Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Animals

My current menagerie is quite small for me. I've got three Pugs, Louie, Dupree and Petey, and an English Bulldog, Coli, who live in my house with my husband and me. I've got a class pet, an albino gerbil named Squirrel, who lives at school during the week. Last but not least, I've got a gorgeous Haflinger mare named Morrissey who lives at a boarding stable near by.

I can hear you thinking, "Aside from the four dogs, that seems like a reasonable amount of animals." and you are quite correct. This is where my husband comes in. Chris is a wonderful man. He is British and handsome and practical. Chris is the finance manager in our household. He is usually very successful at reining me in. If not for him, I'd be penniless and up to my ears in animals of all shapes and sizes.

Currently Chris is explaining to me daily that breeding Morrissey is not a good idea right now, and that I should not ask if there is a multiple horse discount at the stable. He has no idea I've already found two possible stallions and emailed their owners about
prices. He doesn't know it yet, but tomorrow he'll be patiently explaining that right now is just not a good time to get a couple of goats since we haven't even had the horse for three weeks.

It isn't that I'm an out of control animal hoarder. I've been suppressing my farmish tendencies for years. Before Morrissey, I hadn't owned a hoofed animal in ten years when I had a small herd of dairy goats and a horse in high school. Getting a new horse and being at a barn everyday has opened the floodgates. I remember how much I love this lifestyle and how lucky I am to live in a place where suburban areas and rural areas are so intermingled. I am hooked.

Suburban Girl with Farmish Tendencies

My name is Jamie. I'm 29 years old. I'm happily married, with no children. I teach 4th grade English near Houston. I'm a suburban girl with farmish tendencies. People who enjoy a rural lifestyle are known by many names. I live in Texas so a local and polite term is 'kicker'. Of course, every person is a unique snowflake but for simplicity's sake I'm going to use dreaded stereotypes.

Stereo-typical kickers live in rural areas. Some raise animals or crops. They are usually a little conservative. They enjoy country music and general things of that nature. Again, as I live in Texas, there is no shortage of this type of person. I'll go out on a limb and say they are plentiful. I have nothing against these people. I try to be open-minded and tolerant of everyone, no matter how different they are from me. Kickers are fine with me. Be that as it may, I am not one of them. I like indie rock. I'm as liberal as they come. I want to drive a Prius. I like living in the burbs. I like having a Sephora and an Apple store only minutes away. I can do without a tractor supply, I buy all of my tack online anyway.

If you had to pigeon hole me, I'd go well in the suburban category. I've lived in subdivisions my entire life. My houses have all been track homes with reasonably small yards complete with mulch rings around the trees. I've had normal suburban dogs and cats, but there has always been a little problem. I'm not completely suburban because, I've got farmish tendencies.

These tendencies started young with a desire to own and spend my time with livestock. At age five, I became obsessed with horses and it only got worse as I got older. Goats, rabbits, pigs, horses, chickens, turkeys, ducks, sheep, cows and even emu. The list of animals I can't eat because I consider them pets is getting worryingly long. If I haven't owned them myself, I've spent considerable amounts of time with them. I'm well educated in hay selection. I know and can identify all the most popular breeds of cattle. It goes beyond just a love of animals. I'm not satisfied with just owning the farm animals. I have to show them or breed them or sell them. As a child I designed countless graph-paper plans for my ideal barn. My fondest dream is to become a dairy goat farmer and produce organic specialty cheeses.

Don't get me wrong, track homes and mulch rings around trees are not my highest aspirations, but they are comfortable and familiar and I honestly prefer them to living way out in the country. Consider this blog a window into the life of a woman straddling two opposing worlds. Let's see which side I end up on.