About Me

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Denver, Colorado, United States

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Farm Girl At Heart

As the farmer who won the lottery said when asked what he was going to do with his winnings,
"Keep farming until it's all gone."

Yesterday I went for a drive from Cheyenne down to Greeley, CO.  I always take Hwy 85 because I enjoy passing through the little towns and small farms along the way.  As I passed one particularly cute farm I started thinking, "why do I love these places so much?"  I didn't have to ponder the question very long.........

The photo above is an artists rendering of my grandparents farm in Shawnee, KS.  I believe it was here that my love of the farm began.  As a child we would spend Sundays there having barbecues, playing horse shoes, and spending time with my LARGE extended family.  The chicken house (middle) was the hub of the activity.  It no longer housed chickens and was converted into the central gathering place.  There was a patio out back where Grandpa manned the grill, the kids could be watched playing, and the adults could gather, seated in heavy, iron, tractor seat chairs.  I wasn't into playing games with the other kids...I was the oldest (a very mature 5 year old) and preferred being with the adults. 

I remember, one Sunday, walking the farm with my Great Grandmother.  I have no idea what we talked except that she was passing some sort of knowledge on to me.  I do remember though, very well, walking through  the grape vines that were growing there and eating some of the dark purple grapes.  To this day when I see Concord grapes at the grocery store I have to buy them.  They are like tiny purple farm flashbacks.

My mother grew up on this farm and I loved hearing stories of all the animals that were once there.  The hogs my uncles' raised, the horses they boarded, the rooster that attacked my aunt...I loved going into the empty barn and imagining what it was like when it was filled with animals.  Since there were none left, I would climb up instead on a sawhorse and pretend it was a real horse!  I dreamed of owning a horse before I ever saw a real one.

The farmhouse was big (it had to be to house my grandparents and nine kids) and was reserved for the fancier winter gatherings, like Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Holidays there were amazing!  I had never seen so much food...the buffet was full, the table was full, there were "nibblies" spread throughout the whole house.  There was also family everywhere!  Every once in a while I'd have to sneak out to the front porch, for a little bit, to hide from a younger cousin that thought I was so mature and cool :)
Another farm that I visited as a child brings me fond memories as well.  My great aunt had a farm in Nebraska.  It was so peaceful there.  I remember going out to visit and being fascinated by following the chickens around and tossing them grain.  We gathered fresh strawberries growing in the garden and sat on the sun porch eating them with cream poured over the top, while drinking tea with mint leaves we'd picked, and watching a fox run across the backyard.  What's funny about that whole scene is I don't remember anyone else being there.  My parents?  Brother? Sisters?  I'm sure they were there, I don't think they drove to Nebraska and dropped me off but all I remember is the farm and how it made me feel.  It was the same feeling I had passing those farms on the way to Greeley.

I want to have that feeling all the time.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cowgirl Comes Alive

When I talked to Lewis the week before I told him about a cow carcass in the field behind my place.  He asked "does it still have the head on it?"  I said "yes".  He and I had the same thought...we wanted the skull for ranch decor.  I told him I thought it would  be cool on the fence post.
Lewis explained that he had gone to the person who's field he thought it was and asked if they would mind if he took it.  They said it wasn't their field but told him the people who own it are very old and let their son put cattle out there.  The son rarely comes out to check on them.  That carcass had been there over a year so Lewis decided it would be OK to go ahead and remove it.  He placed it on the fence post and said that would be the best place for it...at least until all the remaining hair etc. sloughed off. 
We chatted for a bit, he petted the dogs, and he parted saying "I'll leave you to enjoy the rest of your evening." I finished unloading our provisions (basically...dinner to cook on the grill, bottled water, and something warm and comfortable to sleep in) and fired up the grill.  Ranch night dinners are always the same, grilled chicken for the dogs (yes they're spoiled), steak and a foil packet of fresh veggies for me, and an adult beverage to wash it all down.  Finally, what camp out would be complete without roasted marshmallows for desert.  Patch LOVES them!

After enjoying our delicious dinner (everything tastes better outdoors) we all relaxed outside, our tummys full, our minds clear, and a gentle breeze refreshing us.  Just waiting to enjoy the sunset...

Once the daylight was gone we headed inside.  The high last night was supposed to be 50 degrees so I packed accordingly.  Layered in a t-shirt, sweatshirt, pajama bottoms, and 2 pairs of socks, I crawled under the covers with my two fur babies to read by candlelight before finally succumbing to sleep.  The only time my sleep was, temporarily, disturbed was right before sunrise by coyotes howling in the distance.

As usual, Patch, was the first to rise.  He woke me in his usual manner...nuzzling me and licking my face...his way of saying "I'm hungry woman, get up and fix me some food, I'm withering away here!"  We all got up and headed outside for a walk...I didn't even change out of my pajamas...I LOVE that there's no one around to say "hey, what's with the lady walking around in her pajamas?"  As we walked I listened to the birds that drew me to this place.

It was still pretty cold out and I was not in the mood to build a fire, just to make coffee, so I loaded the car, said goodbye to Little House, and we headed for home.   It was still early when we started our trip home and I saw much more animal activity than I usually do during my midday visits.  I passed 3 mule deer grazing in one of the freshly tilled fields.  Two jackrabbits darted out of the field of sunflowers (love those ears!).  There was the lonely Pronghorn (pictured above) just past the sunflowers who kindly stood still while I stopped to take his picture.  While I was taking his picture 7 more ran across the road in front of my car and he followed, disappearing into the horizon.  I also counted 3 Redtail Hawks. 

Seems I'm not the only creature that loves it here.