I may be country but…

I told you it would grow!

I told Big Boss that when we moved back to the farm there were some things I was NOT going to do…milk cows, butcher chickens or drive a tractor. Since most of our cattle are steers, the milking thing was not  a problem. I’ve driven a tractor tho, when they were pressed for breathing bodies to help out.

Isn't that blue egg pretty?!! The brown and white ones are ok, but the Araucana eggs amaze me.










The chicken thing went out the window a long time ago. Our boys had chickens, turkeys, guineas, geese, ducks..anything “fowl”, we had it and several different varieties of “it”.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Araucana chickens lay little greenish-blue eggs.  Cornish hens, the huge white-feathered ones were the best fryers.  And Rhode Island Reds are excellent layers.  I just thought I knew chickens.

Kids loved these Silkies.

A Buff Orpington...isn't he a beauty?










The two older boys were in charge of the actual murder of chickens. The chickens’ demise involved my clothes line, hanging by their pathetic chicken feet and a quick shot in the head.  I know.  Gross.  But we had to eat. I was captain of the cleaning team, assisted by Baby Brother. Although the next statement could get me into serious trouble because we raise beef, I will take a chance and say it. There is NOTHING as good as a home-raised chicken. Seriously. Fried, of course.

Now might be a good time to interject a verification of the old saying, “Running around like a chicken with its head cut off.” It is the absolute truth.  It does happen as my sons will also testify because one of those headless fowls chased them down the crick bank and almost scared all of us to death.  You wouldn’t believe the racket that chaos stirred up.  But since we live out in the country, no one heard it but me.  And possibly grieving other fowl.  But I doubt it.

Back to the subject and I do have one….because I had only three original “I Will Not Do’s”, I was hornswaggled into many jobs that I never imagined.  Like working cattle. That means doctoring them if they need it, vaccinations, removal of unnecessary parts (don’t ask), temperature taking (you don’t want to know) and just general cow upkeep. Yep, I’ve had cow poo all over me and cow snot thrown my way and lived through it.

I’ve driven huge semis that scare me to death.  I’ve even driven a combine briefly.  Really no big deal as a combine is just a giant lawn mower.  Right?  I had no idea palms could sweat buckets.  I’ve killed rattle snakes.  (There’s a whole book in our snake stories!)  I’ve kept the farm books and PEOPLE, if you know me at all, you know that I am not and never will be a numbers person.  Thanks goodness for Apple IIe computers! I learned to saddle a horse…the right way. I’ve hauled cattle, thrown out little feed squares from the back of a pickup during droughts out to pasture cattle.  I’ve got up in the middle of the night to chase cattle that somehow escaped their pens. I’ve gone after parts and more parts and still more parts.  (parts for the machinery that decorates this place and that’s a lot of decoration!)

I’ve gone out with Big Boss and helped him dig up acres and acres of corn sprouts.  Why, you ask, would we do such a thing? Because Big Boss has a phobia.  He fears the corn seeds being planted too deep, too shallow, too dry, too wet, too close, too hot, too cold…and on and on.  His dad was always in charge of corn planting and after his death, Big Boss was in charge.  His worst nightmare was the corn not coming up.  I finally explained to him that G-d had been growing corn a long time before His high-tech 20th century (it was 1986 ish at the time) farmers were put in charge of Corn Growing.  The corn would sprout in spite of our meager efforts to help it along.  DON’T WORRY!  That was my story and I stuck to it.

I’ve also cooked for up to 60 farm folks during our corn silage harvest. And when I say cook, I mean a menu like baked steak, mashed taters, green beans, corn, salads, hot breads and 2 or 3 different desserts. Not to mention pickles, cantaloupe, watermelon, sliced tomatoes, homemade jams. Makes me tired just typing all of that. That was Granny’s menu and we maintained that menu for many, MANY years. Not so much now. DIL’s do it now and they do a great job serving up man-sized sandwiches with homemade cookies and brownies. I’m tired lazy so I chase kids while they do the lunches.  Chasing grands makes me tired too but that’s a GOOD kind of tired!!!  🙂

AND, I’ve got to watch a mare pop out a brand new baby and hunt eggs with my boys and learn SO many cooking tips from my MIL and ride a horse with my one-year old son after lunch each day (he went to sleep on every ride so I’d ride home, somehow get off the horse with son on my shoulder, tie up the horse and get son into bed.  Then run out to unsaddle the horse and walk him over to the barn after naptime was over.  Whew!). I got to see corn sprouts grow into 7-8′ plants and grind flour from the June wheat harvest and marvel at watching a baby chick grow in an eggshell with just the right lighting and….nope, none of those things were in my job description.  But then…I married a Kansas farm boy who became a school teacher who became a coach who became a farmer.  Huh, we’re kinda back where we started…

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5 Responses to I may be country but…

  1. servetus says:

    This post puts its finger on a lot of my ambivalence about farming — although you are clearly much less ambivalent than I am. 🙂 It’s a worthwhile activity — everything associated with it, and at the end of the day you know what you’ve done. And there’s a real sense of achievement at constantly surmounting these tasks. You think, “wow, I fixed that pump even though I didn’t know how, or I got that piglet to live another day” or whatever. But as you say, you can’t think about it for all the exhaustion that would descend on you ….


