I was born and raised a country girl.
We may have covered this before: my parents were both raised on farms. Farming is in the blood. My parents did not choose to have their own farm but we spent plenty of time farming as I was growing up. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of being perched on the fender of a tractor with my dad or my grandfather (my pappy and I once shared a picnic lunch in a tractor, in the back corner of a field during planting season); or roaming around the farms on a four-wheeler, most often with an end goal of bringing feed to the cows; and that one time my dad thought it would be fun to climb the pile of sawdust (he later made me promise I wouldn’t tell Mom). I’ve bottle-fed calves; drank fresh, raw milk from the cows my great uncle and his family owned- the last surviving dairy farm in the township till just about a decade or so ago; and walked barefoot through freshly plowed fields. I know how to can (even though I don’t do it), make my own homemade jams, and can preserve fresh produce in the freezer. My dad taught me how to shoot- and respect- rifles and bows, and I have even attended one game dinner, sampling several unexpected types of meat. Venison remains a favorite in our house, and our freezer is stocked with that and beef from the cows my brother raises. And a defining moment in our marriage just may have been that summer we helped my dad and brothers on the hay wagon, with Ryan slinging bales from the bailer as I perched at the top of the wagon trying to secure the load.
I’m not a farm girl. I was raised to know how to work on the farm AND how to work a farmhouse kitchen, working side-by-side with my granny to feed my pappy and his farmhands: lots and lots of coffee to get them going in the morning; hearty meat-and-potato meals, often featuring a loaf of hot bread and melty butter; and knowing that dinner would sometimes have to be reheated because during planting season and harvest, farmers don’t rest. I’m no stranger to the farm life, even if it’s not the life I’ve chosen.
Every once in awhile, though, we go home and that country girl resurfaces. With a little coaxing from my mom and my husband , she came out to play for a few minutes a few weekends ago.
Where we live, we don’t start measuring snow till it measures in feet. Where we come from, four inches is a huge deal, and an opportunity not to be missed if you own a snowmobile. My youngest brother just happens to have one, and my husband just happens to desperately want one, so clearly our weekend plan was a solid one.
Now, I’m not sure if y’all are familiar with snowmobiling, but let me just say, there’s something very liberating about ripping through a wide open field at 70mph. As I clung to my husband for dear life, I may have briefly questioned my sanity, and simultaneously questioned why I’d waited so long for this experience. The answer is as follows: I never claimed to be sane…and I hate being cold.
Nevertheless, it was fun to get out and tour the farm- albeit at a higher rate of speed than I’ve been accustomed to in the past several decades- and of course I can never turn down an opportunity to wrap my arms around Ryan’s waist and let him be in control of whatever machine he’s operating. Of course, he’s the most competent man I know, and I trust him completely. Clearly, so does my mom.
When Ryan went outside to get on Cory’s snowmobile, he looked at me and said, “you wanna go?” But…I was warm. And my boys were…well, happy, content, and playing without even acknowledging my existence, so that wasn’t an excuse, but I still said no. Before I had finished responding, my mom had her coat and her boots on, quickly enough that Ryan might’ve been taken aback. With a glimmer in his eye, he and my mom took off.
When they returned awhile later, my mom burst through the door, cheeks rosy, and thrust her gloves into my hands. “You get out there right now!” she demanded. Mom spoke, I listened. Knowing my boys were still content, well-tended, and blissfully unaware of my plan, I bundled up and headed outside where my husband was waiting. We took off down toward the barns, cutting though the field where my pappy’s cows used to graze and toward the corn crib, past the machine shed and up through the fields we used to toboggan on with my grandparents. He cut back toward the corner of the property where the millstone sits: a large boulder with a hole in it, once used by Native Americans to grind corn. We followed the property line to the edge, then circled back down past the pond, to the open field behind the house…the same field where I remember being pulled on a sled by my pappy’s four wheeler when I was a little girl. By the time we finished I could barely feel my face, but I was exhilarated by the flash of memories at such a high rate of speed.
I guess you just can’t take the country out of the girl.