I grew up in California, in a neighborhood. My first 18 years I lived on 17th Street. We had neighbors across the street, on the side of us and behind us. A side street was on the other side of our house. I didn’t know any different. Since we were at the end of the street we had a fairly large lot. Me and my sister would ride our bikes up and down the street. We would play with the neighbor kids. I was use to seeing people walk in front of our house. We were two minutes from a grocery store, and five minutes from the school. That was just how it was, and I was use to that. That was just a way of life for us.
Our Pastor lived more rural. They still had neighbors that they could see, but they had a huge lot compared to ours. They had farm animals. He had birds of every kind. Pheasants, peacocks, quail, turkey, chickens and they even had a few goats. They even grew their own food. I loved going over there and seeing the animals. I was at home and knew that I enjoyed the farm life much more than just a house on a lot. My parents were not farmers and I really don’t think they would ever care to live on one. There is nothing wrong with that. Everyone has different likes and interests.
When I got into high school I decided to start a little garden in our back yard. It was really just tomatoes and peppers, but I was hooked when I first saw those little green gems beginning to take life. When they were ripe and ready to eat, I can tell you nothing tasted better than that red, home-grown, juicy tomato that I helped nurture and bring life to. My green thumb was born and swore I would always and forever love the dirt under my fingernails and the coolness of the dirt under my feet. I can say my parents and sister enjoyed the bounty of the garden as well.
I may have lived in city but there was just something that I was missing. I remember just hanging out at the Farm and Home store. Just sort of window shopping and dreaming of all the wonderful things that I could do someday. Gardening was just not quite enough to quiet my soul, I needed to raise something that was alive. One day while I was again, spending my time at the Farm and Home store, I saw these beautiful rabbits. That was it, I decided to get rabbits. Of course, I was about green as a gourd, and had no idea how to raise rabbits. But needless to say those rabbits had the nicest hutch in Yuba County. My grandpa helped me build it, and after it was complete I just stared at in awe. I loved it. I never had little baby rabbits and one rabbit ended up dying, but each moment was an enjoyable experience that I will never forget.
I had such a desire to live in the country I convinced my parents to buy me cowboy boots. I slipped those boots on every chance I got. Of course they had to match my outfit. I even went so far as to get myself a belt buckle and I was rocking that whole cowgirl attire. Oh, I got made fun of, but I really didn’t care. I wore it anyway. I really didn’t have that many friends anyway, so it really didn’t matter.
We moved to Missouri in the fall after my high school graduation. We moved to a very small town and it was quite a culture shock, but it didn’t take long to become content in the slower ways of life. I married our Pastor’s son a year later and realized that I really didn’t know a lot about farm life. My husband raised cows and after actually living on a farm and around animals, it took me a long time to understand it and really appreciate it.
For a long time I really hated those cows. They always were needing to be fed and they always interrupted something that we had planned and we had to tend to them. In the summer there was always hay to put up. I also realized that living on farm was not as convenient as I imagined. I was no longer two minutes away from a grocery store or any town for that matter. It took 25 or 30 minutes to hit civilization. I was sort of missing the city life.
As I look back 20 year or even 15 years, I feel sorry for that California city girl who had to change so drastically. It was not an easy transition, but I would not trade it for the world now. I still have moments where that city girl deep inside still thinks about how it would feel to live a couple of minutes from town again. We live even further from town now and we have a bigger farm. Goats, cows, horses, dogs and even chickens roam around with us on our 80 acre farm. I can go outside my home and not hear a sound but the occasional motorist traveling down the road, which I can’t even see. I don’t even see a single house. All we see are trees, our animals and the mountain sides. I would not have it any other way. I find peace and contentment on our farm. I am so at peace, that I would rather be home than go anywhere if I don’t have to.
My kids have not known any other way of life. They didn’t have to get use to living that way, they have always been around the farm. I guess it would be pretty difficult for them to live life in the big city. I don’t think they would have it any other way either. I may have been a city girl but I was always a country girl at heart.