Now that the weather has turned colder and I am spending more time inside taking care of all the things I never seemed to have gotten to over the summer, it makes me think of all the changes in my life over the past 10 years or so. It is actually quite comical really…my transformation from city girl to farmer girl. Anyone who knew me before my metamorphous finds it just as funny as I do.
I grew up in the Lancaster, Pa area as a child. I spent most of my time living on Beaver Street right in the heart of the city. Now if you know Lancaster, you know this is a far cry from the Amish and country life that most people associate Lancaster County with. For example, we played kickball in the alleyway, hide and go seek in abandoned cars, and I learned all the Spanish cuss words before I was 10. After high school, I moved to Philadelphia. I lived in the Frankford section of Philly which made Lancaster City look like Hicksville USA. Murders, Rapists, and Drug Dealers were my neighbors. It was nothing to walk by the homeless begging for money or have your car stolen 15 minutes after you parked it.
I moved back to Lancaster/Chester Co. line after my 1st child was born and met my husband at Chester Co. Prison. No we weren’t inmates…we were Correctional Officers. My job was the care, custody, and control of inmates that weren’t all that different from me. There is a fine line you walk in life and I just happened to make the right choices and took the correct fork in the road so to speak.
Anyway, my free time consisted of scouring Cosmo magazines for the latest hair and clothing fashions. I wanted the big beautiful house with all the latest kitchen gadgets. I wanted the brand new vehicles that made my friends envious. I wanted my kids to walk in designer clothes. I would never have even left the house without a shower, make-up, and my hair done. I spent countless hours at the gym trying for that perfect body. My house had to be “just so” with everything in its place just in case Queen Elizabeth stopped by for a visit.
How have things changed…a complete 360! My house is usually a wreck because quite frankly I just don’t have the time to make it perfect for Queen Elizabeth (although it still drives me crazy). Where I wanted that big beautiful house, now I wish my house was smaller just so it didn’t take as long to clean it. From wanting a state of the art kitchen to dreaming of a state of the art milk house and barn. Heck, I would just be thrilled to have water in my barn instead of hooking up the hose and running it down to the barn twice a day especially when it is something like 40 below and we are hip deep in snow.
Instead of combing through Cosmo, I now read Dairy Goat Journal and farm supply catalogs such as Tractor Supply, Premier, Hoegger’s Supply, and Caprine supply to name a few. The latest fashions in clothing to dreaming of muck boots that keep my feet warm and dry in the mud and snow. My hair used to have 20 pounds of gel and hairspray to keep it in that perfect state to keeping it just long enough to pull back into a ponytail so that it doesn’t get in my face when I am milking. I went from designer clothes and perfect hair to thinking any pair of jeans that doesn’t have manure on it is clean enough to wear just about anywhere…if it doesn’t smell like buck urine then they are exceptionally clean.
I look at my vehicles now and just can’t wait until they are paid off. I could care less if they are brand new just as long as they can pull my horse trailer to transport my goats to an upcoming ADGA show. Pulling wagons full of hay back to the barn is a must also…let’s face it…if it’s a reliable work horse then I am happy. Who cares if it’s rusty, dirty, or doesn’t have a CD player in it.
Where I wouldn’t leave the house without a shower, makeup, and my hair done…I go to the barn in my pajamas to check on the ladies. I usually jump out of bed and pull my hair back, brush my teeth, wash my face and consider myself ready to greet the world…including Queen Elizabeth and her court.
Anybody who knows farm life knows that working and living on one if far better than any fancy gym. Pitching manure, stacking hay, carrying water buckets, etc. is the best cardio workout and makes weight lifting machines look like child’s play.
Aahh, how my life has changed and I love it. It went from the smelly city to wide open beautiful spaces. When I am having a bad day…I just spend a few moments with my ladies who are always happy to see me. Drug dealers trying to sell me crack cocaine to Dairy Goats eager to give me kisses and affection.
I now make my own butter, cheese, and soap. We drink the milk straight from the girls. I now raise my own meat and eggs. I remember the first time we sat down to a dinner where everything on the table was produced or grown or our farm. We all beamed with pride and that meal was far better than anything I ever bought in a store.
I sew my own quilts and blankets, knit my dishcloths, and make my own curtains. So yes, my life has changed…I might not be prepared for a visit from the Queen but I enjoy it a lot more than I ever thought I could. I am always broke, there is always something to be done, my house is a wreck, my clothes are dirty, and I still don’t have enough time in the day. But my life is more relaxed with beautiful views of mountains and wide open spaces, I actually know my kids and spend time with them, and I have more animals to love than I ever thought I would. This life might not be for everyone but as for me…it is heaven!!! Each day I thank God for blessing me with this gift of a small simple farm, rotten kids who drive me crazy (I love them but they do drive me insane), and a husband who works so hard to make sure that we have everything that we need. I’ll take my dirty jeans and unkempt house over your designer clothes and fancy kitchen gadgets any day! If the Queen stops for a visit…I’ll just hand her a pitch fork and direct her to the manure pile. J