Lessons & Thoughts From the Farm

Country Living Is the Life For Us

My Farmtastic Life - Cowboy Mowing the Pasture
Farm life – Cowboy spending 7 hours bumping along mowing one field. That’s a lot of seat time. Love my man on a tractor (and a dog in the field).

Neither Cowboy or I grew up on a farm or in the country, so this great big, wonderful farmtastic adventure we’re on is just that – an adventure.  We were children of the ‘burbs with neatly mowed yards, cul-de-sacs, and sedans.

I’m not entirely sure why we were drawn to the country life, other than the peace and quiet and limitless critter possibilities. (Okay, that one is totally on me.)  Truth be told, Cowboy does have what he affectionately calls a people limit, i.e. he prefers to be around as few people as possible as a general rule. (I still often wonder how I got so lucky to be his person.  Regardless, I’m grateful.)  So I guess all of those things together, combined with the fact that I simply believe God knows where each of us belongs, landed us in the country.

If you knew me back in my high school days, I would have told you I was headed for big city living, a high-power fancy job, and maybe someday I’d get married in my thirties. Holy Batman was I a little wrong.  Just a little.  The truth is I could not be happier to be wrong.  I don’t think any of those things would have brought me the true joy that Cowboy and I now share.

I am one of those people who believes that everything happens for a reason and that God has a grander plan.  Now don’t get me wrong, things aren’t always peachy and the reality doesn’t always match the lovely Facebook photos that everyone shares.  Heck, I even recently heard that no one shares the B side of their life.  (Remember records and tapes?)

We’re all busy posting and sharing and cultivating our images.  And honestly, I love seeing everyone’s happy moments and sharing ours, too.  But it’s important for us all to remember that real life is messy, sometimes wonderful, and always changing. And often times not what we expected.  And that is okay.  Truly, it is okay.

Seven years ago this summer we moved into our barndiminium with grand plans of building a house.  The house never came, and we still live in our barn apartment and have found real joy in pairing down, focusing on our hobbies, and filling it with critters. (Again, that last one is probably more me.)   When folks ask if we like country living, my standard response is, “We wouldn’t trade it.  But it is more expensive and more work than we ever imagined.”

My Farmtastic Life - Fixing the Fence w/Duct Tape
When you have to fix a busted board and don’t have an extra one lying around, fancy duct tape will have to do. (Not gonna lie, for half a second I thought about wrapping all the fence boards in this. Maybe just a tad over the top.)

What are some of the not so Instagram worthy things on a farm?

  • There is always, and I mean always, a long laundry list of things to fix – from horse water troughs to fences. Seriously, what’s with the fences?  Guessing 1,000-pound equines are a contributing factor.  Who knew?
  • You must have a tractor and all of its implements.  Cars, schmars.  Tractors are where it’s at.
  • Critters are crafty and sneaky and smart, which translates to more broken things and more money.
  • There is always something to scoop.  Cowboy says no more things that poop are allowed on the farm.  Guess we are now limited to pet rocks.
  • Travel is limited – someone has to watch the zoo.
  • Weather – hot, freezing, or monsoon season we are out in it slip sliding away.

Are these things terrible?  Absolutely not.  They are just part of farm living.  Am I complaining? No way.  We are grateful and we know lots of other folks who would like to have the chance to give farm life a try.  So why share this?  To simply say this is not where Cowboy or I thought we would be, but we are grateful it is where we are.  It’s not always simple or easy. There’s tons of moments that are not social media worthy or appropriate.  But it’s our wonderfully wacky life.

Thanks for letting us share our story with you and for continuing to read and follow along.  We hope that no matter where you are, you can find the beauty of the moment and see something you never quite expected.

Farm Life · Farmtastic Stories

It’s a Dusty, Dandy Life

Love and marriage might go together like a horse and carriage, but when it comes to country living it’s dust and dirt that have the perfect marriage.  And to be honest, the horses (and their carriage) love it!

Living in the country simply comes with a lot of dust and dirt, and if you want to keep your sanity, you just have to get over it.  I remember when I used to visit folks who had horses and barns (long before my horse days).  We would walk out into the barn and everything would be covered in a thin layer of dust, and I used to think, “Sheesh, don’t they ever clean this place?”  To all of you, I am deeply sorry.

Having lived the country life for three years now, I have finally given in to the dust and the dirt.  I mean, you can spend your days with brooms, dust pans, hoses, and my favorite, the leaf blower, or you can spend your days hugging the neck of your horse, brushing manes, and sitting on the porch.  Frankly,  the latter appeals to me a whole lot more.

To be fair, I’ve never loved cleaning, but I do my best. I grew up in a house that could pretty much pass the white glove test at any time.  My mom’s mortal enemy is dust, and it still is today.  In fact, we have a long running family joke about the fancy formal living room coffee tables circa 1974 that were shellacked to a high sheen (say “amen” if you know what I mean).  Dusting them was the bane of my existence.  When my mom finally upgraded her furniture several years back, she quipped, “You sure you don’t want these tables?”

I was quick to respond with “Are you kidding me?  Do you know how many hours of therapy those tables cost me?”

And not only do you just have to deal with it, I actually find myself spending cold hard cash on dirt, well sand, but you get the gist. Where we live, when it rains our dirt turns to gumbo.  That thick, gloppy mess that will turn a girl’s boots into 10-pound weights, that is if you are lucky enough not to have them sucked off of your feet.

To help with this lovely little dilemma, we’ve brought in truck loads of sand to mix around the horse stalls and work area.  And in case you are wondering, dirt ain’t cheap, which you are gently reminded of on hot dusty days as your precious sand is blowing around.  The wind whispers “cha-ching” in your ear as the dirt you actually want slowly slips away.  So while some girls get to dream of spending money on new sofas, I dream of sandy soil.  My what has happened to me?

And if not for the dirt and dust that just blow around, the animals will make sure you have plenty of extra.  For example, Nightmare the barn cat, loves to roll in the dirt and sand and turn his shiny black coat into a lovely shade of tan.  Sweet Suzy Q loves nothing more than a good rain to roll around in the mud and fill up her beautiful mane with mud clumps, resulting in bath time, which is a whole other story altogether.

So there you have it.  Country life is filled with sand, mud, and dust.  But when a big old dusty horse slobbers all over your shoulder and leaves a dirt print on your favorite T-shirt, you think dirt is just about the best thing you’ve ever seen.

Horse Photo - Ranger with his nose in the air
This is what Ranger thinks of the dust. It is just dandy!