Last year, when we took the leap to move to the “country” here in the middle of Portugal, some of my friends started to jokingly refer to me as the “gentleman farmer”. That made me laugh. I've not often been accused of being a gentleman, and as for farmer, I think my neighbors would beg to differ about that designation as it applies to me. What they must see, squinting as they do, hoe cleaving to their shoulders when they pass me hunched over in my garden, is an awkward looking foreigner attempting to make sense of the unruly plot of land beneath his feet. In my mind's eye, I see myself cutting down trees, clearing fields and planting for a fulsome harvest. Their seasoned eyes see a man flailing at the air, too far out of his depth to even know where to start.
And yet, and yet...there may be something in it. I have planted a lemon tree, I have planted things that now seem to be pushing their way through soil towards the light. I look around, after a little over a year, and there is the potential for change in this person who grew up and has lived in cities all his life.
Maybe this “country life” will make me a gentleman, and I'll be half the way there.
The "Gentleman Farmer" at his kitchen hearth