This spring and summer brought our family a whole new adventure. We had a comfortable, corner-lot home in an HOA cookie-cutter subdivision, and it was a complete blessing, don’t get me wrong.
But something was off. Something about it started to feel a little like that creepy and super cute town in the movie Pleasantville.
We started receiving letters in the mail. The first letter showed us a nice picture of our clothesline, full of colorful cloth diapers that we hung on our back deck to dry and to be sanitized by the sun. The HOA said this was a violation. Ultimately, we disputed this, and they agreed to let us dry our diapers. Then, sometimes the grass was too long or some dandelions sprung up, and we would get a letter with a nice picture of grass a few inches too high, showing us our violation.
My favorite letter was the one showing a picture of our mailbox, explaining that it needed a fresh coat of black paint. It went on to say that these letters are sent out to improve the “quality of life” of residents in the subdivision. Now, I understand that home upkeep is important. But mentioning quality of life in a letter where you’re talking about mailbox paint? When there are starving people out there who deserve a better quality of life?
The real kicker was that we found out we couldn’t have chickens. And something kinda’ clicked. In a world that relies so much on microwaves and wi-fi, we felt this strong desire, perhaps even a calling, to learn how to become more self-sufficient. Why not? What harm could there be in learning how to take care of ourselves?
So, why did we need to seek approval to put in a new garden bed? Who were they to tell us we couldn’t raise chickens and harvest our own eggs? People have been gardening and collecting eggs for centuries all over the world. Our government promoted victory gardens and taught canning practices after WWII, and now we are choosing to commit to these HOA rules that prohibit self-sufficiency? What had we signed up for?
Every week we drive to the grocery store and pile up our carts with food we did not sow, food we did not cultivate, food we did not reap. Are we grateful for the farmers who dedicate their lives to keeping us alive?
We often sit in air-conditioned homes in the suburbs, far from the noise and smell of the farms, because we don’t want to hear the roosters crowing that help to bring us fresh eggs, and we don’t want to smell cow manure from the cows that give us milk and meat.
So in March of this year, we moved. Not far away, we just moved closer to our church actually, which is great. But we decided to go for it. We started our journey to a garden of fresh food, and our journey to chickens.
And I’ve got so much more to tell you about what God is up to in our lives… stay tuned!
P.S. God is merciful & He loves you… Pass it on!