Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Farm Girls

When I was a little girl, I desperately wanted to live on a farm. I grew up in northern New Jersey in one of the towns along the Rockaway River. It was the big town for the local area - one where immigrants migrated to because there were good jobs in the form of factories making all kinds of things. The town was and is still dotted with brick factory buildings although sadly most of the manufacturing moved to the South in the 1960's, when I was a child.

A farm wasn't in the cards for my sisters and I and our dreams of having a pony in the back yard to ride quickly evaporated when The Mayor put the kabash on a letter my sister Lynn and I wrote to him. I still remember the headline that was in the local paper close to Christmas in 1970 - "Mayor Hedden Plays Scrooge." My sister Lynn and I were on the front page of the paper with our letter to The Mayor and the story told how Mayor Hedden had told us that even though we had a big enough yard for a pony, no livestock was allowed in Dover.


My pony dreams were demolished but one thing I did learn is that writing letters to important people sometimes....

A. Gets attention and an answer.
B. Can get you on the front page of the local paper.

C. Press releases still work.


I am still writing letters and I am constantly astounded when I do receive an answer from someone, especially in this age of instant communication that disappears into the ether. I am trying to teach Julia to speak her mind with the written word. By the number of fan letters she has written to Miley Cyrus, I think I am getting through.


I have once again digressed. So sorry. You are in for a treat today. On Sunday, my family and I went for a walk up the road. I had an ulterior motive - I needed a decent photo of an upcoming downloadable knitting pattern. I dressed Julia in her pretty pink coat, plopped the hat on her and off we all went. It was a slow walk because Mr. Hannah The Cat came along and as things go, there was a lot of chasing after him so that he would "continue the journey." The photos turned out great (thank you Julia) and I can't wait to share them with all of you whenever the pattern gets done. Don't hold your breath though.

We got about a quarter mile up the road..... and got way laid at our neighbors who were out in the yard doing chores and enjoying the sunny day and fresh fallen snow. Kayla is the daughter of our neighbors and she and her partner Tom are developing quite a nice herd of cows, both beef and dairy. I love to visit the cows - they are such large lumbering creatures - slow and steady and very photogenic.

I started messing with my camera and looked over at the cows. There was Julia and Kayla standing and staring at the cows, deep in conversation.

I was in hysterics (silent ones, albeit) because I thought they looked like a couple of old farmers talking about their livestock. Wouldn't you agree? The girls turned towards me laughing.

Kayla is 21 years old and one of the nicest people I know. She loves her cows and takes the best care of them. I asked her if she might like to be in a photo with "the stocking hat" which was the project of the day. "Oh, sure" she said, and on went the hat. Then she climbed under the fence and started conversing with her boy Ferdinand, who isn't a bull anymore.

Ferdinand was de-horned when he was younger so he wouldn't be too much trouble to be around. His horns grew back but only one has that classic curved shape to it. The other is a little stub.

Kayla asked me if I might want to have a photo of her riding Ferdinand. "Oh sure, that would be great." She climbed on up onto him via the bale of hay he was eating.

And then a sweet little lovefest ocurred - Kayla hugging and scratching Ferdinand. It was priceless and Ferdinand was in ecstacy.

Then Kayla asked me if I wanted a photo of her standing on Ferdinand. She said she had only tried it a couple times but she would be happy to try it again. "Oh sure, sounds like fun," said the girl from New Jersey. And on up she went. Isn't that just too much? How fun. Ferdinand just stood there, quiet and calm and barely moving as Kayla performed her trick of the afternoon, smiling the biggest smile she could.

We had a good little talk about what a great steer Ferdinand is. Not to be outshown, over came "Mama," Kayla's milk cow. By then Julia had climbed under the electric wire and was communing with the cows.

I was smiling the rest of the afternoon. It made me so happy that The Farmer and I are living where we are, giving this great farm and animal experience to Julia. I'm pretty sure she won't be living on a farm when she grows up but at least she will have these memories all her life.

When I was sorting through some folders on my computer the other day I found some photos of Julia with our first pigs back in 2003. I just love these.


They show Julia's joie de vivre and love of animals and her natural ability to be around them without the animals running off and being skittish.

Julia was five years old then and constantly covered with mud. Oh, how I would have loved to have a childhood full of farm animals living in my backyard. But now I seem to be living that dream through my daughter and sharing it here with all of you. We do not aim for perfection, we make it up as we go.

I feel so fortunate. Thank you Julia and thank you to My Farmer for bringing me here to this place on the planet and in my life.

28 comments:

Kim said...

Terribly sweet post. I am touched and envious and happy for you, and can easily imagine myself loving Ferdinad,too. You are so blessed.
I get a strong feeling of warm contentment reading this post.

Lynn said...

I love your blog (and your designs)!

Deborah said...

