We were not the first family to uproot from an urban setting and move to a farm, nor will we be the last. But when the opportunity first presented itself back in May, my wife and I immediately dismissed the idea. We lived and worked in the city of Toronto. Our two boys, 12 and eight, liked their school-an easy walk from home-and we were all registered in all the appropriate programs. Besides, I was born and raised there and my wife had been a resident for almost 25 years. We were totally urban folk with our flat hats, soft cheeses, sarcasm, pet raccoons and Starbucks gift cards.
We were functional in our tiny semi-detached but perfectly located house. It was so close to a major intersection that the bus stopped in our living room. It was noisy and with the cramped space, we found slinking off to our respective bedrooms to find solace and privacy was more the nightly rule than the exception. But none of us knew any different, so we dismissed this daily spatial challenge as having no impact on how we were evolving as a family.
But we were struggling. Deep down we knew it, but did not know how to fix it, never thinking previously about what a dramatic change in location could offer. We just knew stability just for the sake of stability was not working.
There was no sudden epiphany. No shining beacon of wheat-soaked sunshine that shone down directly on my wife and me. We just had a talk after another run-in with our eldest son about him lying down on the couch and eating up the entire room. We agreed this opportunity (my parents’ friends, previous occupants, were retiring to Mexico) to move to a farm should be looked at through a different lens. That huddling cramped in our house in the busy city was not pulling us together, but pushing us apart. That maybe with more opportunity for our boys to roam, screens and couches would become less important. That fresh air and sweet silence didn’t have to be an occasional weekend luxury. That maybe, just maybe, it could be an everyday feeling.
So in late August we moved to a 67-acre farm 50kms away from the city. All were included in the decision because we understood that changing schools-our entire existences, really-required at least a conversation with our two boys. The eight-year-old barely blinked, which was in keeping with his life-attacking personality. Our 12-year-old was also eager to switch it up. And upon reflection of just how much he enjoyed exploring the land around our family cottage, how his pensiveness eased in smaller groups, we quickly understood his acceptance of a simpler, slower paced life.
And five weeks in, it has been exactly that. Slower. Simpler. Less distracted. More focused on the little important club we call our family. It’s badminton on our massive lawn. It’s watching them climb (and fall out of) trees. It’s requests for dirt bikes (gulp). It’s eating vegetables picked five minutes ago. It’s being 30 minutes closer to my sister and having the room to host my wife’s out-of-town family. It’s vast sunsets and 90-minute lawn mowing with a tractor.
Living on a farm has all kinds of benefits, but what has surprised us, is how much we have learned about all the different types of farming and agricultural equipment. For example, our eldest son is now an expert in all the different kinds of tractors and often spends his time looking at all the latest makes and models on sites like fastline.com. He’s showing great interest in machinery. The tractor is pretty much one of the main pieces of agricultural equipment that we use. It does require proper servicing and maintenance though. After all, the whole field is worked on with this machinery. Our tractor is in good condition at the moment, and if it needs any replacements, we might check out https://www.costex.com/ or similar heavy equipment replacement parts suppliers.
There are other factors you have to take into consideration when living on a farm though. Yes, it also means a daily commute that’s a less routine, more multi-layered journey. The lack of convenience means more thought goes into life planning. We anticipate a bump in expenses as snow plow and firewood and oil furnaces are now in play. But the food bill is down-no easy $70 sushi and Sapporo pop ups on a Tuesday, or ordering pizza on a tired Friday night. And while rep basketball is now a reality, it is one activity for our boys, not four, and we are all using it as an anchor to our new community, our way of making new friends.
This move helped us find our family. Our boys are happier, effusive in praise of their new environment and so much more engaged with us as parents. They see this adventure as something we all decided together, not that they’re just falling in line by instruction. The adjustment has been swift and even with only a few unexpected wrinkles. We have already turned our farm house into a family home.