Friday, June 4, 2010
As I was out driving this morning, I was admiring all the farm land around me and remembering my dream from the time I was very young....to live on a farm. I always had it pictured in my head....the old white farm house with the more than ample front porch and a wonderful porch swing in which to enjoy the warm summer evenings. Yep....that was always my dream. Maybe it was because I was indoctrinated with shows like The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie, or maybe it was because there was something about farm life that meant family and comfort to me. I really don't know...I just know that was my dream.
Funny that I would have such a dream, being that I was born in a huge city. I only lived there a year or so....so obviously no city notions stuck with me. I then moved to what was back then no more than a big town (but has since grown to be considered a city). Apparently...it was still too big to entice me. Finally....before I hit jr. high....we moved to small town America. It is your typical, everyone knows everyone elses business, kind of town, fresh with a one stop sign Main st, and graduating classes small enough that everyone knows everyone.
Still, small town life wasn't farm life and I used to be jealous of all the kids who got to go home and feed whatever it was they fed, bail hay, and play in the barn. Now mind you....my mother had a garden 1/3 of the size of our 3/4 acre back yard....and I literally hated working in it, but somehow I thought I would make an awesome farm girl?! Hmmmm Those that know me well are probably laughing their hind quarters off as we speak.
As I grew older....my dream grew stronger and I tended to hang with and party with a lot of farm kids. No one could party and have fun like they did. I later realized that they played so hard because they worked so hard, but all I knew was wherever they were....that is where I wanted to be. And their families always seemed so down to earth. Again....a later realization was that you couldn't run a successful farm without certain life skills and those life skills just naturally poured over into their family lives. They all lived, loved, worked and played hard. That was what I wanted.
Needless to say, it wasn't long before I grabbed one of those farm boys as a boyfriend. He was a dairy farmer and his family had about 140 head of cows who needed milking 3 times a day. I soon found if you dated anyone in the family or married into the family (especially where the boys were concerned) you helped out. My guys job was to take care of the cows, milk them, and clean the barn.....did I mention 3 TIMES A DAY?! So most of our dating life consisted of cows. I was a trooper though and I worked my little fingers to the bone. I could herd cattle, feed cattle, help deliver calves, take care of calves, and milk cows....3 TIMES A DAY! We milked at 4 a.m., 11 a.m., and 4 p.m. and for a year.....I spent every weekend, at least a couple days during the week and every holiday, playing dairy farm queen.
Now I know that anyone who knows me is just in hysterics thinking about ME working on a farm....and well you should be. I am sure I gave my guy and his family hours of story fun for years to come. Like the time I was walking through cattle pen after a hard rain. My boots were too big and the ground was covered in mud and cow crap. There was myself, my guy, his dad and two of his brothers...along with me trying to herd the cattle towards the barn....and as always the graceless freak of nature that I am.....my boot slipped and I fell face first into the muddy mixture that I was walking in. And do you think anyone helped me up??? Oh no! They were way too busy laughing! It took me years of showers to overcome that experience. And there was the time when I was feeding the calves in their individual pens. I had stepped over the fence and given the little guy his food, when I dropped something on the ground. So I bent over to pick it up and that little mother#$%^&$ turned around and kicked me right in the butt. I went flying over the fence right into my guys dad. Needless to say.....he was amused.....I was not! And let us not forget the time that I was trying to heard the cows to the barn for milking at 3:30 in the morning. I was only about half awake and I was walking along smacking the cows on their butts guiding them towards the barn. Suddenly my guy grabbed me and we both went flying over the corral fence. As I looked up I was facing a very angry and very ill tempered bull. Apparently in the midst of all my butt slapping.....I had mistakenly slapped his butt too. I hadn't even realized it.....thank goodness my guy saw it and realized what I had done....or you might not be hearing this story right now....because apparently....bulls don't like to have their butts slapped. Again.....my antics got a big laugh from everyone......but me! And then there was my all time Lisa should not be a farm girl moment.
When you bring the cows into the barn they go a few at a time and follow each other into individual gates where you then attach the milking machines to them. Most of the cows this does not bother and they act just fine....but you always get one who doesn't want to get with the program and I had Miss Bossy Bitch. (The bitch....I added). Every time I would bring her in....before I could get her gate shut....she would try to kick me. She would haul that back leg back at me and try to leave a mark and I had to be fast....or she would have. Daily we would give each other the evil eye and she would make a snorting sound just before she would try to high kick her way into my upper thigh. It was a ritual.....and every time I would call her names and then laugh at her unsuccessful attempt at hitting her mark. Then one day....I was not fast enough. Before I could shut the gate....her back foot came flying back and nailed me squarely in the thigh right above my knee. It hurt so bad that it brought tears to my eyes.....and as if to celebrate her victory....MBB gave a little snort that almost sounded like a laugh. Oh I was angry. So much to her surprise (and mine too) I just hauled out and kicked her back. I kicked with every ounce of energy I had and she let out what was almost the equivalent of a dog yip. She knew I meant business. And that day.....Miss Bossy and I came to a truce. She never tried to kick me again....and I never kicked her back. Needless to say though.....yet again, I had an audience who found the whole incident extremely funny. Sure....they could laugh. They didn't have a hoof print on their leg.
My guy and I later broke up. Maybe I just realized that dairy cows and I would never be any closer than...a glass of milk. I did however learn first hand that farm life was all the good things I had imagined....and also a lot of hard work, effort, prayer, and sometimes disaster that I hadn't. So that was my last farm experience. But I digress.
So as I was out driving this morning, I was admiring all the farm land around me and remembering my dreams.....and I thought to myself, how lucky am I to still live in an area of the country were farms are still abundant and farm life is still a staple of a community. Will I ever get my farmhouse with the porch and swing? Who knows.....maybe not, but for a little while....I did get to live my dream....sort of!