-our-driveway wind (10).  I found inspiration in the orb spiders that created little parachutes to travel to places unknown. I pondered the pros and cons of our naturally really hard water versus mechanically produced soft water.

And I worked. I dug holes for trees – one hole for every four that Dave dug. I planted pines, oaks and apple trees. I cut weeds. I went for long walks around the property gathering specimens and using library books to identify strange and wonderful grasses and flowers. We put in a garden that did okay.

And when things got tough I thought about my high school days dodging drug dealers and prostitutes on my way home from school in inner city Phoenix. If I could do that, I sure could run off the dogs from who-knows-where that came to see what we were up to. If I could stand up to a drug pusher and say “no,” I sure could brandish my broom and scare away curious critters.

And I realized one day that we were winning back the land. A little bit at a time I could see civilization forming. We carved a front and back lawn out of a five-plus acre weed patch. We built a fire ring for roasting hamburgers and marshmallows. The boys were building tree forts in the old trees by themselves. The girls were dressing barbies in leaves and flowers. My children learned respect for the hunters who asked permission to track deer through our back lot in the fall. We shared the wonder of new bird song, new flowers every spring, new bugs, snakes, frogs … and even a weasel. I found wild black raspberries, dew berries, blackberries and elderberries – free food if I could brave the creatures who were willing to share with me.



Rachel H.T. Mendell lives in Morrow County, Ohio. The family raises rabbits, chickens and cats, puts in a large garden each year and plants lots of trees. Rachel can be reached by emailing mendell.rachel7@gmail.com. If you enjoyed this article you can see others like it on her blog Domestic Mobility (http://www.domesticmobility.blogspot.com) and her website Rachel H.T. Mendell (http://www.rachelhtmendell.com).


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