Monday, November 28, 2011

Kind of A City Girl . . .

I'm back, finally. And I apologize for the leave of absence. Life has gotten interesting  & well one day I will explain, just not today. I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving & I will share mine tomorrow. But there is something about going on "vacation" & coming home again that seems to create a pile of laundry, & a messy home. So for today you get a different post.
      Last fall I saw an add in the local Farm & Ranch paper that I love to read, looking for a new columnist. I was immediately interested. It sounded like a challenge, it sounded like fun. So I wrote something as an intro in my new life as a columnist in a Farm & Ranch paper. All I needed to do was write about living life in rural america & life in the country. Well, I let my fears get the best of me & I never applied. Stupid yes, but sadly true. I have regretted it much since. So today I would like to share with you that intro column I wrote still as it was one year ago & maybe one day I will actually apply.

       Housewife & Hobby Farmer

The first time I remember someone calling me a city girl, I was in college. He was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed cowboy, and I was ticked. Knowing myself as I do, I probably punched him for that comment. It was an insult, and I couldn’t believe the words that had just came out of his mouth.  I was studying horticulture and had to take a Farm and Ranch Management class for part of my degree requirements. I may not remember all the details but I remember the exact words Darrin said. Yes, I still remember the cowboy’s name too. He said, and I quote: “You know you’re kind of a city girl.”  Still astonished, I probably just stared at him for a moment. Now, I wasn’t raised ranching, farming or running a dairy, but I was raised in small town in western Wyoming. The nearest Wal-Mart, until I was in college, was two hours away.  I could have walked to the base of the mountain from my house in five minutes, ten if I meandered.  I never had the pleasure of wearing the blue and gold jackets of the FFA or showing animals at the county fair. If truth be known, the extent of our livestock operation growing up was around 20 laying hens. I think one year we did 60 chickens:  mostly for meat and the rest to lay eggs.  I did spend my fall months in the mountains chopping down trees and hauling wood with my family so we could heat our home during the winter.  Until my teens, I spent my summers working with gardens and helping my mom and dad with the family business.  Trust me – it was rural.  I may have not have had all the same experience as he did, but I still could not believe he called me “kind of a city girl.” I spent a good portion of my college days trying to prove to that cowboy that, despite his opinion, I was a country girl. A year or two later, I met my husband and life got really interesting. I drove a tractor for the second time in my life when he took me home for the first time, and I had to help feed the cows.
  Since then a lot has happened.  I have become a housewife and hobby farmer.  I can now say I have raised more than just chickens. I can add to my list goats, sheep, pigs, pastured poultry, rabbits and a steer that is currently grazing behind my house – not to mention the stories to go with it. Oh yeah, and three little boys who are determined to grow up and be cowboys.  No, we have never gone big into farming and ranching. I do, however, enjoy it just enough to have some animals for my boys to do chores and maybe be considered a cottage farm.
I have lived in eastern Montana - in a small town of 400 people. I felt like a pioneer some days, which wasn’t that far off because it is still categorized as a pioneer town because it so small and so rural.  It was as if we had stepped back in time 20-30 years when we moved there.  That was the first time in my life I truly felt like kind of city girl. That was mean cowboy country. I felt some days as if I was in a Louis L’Amour book. In fact, more than one cowboy I met could have fit the description in his books. We lived in a small town, in the middle of no-where. In town there was a small market, about the size of a convenience store. It was your only store to shop.  If you needed more than that it was a 40-mile-drive to the next town.  If you lived in Ekalaka, Montana and only ranched and farmed a section (640 acres) of land you were small time. It was a place that only had one paved road and the rest were dirt. Oh the stories I could tell about my experiences there. Yes sir, I learned a lot in Montana.

Since then I have returned back to Idaho, we have a few acres of land, and I am still trying my hand at raising a small number of livestock. My farming consists of my family garden which we try to raise as much as we can. I spend my days like most ladies that live the rural life, raising kids and trying to get dinner on the table. In the fall season I spend days canning. As I have been in the middle of writing this, I have made plum jam, processed and frozen two deer, canned salsa, dried plums, and made jerky. As I speak, I currently have bread rising. I have boys who want to grow up to be cowboys, and one son that wants to raise only pigs like his grandpa used to do.  I must admit that some days are spent convincing my boys that even cowboys and pig farmers have to pick up their bedrooms. I continue trying to spend my days raising good kids and good products whether we sell it or just put it in the freezer. I have to learn to call Idaho home, to relish in watching spud trucks go up and down the rows. I love the sight and smell of fresh-tilled dirt.  I grew up in the country, and I still love living in the country.  I realize now as the years have passed that even though that young cowboy’s comment wasn’t completely true, he wasn’t completely off base either. I may not know it all, but I plan on figuring it out along the way. So to Darrin, that blonde-haired, blue-eyed cowboy, and to anyone else that shares his opinion:  I may be “kind of city girl” on some things, but one day cowboy, this housewife and hobby farmer will still prove you wrong. 

1 comment:

  1. Very good!! A very interesting read. Oh, I always thought you were "kind of a city girl" too! Just kidding!