Farming

I would have made a kick-ass pioneer farm wife.

Well, there are a few things that, being a 21st century girl, I don’t know about giving up…indoor plumbing, washing machines, cooking without lighting a fire first…

But I would make a kick-ass 21st century farm wife!  🙂

Isn’t it funny how you can get obsessed with something, want to watch the same kind of movie, read the same kind of book?  You finish a good book, and what you want is another one that makes you feel just like this one did.  This particular obsession started with two things.  One, I told Mike one night that one thing I miss about living in the country is the stars.  When I was growing up on the farm, sometimes I would be sent outside after dark for a task of some sort.  I was a little afraid of the dark, I guess, because I would usually have to turn on the yard light before stepping foot out the door.  If I could resist the urge, though, it was SO worth it!  You just don’t see stars in the city the way you do in the country.  Mike, born and raised in the city, sympathized with this comment, which I really appreciated, considering he may not have ever seen stars like that!  🙂  And the conversation stuck in my head.

The second thing was the Love Comes Softly movie marathon on Hallmark Channel that I watched off and on last weekend.  I am now in the mood to watch those movies, read Laura Ingalls Wilder books, etc.  The life of a family working to build a home and farm on untamed prairie is so different from my life.  Everything comes down to what’s going on outside, what is growing, what is grazing, what the weather is doing.  Everything is slow and gradual.  It takes months to cross the country.  Going into town is a task that you don’t undertake that often.  Neighbors need one another.  You have to work harder than I can even imagine working, every day, in the hopes of being ready for your family and your livestock to survive the winter.  (I’ll bet there wasn’t too much insomnia on the plains!  You probably fell into bed and were asleep within the time it takes me to find the right place for my pillows!)  You had to rely on your own knowledge and resources, and those of your neighbors, for every need, from food to clothing to medical care.

Watching those movies got me thinking about other things I miss about living on a farm.  I was going to say things I loved about living on a farm, but I didn’t necessarily love them at the time.  Actually, this train of thought might really surprise my mom!  But now, having experienced living both in the country and in the city…  I miss the cycle of the year.  The work to be done is different in the various seasons.  I miss the slower pace…although part of that was just childhood in general, not necessarily farm life.  I miss the air and the sky and the trees and the grass.  I miss going to the top of a hill and looking over the countryside, the fields and trees and streams, everything so green in the summer, so brown in the fall, so white in the winter.  For some reason, to this day, it doesn’t feel like spring, summer, or fall until I’ve seen a corn field reflecting the changes of the season.  I miss tending a garden, freezing and canning vegetables or fruit, hanging clothes out to dry, the consistency of daily livestock chores, the rare occasion when I’d help inthe fields, driving slowly round and round a field for hours and hours, soaking up the sun and the soil.  I miss picking mulberries.  I miss lying in the grass, staring up at the blue sky, and not worrying about anything more dangerous than ants and bumblebees.  I miss all the things that you can find and eat…clover nectar, dandelion leaves, water from the stream.  My parents’ most fervent warning in the summertime was, don’t eat the wild mushrooms, they might look like something we eat, but they’re poisonous!  🙂  Oh, and you can’t go barefoot unless your feet are tough enough to run on the gravel.  You know, in case you’re on the side of the road and a tractor comes over the top of the hill at 25 miles an hour!  Such simplicity!  Back then I really did think the most likely way to die would be getting run over by a piece of farm equipment because I wouldn’t get out of the way fast enough.  Or possibly getting run over by a stampede of cows…I was always aware of where the cows were when we were playing in the pasture!  I miss the sun rising over one hill and setting over the other.

I don’t totally understand how one raises kids in a city.  Obviously, I’ll most likely end up doing just that, but there are things I’m afraid they’ll miss out on.  How do they learn about east and west?  Seasons?  Weather?  How do they learn about birth and death?  Fire?  Plants?  Where food comes from?  Where do they climb trees, build things, explore in an environment that’s safe but out of sight of their mom? 

What did I miss out on, by not growing up in a town?

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