You see, this whole time we've been planning to live off the land, to have our farm and homestead has been just that. Planning. Lots of reading, note taking, internet searching and forum posting. Yes, we have the land but thats not physical homesteading right now. That's a vision that will come to pass. Hopefully soon. Rabbits are now. We can't have chickens or bees or any other live stock in our city home. But bunnies are okay. And they're okay with me.
So, we've landed in the "need to buy rabbit cages" phase. The internet is alright for that but you can't actually see the products. I don't know the people giving it five gold stars. I can't rattle it to see how sturdy it really is. The cages at PetSmart are overpriced and meant for indoor bunnies. With the five kids running like lunatics around, outside is bunnies best bet for a quiet life. Enter in: Feed Depot*.
I've lived in this city for a couple decades and never stepped foot in the place. It's a little quirky. There is a glass tile display on the curb next to the store. The long (what I now know is the back) side has a horse statue, probably life sized and missing one leg. I'm not sure if it's on purpose. Pulling into the lot my face pulled a wide grin. Hay bales had left a messy pile on the asphalt. Rain barrels were three deep stacked against the fence. A worn old sign advertised "low costs vaccines sold here". I walked up the cement steps each notching up my grin to mega-watt size. Horseshoes held down the horse printed t-shirts. Feed bags made a knee high maze I navigated as I tried to wipe the stupid grin off my face. I wanted to blend in but I know I looked green.
I found the rabbit and small animal section and again smiled wide as I found the price tags scrawled in permanent marker over the boxes. At least the ones that had them. I liked that. It told me "We don't stand on ceremony here". If I had the same problem at Target I'd probably be livid. Out here though, there's a different kind of something in the air. Unmarked boxes are okay with us.
I felt like I was being initiated. If the lack of central heat or air bothered me I was out. If I skittered at the hundred and twenty pound mastif/St. Bernard mix that loped in and was greeted by hugs from all the workers, I probably didn't need to be there. There were no name tags or uniforms. Somehow you could tell who was whom. I was greeted with smiles even if I stuck out and asked silly questions or had her check half a dozen prices. I think they thought I was okay. I picked out a 30x30 cage with drop pan and wire pilers. I'll be going back for more.
Today, I went to another. We travelled about forty minutes north west to Tractor Supply. I hadn't been there before either. It seems it has begun with me. I'm hooked. This wanna be farm girl is finding out where she needs to be. We strolled through the asiles and found the bunny things. Food dish, water bottle, metal frame and some shavings and pellets. I'm sure a lot of people I know would be grossed out at the need for a urine guard but I was plum pleased I found it. We walked through the store making a verbal wish list of everything we'd someday buy. It was great. It only got better.
We checked out and headed out and that's when I got cold cocked by serenity. You see, outside most stores is usually just...more stores. More people. More cars. More traffic. More controlled chaos. Outside Tractor Supply was a near empty lot and across the street was...nothing. Well, nothing is a bit vague. There was something. It was that something that struck me speechless. There was a huge golden yellow field pecked with tall still green trees. A red barn and a yellow sister barn were nestled in the sea of gold. Just sitting, quiet. Life was changed for me even though that scene stayed the same. I talk about The Change but this is it, folks. This is where it happens. It does happen! I took my time walking to the car as my eyes imprinted that scene in on my brain. It was perfect. Some people may see that empty field as truly nothing. Just a space waiting, no begging to be filled with more, more, more. With some thing. I just wished it was mine so I could run though those thick grasses and cross the thinly trafficked road to Tractor Supply. I wonder if whoever does own it knows just what a gem they've got, and not for the development potential. If they're anything like the folks in the store, I'm sure they do. I'm glad for it.
As we left a white pickup had the quote "Well behaived women rarely make history" in graphics across the entire back window. Yeah, these are my kinda people and my kinda place to be. There is no turning back now.
*Photo of feed depot is from google maps.