Hey, Girlfriend!

❀ Making the World a Brighter Place One Friendship at a Time

I love being able to have a cup of tea with my girlfriend across the street, just a few short steps away; and connecting with neighbors throughout the week.  I am also grateful for the many conveniences city life affords.   The bigger the city, the more energized I feel.  But there is a farm girl not so deep within me.

My father is a farmer.  He raises cattle, horses and timber.

horses and cows

He used to breed Blue Heelers, too

Maggie and Daddy

The last of the Blue Heelers, precious Maggie.

As a kid, I would practice different mounts (mostly straddle vaults) on my sister Amy’s Shetland Pony and ride it through the creek.  We built hay forts in the barn, camped in the woods, searched for and found Indian arrow heads, fished in top-secret fishing spots, jumped from a rope swing into the swimming hole and rode our horses bareback through the woods.

 

Our parents divorced when we were young.  Whenever we would go to our dad’s, our mom would meticulously pack for us, sending matching outfits and hair accessories.  We wore whatever was in our suitcase in combos of comfiness.  Most days, I doubt we combed our hair or matched our clothes.  We’d pretty much roll out of bed and go!

 

When my sister and I were little, we loved haying the pastures with our dad.  During the long hot summer days of July, we would ride leaning against the tractor’s fenders, fighting over whose turn it was to steer.

A haying relic from days gone byHaying relic

One of the hay fields was near a tiny market where, at noon, Amy and I would buy Eskimo Bars.  We’d lie on the grass in the shade, under the bed of the hay trailer, gorging our tiny tummies and overdosing on sugar.

 

I am thankful for those early days of freedom, creativity and lack of self consciousness.  They set me up for a wonderful life.

 

My wild horse, Popcorn, visiting the backyard of our house in town.  In hindsight, my mom must have wondered what my dad was thinking!  He was 25 or 26 years old at the time.  I was 4.  This was probably the day I was bucked off and traumatized.  

filename-1

Riding bare back and bare foot with full control of the mane!😉

 

11 thoughts on “You Can’t Take the Farm out of the City Girl

  1. Sarah Phillipps says:

    I love this! The country is so good for the soul, not too overstimulating and artificial, like the city can get sometimes. I think, especially for kids, the freedom, endless exploring, the connection with nature and the space to hear their own thoughts, are all extremely valuable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with everything you said, Sarah! You would know! You were not only raised on the farm, you have raised your kids in a similar environment. You could write a novel, while I can only write a post! ❤️😊

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  2. Amy Westrick says:

    We really were lucky kids to have experienced all that freedom to roam, explore, be creative and carefree while visiting our daddy. I must say, when your story came to an end, I said to myself, “that’s it?”. 😉 You took some great photos capturing daddy and the farm (one of his dearest loves)! Thanks for the memories, sis! Love you! 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey, Sister Amy! I didn’t want to bore our Girlfriends with too many details!

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  4. Patty Kendall says:

    Melissa….are you kidding?!, I want more details!!!! you lucky girl, what a true blessing to grow up in the country. I always dreamed of having a horse but lived in the suburbs. Luckily I had a girlfriend who had a small farm and horses, it was the best time when I was invited to spend the weekend. Wouldn’t you know I would marry a country boy who grew up on a farm and had his own horse. Similar stories to yours. I just live vicariously through him. I would not be bored with more girlfriend 😉

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    1. Patty, Mel asked I resppond for her. She is on vacation, but will get back to you! xo

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    2. Hi Girlfriend Patty! I feel fortunate to have experienced living in town and on the farm. We always had the farm, but I was mostly raised in town.

      I definitely feel shaped by the farm, it taught me to think outside the box. Both of my parents are creative, but I think living on a farm encourages a type of creativity that is unique. For instance, I am recalling the time my dad brought several dozen baby chicks home before he had a chicken house. He kept them in one of the farmhouse’s upstairs bedrooms. I am pretty sure my clean and tidy mother would have never let that happen if they had still been married and were living in that house!

      My love for construction and architecture was fostered through hay fort building. We would climb the hay bales all the way up to the ceiling in our very tall hay barn. Then we would design palaces with stairways and rooms and furniture constructed completely out of hay bales. Our dad did the heavy lifting as my sister Amy and I told him where we wanted the bales to go. Amy and I competed over whose palace was the grandest. Then with a big stash of candy and pop, from our dad’s sporting goods store, we would set up house and spend the night. Part of the adventure was avoiding the critters that lived in the barn, like garter snakes and mice. Sometimes the hay bales would not be stacked tightly together and we would fall through holes and get roughed up.

      I also had farm experiences in town. There was the time my dad brought my wild appaloosa to stay in our back yard. And my bff from birth, Pooh Bear (Nancy), lived in the country where she raised goats to show at the fair (the thought cracks me up… you did show goats, didn’t you, Pooh?).

      Pooh and I loved to play detective. When we were about 8, we had a jail in the woods. The walls were formed by standing and fallen trees. One of the fallen trees was the jail’s check-in desk. It had a big chunk of mossy bark that we could lift to hide our office supplies, like our fingerprinting ink. We would chase our sisters through the woods until we captured them and then we would throw them in jail. I am 99% sure that all creative credit for that game goes to Pooh. She is 9 months my senior. She was a voracious reader and a precocious little thing.

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      1. Nancy says:

        We had so much fun in those woods with our imaginations running wild! Remember the rainfort? A fallen tree that we wove branches and ferns into so that it was water tight and we could play safe from the rain. I know spending all that time outside was good for us – mentally and spiritually. It’s something that so many kids miss out on these days when they are so consumed with their devices. We were lucky!

        And yes, we did show goats in the fair. Dressed to kill in my “dairy whites” and parading around the ring. 🙂 I will admit that Sarah and I went to the fair a couple of weeks ago and visited with the goats. You can take the girlfriend out of the country . . .

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Diane says:

    Hey Mel, wish I had grown up on a farm…..and wish I was living on a farm today. There’s just something magical about the simplicity of rural living and being one with nature. Loved hearing all your memories of the less pretentious life!!

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  6. patty says:

    I love the thought of a wild (or tame) appaloosa in my back yard!

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    1. It was kind of fun, Patty! I named my horse Popcorn because of his spots. Popcorn bucked me off in the back yard and I was traumatized. The rule is you have to let the horse know who’s boss, so I had to get back on.

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