  2. The Queen says:

    I can understand that. However, I think one might feel the same about being an oil rig roustabout…or a lawyer or a parent or a teacher? All different occupations/professions but they all require different amounts of energy expended at certain times…some physical energy and some mental energy. For me, the thought of being a CPA would drive me nuts! Or having to present a lecture on the Middle Age History of Sweden. Just shoot me. I think that’s the beauty of all of G-d’s creatures. He formed us in our mother’s womb to be exactly what we are at this moment. Each on of us has a job and He calls us to that job. My husband thinks of farming as the tending and caretaking of what G-d has loaned us for the short while we’re on this earth.

    Another plus for raising a family here (not that you need convincing…just for FYI. :0) is the oustanding effect it has on efforts of childrearing. That statement could be a whole book, but the short and sweet of it is…our boys have never had to look for jobs. They all had companies, bosses, managers…whatever, hunting them down before and after college graduation. Why? Because they were more informed than the regular guy? Because they made the best grades in their university biology class? None of the above. Employer after employer stated that these farm kids knew how to work. Period. The work ethic this place gave them is invaluable. Yes, it can be construed to the extreme. That’s what us farmwives are for. We whack them every once in while to get them straightened up! Just kidding. Sort of. But I have called mine down more than once for coming in too late. Another job that was not in my job description. *sigh*


  3. servetus says:

    I absolutely agree with you about the issue of calling. People should go / be where G-d calls them to. Although I have never experienced that feeling of definitely knowing I was in my calling. Which is, I suppose, why I wonder about farming 🙂

    Where I grew up the farmkids definitely knew how to work (though so did we — although that may be because we were only tenuously removed from the farm) but they were also often bored, and hence wild. I worry about this with my nieces. There are already signs that they are bored. I think this is a problem that can be gotten around with more attentive parenting, etc., but I’m disturbed by what I see as the flip side of all the hard work.

    Sorry it took me so long to reply; I forgot to subscribe to comments.


  4. The Queen says:

    You are absolutely right about attentive parenting! It’s imperative. Hub’s dad always figured that if you worked the socks of a kid, they’d be too tired to get into trouble. That sounds rather archaic but true to a degree. I would NEVER say our boys didn’t get into mischief….but they would be the first to say they never got bored either. The lack of “things to do” around here was never a problem but we had to take the initiative often…give them structured jobs with set goals and set rewards, re: you clean out the chicken house by tonight and your reward is getting to watch a fav TV show or you get to have a friend over for the night. Small stuff but building blocks. “Dare to Discipline”, by James Dobson,was an invaluable resource for us. I highly recommend it.

    To carry the discussion further, expand your comment “I’m disturbed by what I see as the flip side of all the hard work.”…..?


    • servetus says:

      We were Dobson children. Cough. I’m not a fan. My mom used to swear by him, but I suspect from some things she’s said in the last three years or so that she has really changed her opinion about Dobson, too, though I would never dare ask her, or at least not yet. But I know that many people find him excellent (and I’d certainly prefer him to Pearl). I have had a lot of discussions with other Dobson kids about this, and parents who’ve used “Dare to Discipline,” and also have learned that many parents turned to Dobson in the late 1970s because they saw him as a moderate — and would say that Dobson helped them understand discipline as a concept opposed to just spanking their kids when they were angry or letting them do whatever they wanted. A parenting method is only ever as good as the people who practice it, of course. So Dobson parenting may mean something really different to you than it does to me.

      I think it helps a lot that you belong to a “no alcohol” religion, which I assume doesn’t completely keep people from drinking when they’re bored, but at least assigns some social opprobrium to it, or makes them hesitate. For me as a teenager, it seemed to me that the flip side of the hard work in the country was license to crazy partying. In the Wisconsin countryside that means beer and it’s a beer friendly culture anyway because of all of the German – / Scandinavian – Americans. I didn’t understand until I was a lot older that not everyone experienced life in such stark dichotomies — that there were other things than crazy hard work and crazy intense “leisure.” I worry that my nieces see only people who are breaking their backs and who are celebrating into oblivion. I think because their parents work so hard and everything cultural beyond the church is such a long drive that there is less time for leisure enrichment and learning to be engaged with other things. (Yes, I need badly to move home.)

      These are obviously just my observations.


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