There’s a lot to be said about raising a farm kid.  Being a city kid myself, it’s hard to believe how different my daughter’s life is from the childhood I had.

Of course, this isn’t meant to be a Hinterland vs. Urban post.  I grew up in the suburbs of Montreal and spent twenty-three years there before moving to Toronto for most of my twenties.  I enjoyed hanging out with my friends at the park and at the mall. I went to the movies, went bowling, and look back on my childhood years with fondness.

My daughter’s life is much different. It’s not better or worse.  It’s just different.

Outdoors and Active

Apart from swimming lessons, tennis, and other activities we had as kids, we did spend a lot of our time indoors.  Yes, we rode our bikes and played ball hockey in the middle of the road, and came in when it got dark and our Mom called us in.  We also spent a lot of time watching TV and playing video games.  I remember playing the Smurfs and Donkey Kong Jr. on COLECO VISION.

Sure, Little One plays on her tablet and iPod, and she is permitted to watch a bit of TV, but she’s not dependent on her devices to keep her entertained.

Little One spends most of her time outdoors.  We live on a 750 acre farm, so she pretty much lives outside! Her favourite activities are feeding and taking care of her animals.  Her job is to feed and water the chickens, bunnies, cat, and dog.  Occasionally, she’ll help with the cattle, but that can be dangerous and she needs to make sure she’s with either Hubby or me.

Bouncing on her trampoline for hours, going on little expeditions (foraging, finding bugs, picking fruit and vegetables on the farm) are all part of her every day routine. To be honest, I secretly love that this is the life she has.  There are days when we’d lay on the trampoline and watch the clouds go by. It really is a sweet life.

Life and Death

Raising a country kid has opened my eyes to the acceptance of life and death on the farm.  At five years of age, Little One handles loss far better than I do at my age!  She’s connected to the land, the animals, and therefore is part of that circle of life as she witnesses it.  She’s sensitive to it, but also understands it more than I did when I was a kid. I was never exposed to life and death as she is. Little One respects life, yet understands that everything living will one day die.

Life on the farm has changed me.  I’m glad we are able to give our daughter the life she has.  Granted, she may not always live on the Island (I have a feeling she’ll live in the city when she’s older), but I know that the experiences she’s been given will help her become someone who appreciates life and what she has been given.

Healthy Eating

We live on an island where no fast food franchises exist.  The closest big name fast food joint is 74 minutes door to door.  Yes, I counted.  Again, I’m secretly happy that Little One doesn’t live in a world where she is exposed to eating out all the time.  I cook 99% of our meals from scratch with the produce from our farm.

I remember as a kid, back in the 1980s and 1990s, we had a lot of convenience food.  Microwaved French Fries and Pizza Pockets in the toaster oven we quick eats for my brothers and me.  It amazes me that Little One knows very little of this world.  For her, food is vegetables, fruit, and food Mom makes. Our eggs come from our chickens. Our vegetables come from our garden and fruit from our trees.

Looking back with fondness

I never expected to be living in rural Northern Ontario and being married to a beef farmer.  I’m a city girl and this life has been quite the change.  I was vegetarian for most of my adult life! Now I’m married to a beef farmer?

Although sometimes I don’t know how I ended up with the life I’m currently living, when I look at our daughter, growing up in such a healthy, active lifestyle and having all the experiences she has, I know this is the right thing for her.  She’s experienced some world travel and has even been to the Philippines at the age of three! If she needs a dose of the city, we can take a road trip for a few days. It’s always great coming “home” though.

Christine is an ESL teacher, mother, wife, freelance writer, product reviewer, and blogger. She lives on a farm with her husband (Hubby), daughter (Little One), beloved canine baby (Chance), a bunch of rambunctious barn cats and some really stubborn cattle. Read her blog at Life On Manitoulin.