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I live in rural western NY, a county known for having more cows than people. I love to cook & bake. I'm mostly a 'comfort food' sort of gal but once in a while I stretch my tastebuds and try something new.
I have 4 kids - 3 are grown now but one preteen (ack!) still home. I never know for sure how many people will be here for dinner but I've started putting my foot down a little and have had a few more RSVP's for meal time. Funny - PB&J when everyone is eating grilled steak will do that to a guy
We have 5 ½ horses, our sweet little pony Heather is the ½. Full of mischief like a good pony should be. We've had a few chickens now & then but I don't have the heart to raise our own beef. I have a terrible habit of turning everything into a pet. Makes it hard to butcher that way! LOL
I love to garden in the Spring but to be perfectly honest - by the end of July I'm sick of weeds and get a little whiny! It always sounds like a great idea at first though. Love the jars & jars of preserved harvest though. So much work but so much satisfaction!
So....Your turn! Tell me about you!
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Good question, Sue. If you had asked me to define myself five years ago, being a "country woman" would not have been my answer. I would have said "I'm a mother, a grandmother, and I have traveled the world as a military officer's wife, and I have been fortunate enough to have had many challenging and rewarding jobs." But then, I joined the Taste of Home community, began subscribing to Country Woman magazine, and after reading the articles, I also began to recognize some familiar feelings, to say to myself that I recall doing that, or that I did that, too. And, so I realized that the old saying is true, " you can take the boy (um, girl) out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl."
Today I live in a large city, Tampa, and being 76, I am no longer one to get down on my knees and play in the dirt, but I still follow the same general, basic philosphy of the country born and raised child.
My childhood was fraught with the challenges of WWII, when many families were facing financial hardships, when everything we ate came from our own resources. My grandparents owned a small, working farm outside of Detroit, where I went to live every summer from my birth until I was fourteen. I learned early to drive a tractor, to get up with the chickens and to be in the fields all day long, to harvest enough not just for our family but to sell at the road side stand at the end of our driveway. I also remember being able to jump ditches, to climb trees to see the top of the world, to play in the hay loft of the barn until it burned down. To walk a mile, barefoot, to go swimming in Lake St. Claire, and to hitchhike back home, so sunburned I hurt all over.
These are the best memories of my life. I was taught the work ethic, the love of working the fields, the hardships of bringing in the harvest, but the glorious taste of fresh produce, eaten within minutes of its fruition.
My grandmother also taught me to sew... on a treadle Singer... this gave me the basics to forge ahead to make all my childrens clothes, my drapes, pillow cases, you name it, to include the bridal dresses of both my daughters. No one but a true country woman would accept that challenge.
Today, being a country woman is not really my "life style," but it is in my blood. I do have an abundance of greenery around my home, lots of plants and bird baths that attract the wildlife... and mostly I watch from my back screened patio. And, I look forward to reading the next Country Woman, telling me once again that being a country woman is being the best there is to be. Thank you for letting me tell this story. It brought tears to my eyes as I was writing. But, also joy to my heart.
♥ Life is a song, sing it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a dream, realize it, Life is a sacrifice, offer it. Life is love, enjoy it. And, life is cooking, eat it. (Sai Baba & Judy)♥
♥ Judy Batson, Volunteer Field Editor, Taste of Home, 2009 ♥ Contest Winner, Country Woman, 2011♥ Meet me at Cooking for Two.
Thought your question was interesting and since I have some time this morning, here goes. I live in rural Illinois. My husband and I have off farm jobs but we own some ground and still grain farm-wheat, corn and soybeans. We raised 4 boys who are all married, they spent their summers baling hay, detasseling, walking corn and showing 4H projects at local fair, and all have a job that relates to their farm background. We have 4, soon to be 5 grandchildren.
