When we lived in the city, I considered myself an urban farm girl. I milked goats, made cheese, gardened and canned. I pulled goat kids out of their mamas
, slaughtered chickens and autopsied rabbits
. But I wasn't what I considered a true farm girl
because I did all of my outdoor work in big, black rain galoshes. Wellies. Mucking boots.
In my glorified vision of farm life, real farm girls wear cowboy boots
, and I had never broken in a pair in my life.
Now that we live in the honest-to-goodness country and are building an honest-to-goodness farm, breaking in a pair of boots seems to be a skill my boys and I need to learn. They dream of having horses, and I can't very well send them out among the real cowboys in their rain boots.
As a Christmas
gift, my parents presented the boys with their very own, brand new cowboy boots. Beautiful leather, perfect stitching; spotless. And since Christmas, that is how they’ve remained, complete with the tag hanging off the side.
I mean, what do you do with brand new shoes? You don't exactly wear them out into the mud and manure in the barn, right? But, if not, how do boots go from looking like they do on the shelf at Big R
to how they look on farmers’ feet? Do you keep the new ones new for when you go make Sunday visits, and buy some old worn-out ones at Goodwill
for the rest of the time? The multitude of questions began to bother me.
Then I met April Parks
, a beautiful, friendly, goat farm owner, wife and mother. We spent an hour at her place, Park’s Oasis
, a couple of weeks ago, perusing her selection of goats for sale. I looked down at her feet and made the determination, THIS is a real farm girl. Her children were running this way and that, playing, riding horses, training dogs, and every last one of them had on cowboy boots.
After a long discussion about copper bolus-ing goats
, without skipping a beat, I said, "This is a change of subject, but just how do you get your cowboy boots to look like that? Do you just buy used ones?" I still couldn't wrap my mind around the idea that new $85 boots would be used as working boots. It‘s not in my frame of reference to take, say, some brand-new $85 heels and purposely metamorphosize them into dirt-kicking, barn-cleaning work shoes. Really, who does that?
April's sweet reply was, "You just wear them!"
Not able to believe my ears, I clarified by saying, "You mean you just get them dirty and worn-out on purpose?"
"Yep! That's the great thing about boots,” she said, “you just hose them off!"
Later that week, trusting April’s advice, I sent the boys outside on a hot, dusty day where they commenced a water fight with the hose in their shorts, T-shirts, and brand-new cowboy boots. They're real farmers now.
Lindsey is a city girl turned urban farm girl. She and her family are the proud stewards of a few milking goats, a lot of working chickens, an organic garden and a budding orchard. Just around the corner is the city. But she, and her farm, are hidden by the rocks. Follow her on Twitter (@goatcheeselady) and FaceBook (The Goat Cheese Lady) or visit her website (thegoatcheeselady.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Lindsey at: firstname.lastname@example.org.