Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax: Thought of farming life overwhelms her

 

Dear Carolyn: My husband and I are looking to move out to the country and grow our food, have chickens, and a few other livestock (goats, ducks) once we learn what we’re doing. He’s incredibly excited and has started planning things like how he’ll raise crickets to feed to the fish and then the fish will fertilize the garden and we can feed garden scraps to the crickets (and worms, which we already raise) — and while I don’t begrudge him his planning and excitement, he also has a job where he is away for three or more months at a time.

That would leave me to take care of anything he brings into this equation. I feel like I have some veto rights since I don’t want to have crickets as pets while he’s away and have to take care of everything myself. He got upset and said I can’t tell him what he can and can’t do.

I agree with that to a point, but at the same time I feel like marriage is a compromise. I’m already willing to take care of goats and maybe fish — and that’s pushing it for me, since I’m not exactly a farm girl. At what point do I have to back off because it’s also his homestead too? (I swear this is a serious question!!)

Feeling a Little Chicken

At what point does he have to back off because it’s also your homestead, too?

Actually, I’m turning around the wrong one of your sentences. This is the nut:

He can’t tell you what you can and can’t do — including weed the crickets or fish for goats (third-generation suburban homesteader here) while he spends three months on the road.

Both of you know this, which is one of two red flags unfurling in your letter: When he pulled his petulant you-can’t-make-me!!! stuff, why didn’t your mind go straight to calling him, in the warmest of ways, on the fertilizer in his logic? Why did it go instead to wondering whether you’re wrong and he’s right?

Pardon the phrasing, but you sound cowed by him. Red Flag 1.

The second one is that your marriage has left the “ours” phase and entered the “mine” vs. “yours.” That means a true resolution to the animal-care matter will require attention to the give-and-take balance within your marriage. Yes, a strong marriage must be flexible enough to accommodate the evolving interests of its members — but that’s not the same as saying the marriage needs to serve up compulsory, uncompensated farm labor to the member who decides to become a farmer.

If you and he can achieve a sufficient level of calm, then please discuss this crucial distinction; if not, then suggest taking it to marriage counseling. Use your veto power here.

In the meantime, I hope you and he both are spending a great deal of time talking to people who have experience wrangling more than worms. You will have lives in your hands, and you have a moral obligation to take responsibility for no more lives than you’re capable of and committed to sustaining. Please don’t let his excitement motivate either of you to introduce into your portfolio more than one life-form at a time.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at washingtonpost.com.

Read more Lifestyle stories from the Miami Herald

  • What do you recommend?

    “The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton — it’s a book built around characters and plots inspired by astrological principles. It’s a neo-Victorian murder mystery and a mere 832 pages long, and it made 28-year-old Catton the youngest person to win the coveted Man Booker Prize. The voice is natural, easy to understand and ambitious; she’s a novelist who is seeking to reclaim the authorial, a writer who seeks to entertain and enlighten.”

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">The Boom:</span> How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World. Russell Gold. Simon & Schuster. 384 pages. $26.

    Nonfiction

    Book considers the pros and cons of fracking

    Author considers both sides of the controversial issue.

  • Southern Cross Stargazer for April 20-26

    By nightfall Spica follows fiery Mars, in Virgo, higher in the east. Telescopes reveal the white ice cap shrinking in the Martian summer and subtle dark details on the iron-rich red Martian desert. Binoculars enhance the planet’s bright color. Mars sets in the west about dawn and will remain bright for a few weeks.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category