What a nice way to start the day. Friendly animal photos! We were in Ireland recently and when I got out of the car to take photos of the cows, they all ran up to the fence and posed! We even had an entertaining little pony talk to us and chase some sheep! Ferdinand rocks! Cute hat, too!

Tari said...

I too married a farm boy 33 years ago, me being a town girl always wanted to live on a farm or at least in the country. My mom's relatives were farmers. My grandpa farmed with draft horses. So I too got my hearts desire, we live on a small homestead with sheep, goats a pig now and then and some chickens. When we were first married and farming a very large hog operation in Indiana our neighbor had a Hereford bull named Ferdinand or at least that's what we called him, gentle as a lamb.

Judy @ daily yarns said...

You have the life I dream of. Thanks for sharing it with us all.

gale (she shoots sheep shots) said...

Great post, and the Ferdinand & Kayla hat shots are so obviously one of those magic moments when it all comes together.

Bonnie said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you!

Kate said...

Those pictures are fantastic! Makes me want to head out to the country - as I sit in my house in the city with my selection of animals (just two cats and a dog - how I would love to have a yard full of animals! and a barn!)

Leslie said...

Thank you for sharing. I hope that someday you will put together a book about Julia's life on the farm and its surroundings. It wouldn't be for patterns, but for the stories that go with the photos and the progression of this special and lovely girl through life.

And Mr. Hannah the Cat? I love the name :)

Anonymous said...

Awesome photos!!! Love the cows and hats!

Kat said...

Wonderful! This post brought a smile to my face today. (And please use the photo of Kayla standing on the bull in the pattern.)

Joyce said...

I loved reading your post. We used to ride our bikes to my Grandpa's pasture. He had hereferds - red and white. Mostly in the summer they wold be up grazing on the mountain range. Every fall my Grandpa would do the round up and bring them down to the farm and the pasture for the winter.

Michele in Maine said...

Thank you for sharing your blessings with us!

sharon said...

And thank you Kristin for sharing your life with us.

Wool Enough said...

Wonderful, wonderful pictures. Thank you!

Suzanne said...

I love this post. Julia is a lucky little girl.

I spent a little bit of time on my Aunt and Uncles dairy farm in VT over the years. Unfortunately, it is now gone and I do miss the peace and quiet of being up there. I do not miss the chasing of the heifers in the manure pit though. That wasn't fun.

knittingrid said...

Aw, you've got me all welled-up. What a wonderful post - it's got everything: humour, sentiment, animals, nature, comes from (and goes straight to) the heart. Thanks for a sweet moment in a long day.

Anonymous said...

This is just wonderful.
I love the pictures of all of the animals...it takes me back to when we knew nothing about farming. Hello..in starting a nursery with young boys,let's keep the grass down with two goats, three sheep that morphed into close to 200 sheep, three jersey milk cows...that were milked, chickens and pigs. It was wonderful.
I love the photos of Julia when she was tiny with the pigs. I love the corner shot of the dog.
ellen

Turtle said...

what wonderful pics! and a great story too. I started out on a small daity farm in northern VT , moved to a small trailer park with a farm attached in NH, and so now wish for a small farm again, city boy hubby still not yet convinced, but i'm working on it! enjoy, many of us are so jealous!! (smile)

Anonymous said...

Fun! Fun! Fun!

--elizaduckie

turtlewoman said...

Kristin, You have shared some wonderful pictures with us in the past but this time you struck pay dirt; this set of pics along with this post are absolutely priceless.

thank you so much for sharing.

Franny said...

The pictures of Jules are great Kristin. Also, everything was very well written. Congratulations on doing a great job.

Looking forward to spending X-mas with you guys... I arrive monday.

Lots of love,

Franny

Nerm said...

I just had to comment on this post. I, too, would love to live in the country and have sheep. It's been a long time dream of mine; which unfortunately, due to the "tough economic times", will probably never come to fruition. I'm glad I can live vicariously thru your blog. Love the pictures and the hat! Nerm

phyllis howe said...

"We do not aim for perfection, we make it up as we go."

This thought will be with me for a very long time - hopefully. Thank you for giving me a valuable perspective - you have lifted my spirit and my vision with it.
All good things,
Phyllis Howe
PS: It warms my heart to think of the life you have created with and for your family.

Okate said...

Lovely post, Kristin. The pictures are priceless. I know mud is a fact of life on ranch or farm, but Julia adds a lovely twist.

I look forward to future farm life posts.

Penny said...

What beautiful pictures and writing. Also the great gifts both Julia and Kayla possess are wonderful and warming too. Thank you for sharing ...

Ellen said...

I think what is most lovely is your gratitude.

Maggie said...

What a lovely story, have been a fan of your designwork for many years and now am a fan of your writing. Please keep the wonderful stories coming. I'll be back!