Friday, January 3, 2014

Farm Kids Can!

I consider it the best part of an education to have been born & raised in the Country

Not knocking "City Kids" but farm kids are just a different breed. We grew up a lot more self reliant and resourceful than some of our more urban counterparts, and when we're grown it shows.

I don't normally think about it much. I really didn't when I was still on my parents' farm. My dad, having two daughters, said we were "the sons he never had" and we carried and tossed hay bales, worked in the shop, and ran and brought tools just like the boys. We played in the creek and the mud and climbed trees and put in a lot of hard work around the farm and in town at the farmers' market.

I guess the market is where we started realizing we were different. I remember one day picking up at the end of the morning and this woman almost gasping when I grabbed the 2"X12"X8' that was the bottom shelf of the display. 

"Oh my God, you did!" she exclaimed. I grinned and shrugged and shoved the board into the trailer, just like every other market day. It was a board, for Pete's sake!

My sister got rather annoyed at my enjoyment of lifting heavy objects when we went to the feed store and I would go grab my own  50 lb bag of chicken feed, sling it over my shoulder, and walk out the door. She was annoyed because she thought the feed store boy was cute & she wanted him to load it.

"He probably wanted to load it," she tried to explain.

And I shrugged at her too.

(I am a very hard headed person.)

When I worked at Tractor Supply, I walked through the parking lot one day with a bag of feed on my shoulder again and an old man told me that if I wasn't married, I would be soon because a man would appreciate me being able to work like that.  I had a good chuckle at that, because I was frustrated at how many people argued that I shouldn't help load things because I was "too little" and "a girl". I don't know why it bothered people as long as I could get the job done!

Apparently farm kids are good at getting the job done. I remember at my first job feeling like I didn't have enough work to do and my boss being impressed at how fast I learned the job. On a farm you don't have time to learn the job before doing it! You just pitch in and start helping and when you get that done, you go on to the next thing, and when you get good at it,  you get more and more responsibilities until you get the whole project to do yourself. When I was 12 I was in charge of taking care of all our laying chickens every single day from the day we got them as chicks in the mail. My dad would help once a week to move the house to a fresh spot but otherwise I fed and watered them and gathered the eggs and washed and boxed the eggs and tried to doctor sick hen and buried the odd one that died. 

When I got hurt, the most frustrating, maddening part of the first six months of recovery was that no one could see the independent, hard headed, hard working farm girl. Of course, I couldn't blame them because I didn't look strong and healthy and I wasn't running around a farm store or a poultry sale like I was used to. But they acted like I wasn't going to try and get better. Physical therapy was going to be hard, they said. 

Bring it, I said.

It was hard, making injured muscles and ligaments relearn how to get along and get me around. But I don't remember ever getting home from an appointment and feeling like I had worked on the farm all day. Nothing makes you feel dead-dog bone tired and happy like a long day on the farm.

Today I realized the bathtub was no longer draining, so I grabbed a wire coat hanger and went to work. I was getting annoyed and hollered for J to come help me & he was confused.

"I don't know," he said.

"Well, this is how my dad fixes this but it isn't working! What did your dad do if your tub got stopped up?"

"I don't know, maybe call a plumber." and he wandered off to see what Google had to say. (I actually doubt his dad would have called a plumber because he's helped us with plumbing before, but that is what he said.)

"What?!" I spluttered. I jammed the wire down the drain a few more times and it finally worked.

Maybe my dad is more like McGyver than I thought. He didn't grow up on a farm, but when I was a kid it seemed like there wasn't anything he couldn't fix. (Well, I take that back. One day he got it into his head to try and patch a hole in his shirt. He should have left that to my mother.)

Another thing that happened after I got hurt was the help I got. From a lot of different sources, private and public, in person and anonymously. From old and young.

And the Middlebrook Livestock 4-H Club.

4-H is a organization for young people, ages 9-19. Its motto is "To make the best better". It is in a lot of different areas of the country and they have a lot of different themes while teaching youth community and leadership. But around here it's all about raising livestock and helping the community. 

Including me, someone who was actually never a member. The knew me because I took my sister to her meetings and helped clean the stockyard before the big show and sale and I talked to everyone when they came into  Tractor Supply to buy their show clothes and supplies. They heard I got hurt and they were sad and by golly they were gonna help.

Not only did they donate actual club funds (of their own accord, the adult leaders did not ask them to) one member donated a hog and they raffled it off, giving me half the proceeds. 

I'm sorry, but city kids don't know how much work goes into buying and raising a hog and then promoting a raffle and getting the hog to its buyer. These kids knew from experience, and that is what they did, just to help the girl from the feed store. 

So, farm kids of the world, no matter even if you are just a kid at heart anymore, no matter if you're still in your own little farm town or the big city somewhere, when someone asks you where you grew up, tell 'em! Say "I grew up on a farm!" with pride. We're a special breed. We may not have huge influence on the whole world, but we can on the part of the world around us.

My sister, me, and our favorite cow courtesy of

You might be a farm kid if:

  • you have a wall full of county fair ribbons
  • you learned to drive on a unmarked back road (bonus points if it was a pickup!)
  • dozens of animals get their breakfast from you before you get yours
  • The best ice cream you've had was made from your own cow's milk
  • the second best ice cream was at the stockyard
  • you've ever had a cook out and fed marshmallows to the calf in the neighboring field
  • you've ridden a pig, a cow, a donkey, or a goat. Or all of the above.
  • when you had friends over, you got mad if they ran in the garden 
  • you felt like a badass for riding on the top of the tractor bucket
  • you've raced to see who can climb a 6 bar gate the fastest
  • you watched chickens lay eggs when you got bored
  • you learned "the birds & the bees" from the cows and the sheep
  • you know and dread "pickin rocks"
  • you weren't impressed when you sat down to a meal where everything on the table came from your farm, simply because it always did!
  • you built forts out of square haybales
  • you jumped from the tops of round haybales
  • you spent half a day hanging on the gate, watching the vet care for a sick animal
  • you know how hard it is to herd a pig
  • you judge people by how good they are at catching chickens
  • you know how to party with a bonfire, a couple trucks, and a cooler of Mountain Dew
  • you know what Rocky Mountain Oysters are
  • you think fresh cut grass pales in comparison to new mown hay
  • you've celebrated your birthday at a fair or a animal show
  • all the cool kids are in 4-H or FFA
  • you aren't allowed to wear boots in your house without your mother yelling
  • If you're the mother now, you yell when people wear boots in the house
  • you knew how to plant, tend, and harvest any crop by the time you were out of elementary school
  • You know more about grain futures than stock futures
  • You know someone will be there for you if the worst happens
  • You've heard of Heaven on Earth & you already live there.

You get the point. But what about you? Why are you proud to be a farm kid?


  1. This is a great post! I'm so glad that you appreciate your farm-rearing. This is a wonderful life and we are blessed to live it.

  2. Me- call a plumber? No way! There are handy little tools made to snake down the drain to clean out all the hair and gunk.

    1. Yeah, I really didn't think that would happen. And the coat hanger works once you figure out how to get it to go down. lol