A Real Country Girl Would Have Known This Stuff

| 9/5/2011 9:22:40 AM

A photo of Paula EbertThis is an essay I wrote just after coming to the farm:

Sitting on the western-facing porch at the end of a fruitful day, I am seized by the desire to explain what is like to be here. I don't know if I can adequately describe the mixture of intense work and peace. Oh, it is 6 p.m. and I can hear the bells from the St. Joseph Church in Flush, nearly 2 miles away, ringing as they do every day at 6 a.m., 6 p.m. and noon. It is remarkable to me that I can hear the bells from that far away, and we are just off of a major north-south road. Rush hour in the morning consists of about a half hour of a car every 3 minutes or so, instead of now, a car goes by about every 5 to 6 minutes, and later, once an hour.

So, there's a lot of silence. Broken by the sound of ... the boy and the dog, playing; birds singing; frogs beginning to sound out. A hummingbird buzzes by; flies are pretty much everywhere and the occasional biting fly adds some adventure to weeding the garden.

Then, a tractor goes by, with a farmer out industriously farming. Wheat harvest is underway in earnest, and the men are working as soon as it is dry enough to get into the fields and the wheat is dry enough to be harvested. It makes for a long day for the men, and I see the frustration of being at the mercy of the weather, and trying to make the right decision about the timing of tasks.

I've been tasked with little things, mainly that require driving, which Paul cannot do yet. We won't talk about the first time I mis-understood the nature of my task, and left my husband in the quarry; and the next time, when I got turned around heading for a field that I'd never been to before, but I did finally find him. Cell phone coverage is pretty spotty, but I did manage to hear "You can't miss me, I'm standing in the middle of the road." He was right.

Now, I see a woman driving a truck down the road with an earnest look on her face, and I wonder what task she's been sent on.

This leads me to the rather unexpected and public nature of the farmyard. I look out, there's someone driving through. Oh, those are the turkey hunters, I heard in an earlier visit; now, it's someone to look at the beans, or my husband is sharing a piece of farm equipment with a neighbor. They just pull in, hook on and leave. Or the gravel truck, someone drives in, the car disgorges a passenger, who hopes in the gravel truck and drives off. OK. Or, people think nothing of driving by, knocking and saying "I heard I can buy a bale of straw here." Yup. I go out, collect their $3, they load the straw and off they go. This was most confusing to me initially. Am I expected to go out if someone drives up like I would if someone was wandering around my yard in the city? I decided no, particularly early in the a.m. Now, I only go if they knock. I guess a "real" farm girl would know this stuff.

Maybe there is a book in this for me "A Real Farm Girl Would Know This Stuff."

… And I’m still getting the hang of it!

The house in the spring 

Nebraska Dave
9/6/2011 9:06:56 PM

Paula, country life is indeed quite different than city life. You would think that country life would be more isolated but just the opposite is the case. More likely than not more country neighbors are known than city neighbors. I know I can't go more than each side and across the street with neighbors that are really known. However, when I went to my uncle's farm for the summer during my teen years, it seemed that her knew neighbors for miles around his place. Many of them he had grown up with. I'm sure you will catch on to the slower pace in short order. Have a great country day.

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