Who doesn’t daydream of the opportunity to live an idyllic life, whatever that form may take? Mine involves every post you can find on Tumblr under the hashtags #farmcore and #cottagecore. Soft farm animals and well-loved farmhouses, open fields full of open skies, clever box containers of vegetables and flowers, and ideas for building useful things out of scraps and dreams.
Players worldwide get drawn into just such a daydream played out in the simple yet lovely videogame Stardew Valley. Your character’s grandfather passes away, leaving a note for you to open ‘when you’re ready for a change.’ As the suffocating life of working as a corporate drone crushes in on you too much, you finally open the letter to find that your grandfather has left the deed to his old farm to you. A way out.
I grew up in the countryside myself and moved into the city. Rent is much more affordable there for a college kid. While city life has its conveniences — proximity to bookstores and thrift stores, for starters — I began yearning to return to my country roots. A wish to take all my fantasy books and black clothes and city behaviors like not smiling at strangers back to the open plains of my youth. To see weeds and grass and flowers grow again. To feel the wind rushing by. To watch the sun set at the horizon, not at the city skyline.
Fortunately, my parents — the planters of the seeds of love for nature in my heart — didn’t pass away. But they did move away from their farmhouse where I grew up. For awhile, my sister rented their old house, but just as my partner and I started looking to move in together, she bought her own place and moved out.
So we moved in. Throughout the process of moving and getting settled in, I kept comparing the parallels to Stardew Valley. A gift of country life from my own parentage. Moving into the home they so lovingly kept up and added onto over my life. Looking out at the 2.5 acres of land and outbuildings needing love come spring. Even without animals or crops growing, things fall apart and the high plains wind blows trash in. There’s good, honest work to be done here.
So I plan to chronicle the cleaning, the repairs, and the installation of my own visions for this place. Check back here on Sundays for updates as the work gets done.
See you soon.