Cappers Farmer Blogs > Old Dog, New Tricks

A Yearning for Land

Mary Conley

I’m excited to have the opportunity to blog about our farming experience on Capper’s Farmer. Our story is different in that we live both in the city and on the farm. Also, we started our adventure when we were in our sixties, when most people are retiring from their jobs. Let’s become friends and share with each other as I tell the story about our love for the land and a special place. It began this way:

For us, it was a silent disease. Or, perhaps, just ignored. We didn't know it had a name until it had already consumed us. I self-diagnosed after reading the article in Mother Earth News called "Barnheart: Yearning to be a Farmer" by Jenna Woginrich. There it was. "A sudden overcast feeling that hits you while at work or in the middle of the grocery store checkout line. It's unequivocally knowing that you want to be a farmer - and for whatever personal circumstances - cannot be one just yet." "It is a dreamer's disease: a mix of hope, determination and grit." I had Barnheart Disease! Shockingly, so did my husband. You'll need to read Jenna's descriptive article in case you may have it also, and wish to start living a life compatible with the disease in order to be healthier and happier.

Looking back, I realize we had symptoms for some time. There were always yearnings while driving in the country to visit our parents; planning just where we could carve out an acreage with any interesting view. And, oh, how we wished we could buy my father's farm. Just fantasy, we knew, because our jobs were in the city. 

The years passed by. Too many years. Then, our lives changed almost as fast as when a doctor gives an alarming diagnosis. We found our land, and this Barnheart Disease that made us crave quiet country life turned us into two completely different people -- people our grown children weren't used to and viewed in varying light. In looking back, we had at least a year of living in ecstasy, our minds and bodies going full blast without a stop. Amazing, since we were in our mid-sixties.

Tip: Don't wait too long to follow your dreams.

Quote: "Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable." -- Sydney J Harris 

At the present: We are canning green beans. So far, it is my least favorite thing to do on the farm, other than pulling weeds. It is a good thing we love and eat a lot of them, or I would just skip it. 

A helpful hint: Only plant pole beans. We planted them next to the fence in some of our beds, and it is so much easier on our aging backs!

I hope to hear from you, and let’s meet again at my next blog!

Mary and Larry Conley

This is me with my husband, Larry, the incurable romantic. Come farm with us!