…is soft, and gentle, and it smells like strawberries and rain. The house is gleaming white in a field of tall grass, perfect for meandering. Adorable field mice and bunnies thrive in the old trees at the front of the property. My Instagram ducks are fluffy and clean and their shack is charming and rustic; my Instagram baby never has bananas smeared all over her head. Instagram puppy doesn’t run through pools of standing water in the yard, or poop in the house ever. Life here is easy like Sunday morning and I bake chocolate chip cookies everyday with the windows open.
But my real farm is really just a house on five acres with ducks in the back. It is muddy–the stinky kind of oozy red mud that gets on everything and attracts every fly within a twenty mile radius–flies that bite. Wasps build nests under the eaves of our dream porches.
My dogs get ticks if they wander off too far and sometimes if they wander off too close. Rats sneak in and out of the gnarled tree right next to the garage. Swimming coyotes (or really robust owls) made off with my fattest duck.
You can’t tell from pictures that my floors are coated with dirt at all times, no matter how much I sweep, or that my ducks are filthy because they prefer the swampy puddle in their pen over the fresh pans of water I set out for them everyday.
Our white siding is spattered with mud. Grass grows in sporadic patches. We had to shovel gravel around the porches to help with run-off and I have callouses and blisters and my back aches like never before. I am tired, sore, and covered in vicious mosquito bites.
That Instagram baby is indeed permanently coated in banana, and IG puppy poops every time I turn around. I sweat off what little make up I have time to put on, and I burn cookies and smoke fills the house since the windows are closed, because the only breezes we get lately come with 18 inches of blowing rain.
Instagram life is fake–but there’s no shame in finding beauty in the mundane. My kids are a mess but their giggles are contagious. My puppy is an industrial-strength pooping machine, but she’s the cuddliest pet I’ve ever owned. There’s a lot of work to do out here but we sleep good at night.