Growing up we milked cows, raise hogs and chickens to eat and sold eggs and raised corn, beans, wheat and oats and lots of hay. We didn't take a lot of vacations since cows had to be milked twice a day and like us, all our neighbors were busy so we didn't have anyone to take over so we could get away. Spent a lot of summer time walking corn and baling hay and our reward afterwards was a watermelon that had been chilled in the milk cooler. Fall brought silo filling and harvest. We always butchered a hog and a beef during the winter. Of course Mom always had two big gardens and there always seemed something needed to be done hoeing weeds, ridging potatoes, picking green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers etc. Then of course we spent a lot time in the kitchen canning and freezing.
When I get my Country Woman magazine (Mom subscribed when it first came out) I usually hurry up and finish my jobs so I can sit and read it and know what other "country women" are doing.
Nanron that's awesome! I'm glad you took the time to share
My son still does 4H - he loves it!
Now that it rained (just a litte) and got us out of the wheat field for the day I have time to comment. We live and work on our farm, We raise wheat, corn, and soybeans when the weather allows us to. Right now we are harvesting a really fantastic wheat crop. Last year we lost our corn and soybeans to drought. That makes it really bad because you have all the expense of putting the crop in the ground.
We live in a very rural area, our closest large city is 100 miles away. We have 1 local grocery store plus walmart.
Sue, I also think a garden sounds great, untill the weeds start growing and its just really to hot to take care of it. So I try and buy fresh produce from the Amish family that comes to town with all their garden produce and great prices.
We have our son and 2 other hired men working for us. If we aren't in the field I fix lunch for everyone, so mornings are spent working on lunch most days. Its summer so 5 (almost 6 yr. old) grandson is usually here with his daddy, learning how to farm. His 4 yr. old sister is here at least one day a week.
Youngest daughter is in college and trying to find a job in the city.
It is almost time to plant the soybeans. Then in August the corn should be ready for harvest. We hope to have sweet corn by July 4th. That is the only thing we have since we can plant it in the regular corn field.
KansasDebb Right now we are harvesting a really fantastic wheat crop.
That's so good to hear! You folks in the mid-west have had a rough go of it for sometime now thanks to Mother Nature!
I chuckle at your hope of sweet corn by the 4th - here the rule is that our corn is knee high by the 4th of July! We just planted a small block of sweet corn in the garden last weekend. I try hard to pick a short duration corn, I found a 63 day version. Our growing season is just so short here.
Sue, if you can plant Ambrosia sweet corn seed try it, it is amazing. Not sure of the growing season for it. We get ours from our seed corn supplier, he always gives us 5 lbs.
Thanks Deb - I'll look for it!
I grew up on a small farm with 4 older brothers and 1 older sister. Growing up on a farm in the country was never boring, there was always something to do, or something that needed doing. We used our imaginations and spent hours outside playing. My love was horses, and I spent as much time as possible riding my horse through the woods on old logging trials.
When we were small, there was usually an abundance of relatives and cousins who came to visit, esp. on the weekends.
I grew up and married a boy from a neighboring town. We have raised our 4 children in the house we built on a piece of land from the farm I grew up on. Right now we have 2 horses, 4 chickens and 1 rooster , 1 cat, and my daughter's pet pygmy African hedgehog. Which by the way is very adorable :)
I also help my elderly father each day with his flock of chickens, as he is not able to get out as much now, but doesn't want to part with his chickens or the fresh eggs yet.
Our oldest daughter graduated college and is now teaching english in another country. She loves everyday of living and experiencing another culture . Our son works full time, and our two youngest ( teen daughters) are homeschooling and carrying on the family tradition with me ( from my dad's family ) of learning and making Native American baskets.
There is always something to do, yard work , gardening , getting wood ready for winter, seeing to the animals, seeing wildlife , and watching birds that come to the feeders.
Hello, Valash.... and welcome to the Community and especially to the Country Woman forum.. Your story is so inspiring, and it is good to know that family traditions are still alive and well in this great country of ours. We hope you visit here often and contribute with stories, recipes, hint and tips and just good old chit-chat in one of the conversational forums.
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