My Journey from City Girl to Farmer's Wife by Brittney Baltzly
Updated: Jan 14, 2022
Unlike Hans, I didn't grow up on a farm. I grew up in a city. Well, it was actually more of a small, rural town with a population of 12,000, nonetheless, I considered myself a city girl. Until meeting Hans, I had never stepped foot onto a farm, nor did I have any intention of doing so. I didn't know anyone that lived on a farm, and it just wasn't something that interested me.
Hans and I met in college, while both pursuing degrees in Biology. In many ways we were, and still are, complete opposites. He's quiet, I'm loud; he observes, I react; he enjoys taking the scenic route, I just want to get to the destination. They say opposites attract and something about that seemingly shy country boy intrigued me.
I'll never forget the first time I visited his family's farm; a hobby farm with chickens, cows, pigs, sheep, alpacas, and kitties galore. I was in heaven...and fascinated. I've always loved animals, which was why I was majoring in biology. My plan for after school was to get a job doing something with animals, I just didn't know what.
My hometown was somewhat of an agricultural town, so I was certainly aware that people lived on farms, but I had never experienced being on a farm. At that point, to me, living on a farm meant being out in the middle of nowhere; not being able to "run into town" if you needed something; driving on roads that would swallow your car because they weren't paved; coming home after a full day of work and spending hours caring for and feeding animals; bugs everywhere and a house without air conditioning! Part of me was in awe that someone would choose to live this way. I couldn't understand how this life, which was so different from how I grew up, would be appealing. I will admit though, being around the animals was pretty cool.
After I would spend the day with Hans at the farm, I'd return to my city apartment with all the conveniences and comforts that I was accustomed to never once imagining that one day I'd be living on a farm.
After we graduated, I moved two hours away, but Hans and I continued dating. The long-distance thing was tough and after two years, I decided to move back to be closer to him. I ended up getting my own apartment. After about a year my lease was getting ready to expire so we started discussing moving in together.
I'd always known that Hans was going to farm, and I never had any issue with it because I had envisioned us living in a cookie-cutter house somewhere in the city and he would have a farm that he could go to whenever he wanted. I was completely clueless about what it meant to farm and raise animals.
We ended up finding a farm that was up for auction in Paris, OH. I'd never heard of this blink-and-you'll-miss-it "town" and after a brief visit before the auction, I wasn't impressed. I'm not sure if I was blinded by love or naive about what lay ahead of me, but I agreed to buy this farm, in the middle of nowhere, with the man I loved so we could start our lives together.
After the dust settled from remodeling the 100-year-old farmhouse that was on the property to make it livable, the reality of my new life started to set in. I was now one of those people that lived in the country. My quick trips into town were a thing of the past. The roads, if you can even call them that, were in terrible shape. There was work to do every night after coming home from our regular jobs. There were SO. MANY. BUGS, and to top it off, the house didn't have air conditioning! I felt like I was Laura Ingalls living on the prairie.
Those first couple of years living on the farm were difficult for me. There was frustration and resentment as I longed to move back to the city where everything was closer and seemingly so much easier. I missed the comforts and convenience of being 5 minutes away from everything I needed. It was all such a big change for me, and change is uncomfortable and scary.
Over the next few years, as I started to adjust, I began to warm up to the idea of living on the farm. I started finding things that interested me and exploring the limitless possibilities that the land provided. I discovered my love of gardening, mostly flowers, but also some different fruits and veggies along the way. I learned that I'm a crazy cat lady and adore my "helper kitties", all 6 of them, that follow me around and climb on my back while I'm gardening.
I also began to enjoy working with Hans doing farm chores. It turns out that it's a great way to spend time together and catch up on how our days went or to dream about our future goals- for the farm and in life. Although by no means am I a pro, I've also learned how to move cows to a new pasture by myself, operate a headgate (used to secure cows for wellness checks or medical treatments if needed), and drive a tractor. Full disclosure: the extent of me driving a tractor is while going in a straight line, in first gear, and with supervision...baby steps.
As I spend time with Hans around the farm helping him work towards achieving his dreams, I've come to discover that his dreams are actually my dreams too. We're a team and although we may still have our differences, working together to achieve a common goal has been the biggest blessing for us. We're able to pick up in areas that the other falls short of and share the excitement of seeing our hard work pay off.
I've come a long way in 7 years. This farm has given me more than I could have asked for. In fact, it's given me more than I ever knew I needed. It has given me the freedom to explore my interests. It's taught me to appreciate the peacefulness and beauty of nature that surrounds us. It's taught me that with hard work comes great rewards. Most importantly, it's taught me to be open-minded. Life has this funny way of getting you to where you're meant to be. No matter how much you don't understand it, or even try to fight it, it always works out in the end...for the better.