Grit Blogs > Loagan Ranch

Raising Country Kids in a Modern Society

By Elizabeth Furry


Tags: Rural kids, Country kids,

I come from the mindset of “you either lived on a farm or wished you did” – growing up I was on the “wished I did” side. I was raised in a new suburban neighborhood surrounded by farms and ranches, and in my heart I knew I was supposed to be farm kid, no doubt about it. I was supposed to be in 4-H clubs showing my prized calf or perfectly shaped pumpkin, and oh how I envied the FFA members and their blue corduroy jackets, but alas I was stuck in suburbia. Instead of big oak trees to swing from, I had a perfectly mowed yard with plain pitiful excuses for trees that wouldn't see a tire swing for at least 15 years. I knew back then that when I grew up I was gonna be a rural kid – or at least my kids would be. And that's exactly what happened.

rural kids

We have managed to raise three totally countrified daughters in a day and age of the Internet, video games and electronics of all sorts. For 18 years our days have consisted of feeding the stock, mucking stalls, gathering eggs, growing gardens, working on 4-H projects, hauling horses to shows, driving old pick up trucks and playing in the dirt. When most kids spend their summers at the movies, the mall or vacationing, country kids are making big plans for the local Elk's Club Carnival that is setting up at the park on the edge of town – but only if the ranch chores are done. Money earned at a homemade lemonade stand goes towards the cost of ride tickets, corn dogs and cotton candy. And that's the way its always been in the country.

Country Girl Jessica

One summer our girls had some cousins from the city come for a visit. The city cousins were hesitant about the visit and had been heard telling Grandma, “Them are rural kids!” They were afraid they would be bored with no satellite TV (gasp!) or video games. At first, upon the city cousins arrival, it was a little quiet and awkward. I thought, “this is gonna be a long weekend,” and I could tell my girls were thinking the same thing with their eyes big as saucers looking at me. “Why don't you show them the horses?” I say, because as you know not everyone owns a horse! Who needs satellite? From then on I barely saw the kids all weekend. Horses, chickens, rabbits, ducks, oh my! Forts to build, dry creekbeds to explore, bugs to catch and redneck rollercoaster rides (our version of 4-wheelin' in big ol trucks) – who could resist the rural life? Not to mention topping off each night with a trip down to the General Store (and yes it literally is still called a general store) for ice cream and candy.When it came time for the city cousins to leave, they were a little sad, but to this day they still talk about how much fun they had. I know they will look back on that summer and remember how cool it was to be a “rural kid” for a short while.

My girls are all teenagers now but still spend the majority of their time on the ranch working with the horses, wrenching on pickups, and sitting around the firepit at night with the family gazing at the stars. Going “into town” is still a pretty big deal even though the town seems to be getting a little closer to us. But no matter, “us” rural kids will still be found roaming the town in our muddy boots and jeans shopping for chicken scratch, halters, lead ropes and the newest line of Cruel Girl clothes. Ain't country life grand?

Loagan and her horse

tommy
3/22/2011 8:38:29 PM

You have 3 beautiful daughters. Don't let no guys treat them wrong. They deserve the best! Remember, a guys worst nightmare is a mad mother with a 12 gauge!


skyforme_2
12/20/2009 6:07:37 PM

Found this blog in Cappers magazine and will be following it. I grew up in the "sticks" riding horses and driving tractors. I really have an appreciation for it now that I am an adult with kids of my own. As I type this I am doing my best to get back out to the country and try to give my kids what I had. The experience is priceless....


glendaleaz
7/2/2009 1:53:46 PM

As the likely deliverer of some of those very same city kids you described I have to say that the country life has left a lasting impression on them. While none of them really considers the country life something that they would interested in long term, the visit with their cousins left them with memories that they will forever look back on. As a parent I appreciated the opportunity to expose them to some things they cannot find here in suburbia. Funny how city kids can be so skiddish around animals. Here you can't just walk out and pet a horse on the nose and what on earth are you supposed to do with chickens? I say we are fortunate still to have 400 acres adjacent to our neighborhood that is still in hay and corn or cotton and broccoli. Keeps me half way sane even if we get our broccoli at the local Safeway and have no need in the world for a bale of alfalfa hay. You are very blessed to have been able to raise your 3 as you have. I almost wish I had it to do over again. I too would bail on the city and make my way to Rural America somewhere. As the calendar pages turn 3 years and we are free to move about the country! And We Will! Thank you for sharing your blogs. They are not only entertaining, but much cheaper than long distance and much more charming than Skype. That is until we can make it up there again. Someday anyway...


