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Defending the Country Stereotype

| 2/6/2009 4:55:46 PM

Jenna and Chick
   By Jenna Woginrich

If you’re the first of your friends to move to the country, get some chickens and plant an organic garden there will be some inevitable social fallout. It’s not your fault, but you’re going to raise the eyebrows of some of your more cynical friends. While there are plenty of people out there excited about self-reliance, there are just as many folks jaded by the hype and greenwashing that society has been slinging at us ever since Al Gore shared his slideshow. As green living gets trendier, it can’t help but jump the shark. You just can’t blame people for rolling their eyes when oil companies air commercials about sustainability.  

Around the time your coffee table starts to fill up with seed and hatchery catalogs you can expect the occasional jab for subscribing to the country cliché. The suspicious will cross their arms and peg you as just another converted-starry-eyed-back-to-the-lander. With an air of certainty and rib-nudging judgment, they’ll announce that at the end of all your dirty fingernails and feed sacks you’ll learn nothing that hasn’t been learned a million times before. That the merits of country living have already been printed in thousands of books, seen in endless movies, and are currently being spouted as gospel by hundreds of others just like you, probably even at the same farmers market. They’ll start doling out references from old episodes of Green Acres. There will be melting glacier jokes. You know the drill, you’ve been there. These otherwise wonderful folks will point their fingers at your western shirt and call you another sucker for the country life.

Here’s the thing. They’re right.

Of course they’re right. Agriculture isn’t exactly new to the scene, and deciding to turn your life from consumer to producer (even if it’s just a few gardens and some chickens) is a step taken by throngs before us. There is nothing new, or special, or innovative about it. The Simple Life has been experienced by humanity since the fertile crescent, was, well... fertile. The results are ridiculously cliché. If you join the coverall club you’re not going to have any experiences that many of us haven’t already had, and will continue to have indefinitely. Sorry kids, this show is always a rerun.

But you know what I say to all this? So what. I mean isn’t that the point of all this? To get your hands dirty and join the secret society of tractors and baling wire? To be able to nod your head around the campfire when other gardeners talk about blight and potato beetles, and to learn the same sense of satisfaction of growing your own food? There is comfort in knowing you’re living a cliché. It means the results of the lifestyle are so stereotypical they’re guaranteed. And while it may not be clever — it’s clear that there are a reason some clichés stick around. Some are good enough to be true. Roll your eyes all you want son. This stereotype’s got some eggs to collect.

Dana Galloway_2
9/13/2010 12:18:29 PM

I will discribe to you my life, up at sunrise, but not before I hear the crows of the 2 roosters in the barn. The ducks seem to think this is their time to chim in as well as the guinnie hen. So now the barn yard is AWAKE with the exception of Livie the goat whom is due to kid any day with atleast 3 babies. So...time to get moving, waking the kids, letting the dogs out, pouring the only cup of coffee I will have the chance to drink today, Then it will only be 1/2 a cup so it better be strong! Out the door for the morning feedings everyone acts as though this is the first time they have ever been goodness! First are the horses they are the easiest, that way I can go in and out tof the corals collecting the eggs that were left the day before....then everyone else gets their breakfast (except me, still working on the cup of coffee). Now it is off to tend the gardens and see what was eating over night by the critters that appear after dark,not much today,a good thing, pick tomatoes, pick squash, and onions and what ever else needs to be harvested. OH man I have better hurry and get the wash on the line, that way it will be dry by the time I get home from "WORK".I failed to mention I own a Massage Business 15 miles away in town. 1 child to deliver the the High School, 1 to deliver to the College and awwwww the last one is Home Schooled. Then I remember it is Monday! But not any MONDAY this is the MOnday my husband comes home after being away for 10 days. A Dream fufilled

9/6/2010 1:55:38 PM

Hi -- I have been dreaming and planning a move back to the country for years -- and now it is finally almost a reality. I hope for a small home on an acre or two, where I can welcome family, garden, raise a few small farm animals, and eventually work mostly from home. I grew up in the country, and somehow my life choices pulled me away from this lifestyle. Now finally, I am packed up and diligently searching for property, to make this happen before it's time to plant spring peas! However, this kind of property comes on the market and is snatched up in a day or two, the best ones before I have even had a chance for a property-showing. How has anyone else accomplished this? I am narrowing down my search in location and property must-have-specifics -- working with agents in 2 states -- I have financing - have someone with know-how willing to do an on the spot pre-inspection -- I walk around entire places getting a feel for things, to see if I could live there the way I want to -- and always getting any other ducks in a row that I can think of. How has anyone else accomplished this? I am so excited, and am determined to make this happen -- thanks for ideas! Glenndora

7/21/2009 5:46:31 PM

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