September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

Once a farm girl ...

By Kelli [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

I kind of lead a double life: I am a freelance writer a couple of days a week, and a licensed massage therapist a few more days, and of course every day I am a full-time mom and spouse.
So sometimes I leave for work wearing nice dressy clothes heading to the spa or chiropractic offices were I work. Other days I choose clothing based on how well it would deal the type of stains which are induced by being around cows, and dressing in layers because I never really know if I will be doing an interview in a cozy country kitchen or leaning against a silo. Practical shoes are a must for both jobs.
One of my regular massage clients recently asked me about why we chose to live in the country rather than having all the convenience of being in town. I was at first surprised by this because I couldn't understand that this person didn't somehow know I am a country girl.
I told him I was raised on a family dairy farm in Green County, Wisconsin. I told him I grew up driving tractors, feeding calves and helping with milking when needed. I've played in the cowyard for hours with my knee-high rubber boots and unloaded many loads of hay. I was a Juda Dairy Queen and later named Green County Dairy Princess.
My client was in a state of astonishment; he said he never would have thought that.
In my mind, so much of who I am comes from my farming background. I know that dry weather can mean so much more than a brown lawn in front of your house. Having a good work ethic comes naturally to me; I would not let down an employer by not showing up for work any more than my parents would have skipped milking the cows just because they didn't feel like it.
My main playmates as a child were barn kittens. I dressed them up in doll clothes and then pushed the poor creatures in my tire swing that hung from a pine tree in our front yard. Some weeks during the summer the only time we would go anywhere was to church on Sunday, with a stop at Farm and Fleet afterwards and a meal at a restaurant before we went back home.
I belonged to 4-H and as I got older switched to FFA. I showed dairy cattle from the age of 9 to when I graduated from high school.  
I still can identify smells from the farm with my eyes closed: the tangy sourness of silage, the acrid smell of the cleaners and acids in the milkhouse, the earthy smell of twine string, and the extreme mixed smell of cotton candy, sawdust, straw and manure that you find at a county fair.
Each person in this world is who they are because of the experiences they have had in their lives. We are the sum of every thing we have ever seen, heard, said, expressed and felt. And I am a farm girl at heart.
I know where I live now is kind of a funny farm with our chickens, dogs, horses and cats; but I hope my children will always consider themselves country kids and develop some of the same positive personality traits that come from living on a farm. They have learned that your chores have to be done no matter what, and that death is part of the circle of life.
I am obviously not alone in my sentiment of once you are a farm kid, you are always a farm kid. When Harry Truman was recalling his presidency, he said, "As long as I have been in the White House, I can't help waking at 5 a.m. and hearing the old man at the foot of the stairs calling and telling me to get out and milk the cows."
We are part of the land and the land is part of us. We sometimes depend on animals and sometimes the animals depend on us. Sometimes nature is cruel, sometimes it is amazingly generous. It is all part of who we are.[[In-content Ad]]


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