Thursday, May 20, 2010

Farm-Girl Genes

My daughter holding Elsie
I have always dreamed of being a farm-girl. When I lived in the city in Florida, I would line my journals with poems and pictures of the life that tugged at my soul. The desire to connect with the land and nature in this way overwhelms me at times. I have pondered, during moments such as these, where that particular dream may have come from.
The obvious answer is that I inherited it from my once upon a time Farm-Girl Mother.
Were those my formative years then? I was 8 years old when my mother and father moved us from the pavement smothered, smog filled highways of San Diego to 14 living breathing acres in the Flathead Valley, to Montana.
I watched as empty barns and faded out-buildings were dressed in fresh red paint. I played in the dirt as fences were repaired and painted, and I caught frogs in the deep shade of the gulley while, as if by farm-girl magic the animals appeared. 50 hens in the coop, goats in the paddock, 2 cows for milk and 1 for meals, pigs for bacon and horses for riding, a farm dog for companionship, and a striped little barn cat to handle the mice.
I can see her now, bandana kerchief holding back her beautiful chestnut hair, blue jeans and a flannel shirt. She is walking to the barn as the sun rises with milk pails in her hands. The cat follows with her tail raised high. There is bag balm near the sink, sterilized gallon jars lined up neatly on the  counter top, waiting for their morning fill of creamy fresh milk.
She is on her knees in the pea patch, nearly 1/2 an acre of garden around her. She is grinding grain, selling eggs, putting food by in glossy happy jars. She is mixing herbs, and making tinctures, plucking feathers, and bottle feeding goats, sewing aprons, and baking bread. She is a living example of everything I would grow up wanting to be.
Of course! I think to myself, it is her. My mama, the starter for my farm-girl loaf. And then I pause, my chickens scratching about the yard in the early morning light leaves me breathless with a contentment that reaches far beyond my bones, deep deep into the marrow of my existence. This is bigger, much larger than me, larger even that the remembered perfection of a little girl for her mama. I can feel in moments such as these, a connection. I am all at once connected to the women before me. It is as if our apron strings stretch out across time, and I am feeling a breath of their contentment with their own farm-girl life. It’s like electricity traveling along a wire. I hear strains of music from their life-songs~ it is sweet and mournful and it mingles with mine. I haven’t asked her, but I imagine that my mom felt much the same thing. What I do know, is that I am blessed to love this. I am blessed to have this. I am blessed.


Patty said...

This really touched me. My mama was raised on a farm and we had a farm when I was very little. We kind of always lived in a rural area, but from the time I was 7, we never had chickens or cows or anything else. I never asked Mom why they stopped with those. Maybe she was tired of it since she'd had them all her life. But when all her kids were gone, my Mom once again had cows and chickens and even a catfish pond.
I myself live a restricted area where we can't even have our pets running loose (even cats) outside, much less chickens in a coop. The older I get and the older my own kids get, the more I yearn for that connection again. My husband and I agreed to start saving for a place in the country. So our dogs and cats can sleep on the front porch, where we can have rocking chairs and listen to the frogs and crickets and watch the lightning bugs and we can have chickens, and maybe goats.
Your post was beautiful, and I just wanted to let you know.

Darlene said...

Patty, thank you! Where we lived in Florida, sounds much like where you are now. You couldn't even have a truck! I sometimes marvel that even if you own the property, someone can tell you what you can and cannot do there!
I think that my mom became tired of it too. Its hard work! Especially for a woman who has to go back to work, the little farms can demand a lot of attention. This year, a friend and I are creating a huge garden out at my moms house, with her help. It is amazing all that woman knows about growing and raising things :)
I pray that your savings will increase rapidly and you will soon be sitting on that front porch, your heart full of the farm-girl life!