Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My life as a fake farmer

Last year I decided I needed a farm. No one else in the family felt the same need to ‘return’ (I had to put return in quotes since I have actually never been ‘of the land’ in the first place.) When the oily real estate agent took us to a farm in the area of Creemore, Ontario, I immediately fell in love with it. It had more acreage than you could shake a chain saw at, a 170 year old red brick farm house, a horse barn and a drive shed.

My husband, always one for focusing rather darkly on minor details, pointed out the drive shed was sagging in the middle. The agent who doubled as a soothsayer said, “Well, it has stood for 200 years when the Scots settled this area. I don’t think two Torontonians will blow it over in a day.” The first winter we were there the drive shed collapsed in the snow and sent live wires sparking into the air like fireworks.

Mr. cup-half-empty also took issue with the garage shed attached to the house. He pointed out that it was not insulated. He gathered this information because sunlight was streaming through the unpainted wooden slats. The agent said, “Well first of all it is sunny and you should be thankful for that. Second, it is meant to be cold; a place to store boots and root vegetable like potatoes. What he didn’t say was that the potatoes would be stored in the boots. The chipmunks ate all the fur off of my boots and all of my Christmas guests’ boots and used it to make a nest the size of a flying saucer. Secondly the chipmunks stored chewed-up potatoes in the toes of everyones' boots.

Once I ‘bought the farm’ (Now I know why that expression is so perfectly suited to implying you have died.) I had to deal with the owner who had Christmas decorations up all year round a la Rita MacNeil. She also had a Chihuahua who wore a Santa Claus rubber diaper. Whatever happened to border collies that worked on the farm rounding up the herds? When we were transferring ownership, I asked the owner what company she ordered the water from. I explained that I had to call the company and change the billing. She said, “it comes from a well”. How dumb did she think I was! Clearly this woman had never taken care of the family finances. I said “I know that. Who puts the water in the well?” At this point she called her husband to handle my queries. He came out with his thumbs lodged in the bib of his Tough Duck bib pants and said, “Maybe people from Toronto don’t know what God does on a daily basis. I’ll let you in on a little secret, God puts that water in that well”.

After settling into our crumbling farm for a month and traveling into town in my non-fur-lined boots, I read a notice in the Creemore Echo that said there was a contest for the best mockumentary of Creemore life. I decided to make a film of my first few weeks on the farm. Low and behold, we won $500. If you want to watch an amateur at work have a look. It is blogged here and is titled It's Sooo Country.

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