Our four-year-old grandson does his part to herd the cattle down the road by waving his cap in order to encourage them along. His dad takes a bit more active approach as he runs along behind the critters!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Always a Farm Girl at Heart

When I moved to our little town as a junior in high school many many many years ago, my fellow high school students perceived me as a city girl.  "City girl" sounded good to me, kind of glamorous; and I had indeed lived in Wichita and Olathe.  Not great big cities, but gettin' right up there with the most citified places Kansas has to offer.  What I didn't share was that I'd started life on fifteen farm-like acres surrounded by fields of farm ground and pastures full of cattle. My mom's big garden and our little white farmhouse provided the setting for what I would always think of as the ideal home.  

My grandpa was a farmer, and I loved our trips to the Ozark hills of Missouri to spend time at his farm.  As my dad's job caused me to change homes and schools seven times between the ages of 5 and 18, my grandparents' farm became the place I felt most at home.  I loved tromping through the pastures, fishing at the pond (although I wasn't great at sitting still for long), and going exploring through the walnut grove just south of Grandpa's workshop.  And let me just add a note about Grandpa's shop; he had begun his working career as a blacksmith in the early 1900's. The fascinating tools of that trade including a forge and his anvil were still in good working order in that shop... I remember climbing the ladder that led to the loft-like attic of the shop to find a mother cat and 5 kittens curled under the eaves... 

I won't say that I married Farmer John just because he was a farmer, but I will admit that the fact he planned to make farming his career seemed like a dream come true to me.  Don't laugh. Through the good times and bad (dry times and wet, poor times and...well, if not rich, comfortable...) I have always loved living outside of town.  If I continue on I'll get uncomfortably sappy about things like the scent of milkweed blooming in the spring and how thrilling it is to see a blue heron take flight just a dozen feet away as I take my daily walk across the pond dam on the hill across from our house, but let's just make it clear that I love being outdoors and always have.  

When I told everyone I was going to help on the farm, one of my teacher friends said, "This is so out of character, I can't believe it;  you didn't even like going outside for recess."  Let me just explain that having 20 six-year-olds trailing along behind you is enough to dampen the enthusiasm of the most dedicated nature lover.  I loved teaching school and I sorely miss my teaching colleagues, my students, and that wonderful satisfaction of imparting knowledge in a way that helps others.  But one of the most difficult disciplines of the job for me was  the claustrophobic feeling caused by the necessity of staying within four walls throughout the most beautiful portions of every day.  

Here are three photos I took last week as we checked cattle. I am loving being back home on the farm. 
"Doorways" such as this one always tempt me.  I'd have dearly loved to go tromping off into the wooded area shown here and in the picture below--but that very healthy poison ivy deterred me. 

An invitation to enter if ever I saw one...

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