glendaleaz
7/2/2009 1:53:00 PM

As the likely deliverer of some of those very same city kids you described I have to say that the country life has left a lasting impression on them. While none of them really considers the country life something that they would interested in long term, the visit with their cousins left them with memories that they will forever look back on. As a parent I appreciated the opportunity to expose them to some things they cannot find here in suburbia. Funny how city kids can be so skiddish around animals. Here you can't just walk out and pet a horse on the nose and what on earth are you supposed to do with chickens? I say we are fortunate still to have 400 acres adjacent to our neighborhood that is still in hay and corn or cotton and broccoli. Keeps me half way sane even if we get our broccoli at the local Safeway and have no need in the world for a bale of alfalfa hay. You are very blessed to have been able to raise your 3 as you have. I almost wish I had it to do over again. I too would bail on the city and make my way to Rural America somewhere. As the calendar pages turn 3 years and we are free to move about the country! And We Will! Thank you for sharing your blogs. They are not only entertaining, but much cheaper than long distance and much more charming than Skype. That is until we can make it up there again. Someday anyway...


staci_2
7/1/2009 9:31:29 AM

Loved your post. I was fortunate enough to be one of those kids that grew up in the country riding horses, growing gardens, showing 4-H projects in the county fair, and playing in the dirt. That was until my teens - Daddy was laid off and we had to move from our country life, six states away, and to suburbia. Ever since then I'd been trying to move back to the country and live that country life that I missed so much. A few years ago I up and did it. I packed up and moved to start a whole new life in the country. I am now living in rural Georgia and engaged to the farmer of my dreams. I am here to stay and will hopefully one day raise a few country farm kids of my own.


dawn_2
6/29/2009 11:29:48 PM

You made me realize I was one of those the city cousins coming to spend the summer at Grandpa and Grandma's. What great memories I have of that time with my cousins doign chores and relizing I was suppose ot be a country girl not a city girl! I hated when I seen my parents car coming to pick me up. Someday I will leave this small town that is still to big and have my dream of a small farm! I loved your article and will follow this blog!!


nebraska dave
6/29/2009 12:52:40 PM

Elizabeth, it certainly is good to hear that there still a sense of values being taught to kids in this country. I personally learned much about who I became from farm experiences. Although I didn’t get the privilege of spending my entire childhood on the farm, I did get to spend three month summers with my Aunt and Uncle until the age of 13. Work ethics were definitely formed during those years that have lasted my entire life. Working hard but having fun doing the task was top of the list of things learned from the farm. I really feel that all should experience the farm life just as Elizabeth explained in her blog entry about the visitation of the city cousins. One thing that farm life will promote is relationships with family members, neighbors, and the feed store. Most of my adult life has been spent living in the city with the constant dream of returning to the rural life. As my life has reached the retirement years, I must say the blend of country and city has given me a view of life that truly has me convinced both can be enjoyed. Through out my years I have never lost the urge to dig in the dirt and to watch things grow. It has been reduced to just 3 tomato plants, a few pepper plants, and a few containers of flowers on my poor man’s living patio. I consider it the best part of an education to have been born and brought up in the country. – Louisa May Alcott.


tina_2
6/28/2009 9:36:01 PM

Love this blog. I was the one on the other side of the fence. I have the best memories of being a kid on the farm! The simple life, our youth needs that.


sam_2
6/28/2009 1:24:55 PM

Loved the article and the pics...Made me want to move to the country immediately just so I could join in on the fun! I'm more of a coastal gal than a farm/ranch one, but think it is awesome that your girls are growing up without coming to think Internet, TV, cell phones, IPODS etc. are essentials for survival! Nice to haves for sure, but I'm guessing they know the difference... Will be coming back to follow this blog for sure!


linda b
6/28/2009 9:05:31 AM

What a wonderful story, and in today's day & age it is refreshing to hear that your daughters are growing up "close to the land". Growing up I was taught to plant gardens and can and make bread, etc. We didn't have horses, but we did have chicken coops and grew just about everything we ate. Its good to know that these traditions continue.


mardell lamb_1
6/27/2009 9:38:28 AM

What a great story! I'll be following your blog for sure. Looking foward to hearing more!


pat walker
6/27/2009 6:15:25 AM

Really enjoyed reading this!!! I,too, am strictly a "city girl" But, nothing is more beautiful than the country!!!!!


marnie
6/26/2009 8:10:54 PM

This blog is one I will follow. Love the writing and how the story is told...feel like I am right there on the ranch with you. Beautiful pictures!


cindyb_2
6/26/2009 7:46:39 PM

Well I have always felt akin to the country life. The peace and solitude it can bring is wonderous. I've never been afraid of hard and certainly do my share as a suburb gal. I have often felt I was born in the wrong era. Envy is not good but I reckin' I feel some after reading your story!


sharon_2
6/26/2009 7:16:44 PM

Amazing photos!!! Your life sounds so busy and 'full'! Sounds like yours is a blog to follow. So glad I found you!!!


sue_1
6/26/2009 5:43:14 PM

I can totally relate to your article. I too felt like I should have been a country girl instead of a city slicker. There was a brief time I was able to be a country girl, but now I live vicariously through others who are - I will be checking in often!


kristendesimone@mac.com
6/26/2009 2:38:23 PM

Well, I am a city girl through and through and though I don't ever see me living a rural life, there is so much about it that is absolutely charming to me! And I love to visit!!! GREAT article!!!


peoplehorsepet
6/26/2009 1:20:24 PM

Keep up the great work..