After reading my cousin Cassie’s (The A Days) post about the county fair I really started to think about how different our lives are from those who grew up in an urban setting. I’ll try to do a series of posts of things we did on the farm that I’m sure some will think what the heck!
First I’ll tell you about where I grew up.
The first 12 3/4 years of my life I lived with my parents and sister on a small farm in Graham County, Kansas. The “village” of St. Peter is what we called home. There was a gas station and a Catholic Church in this little town. The population was 25 people and about 75 cats & dogs. The closest place to buy milk and limited groceries was 12 miles north. An hour car ride to the east put us in Hays, KS which is where we’d travel to once a month to stock up on groceries. If you were out of an ingredient then you either didn’t make that dish or didn’t include that in the recipe. There was no “lets run to the store” that is a mile away. This is a problem I still find myself in living 12 miles from town.
I think we missed out on a lot because we lived on the farm, but I also think we gain so much more. I didn’t learn to swim until I was 11 years old. I know gasp!! But I can remember going to the pool maybe 10 times while growing up. It was a 25 mile drive to the nearest pool so we made due with slip-n-slides and swimming in a stock tank. A stock tank is a water storage for livestock. If we were lucky we’d have a clean one up by the house that contained clean water. But when we were at my Gma’s we swam in the one the cows drank from. Which meant there was cow coodies all over it, green algae and since my Grandma kept small cat fish in the tank you’d have to watch out when they’d nibble on your toes. Normally the green water wouldn’t be this bad, but we swam in some pretty gross water. This tank probably has never been cleaned out so there is this really nice deep olive green color to the water. This does not hurt the cows though.
Photo from Colorado State Univeristy: Golden Plains Area Extension Office.
Now here is the part where we missed out. Do you have any idea what it is like going to swim lessons and being the only 11 year old? The rest of the kids in my group were 6 & 7 and there I was terrified to jump in the deep end of the pool. One little mean girl even pushed me in the deep end. I couldn’t swim. All I could do was kick until my teacher came and helped me out of the pool. Then yelled at the little girl. Yep I was that big kid getting picked on by little kids. My mother who was terrified of water would pace the sidewalk outside the pool and watch Mildred and I. Those two weeks were the longest of my life. I can swim, but I prefer to stay on the shore. TNT’s family are big boaters and I go just to make TNT happy, but I’d rather sit on the beach and read a book.
Since we didn’t leave the farm much during the summer that meant I got to use my imagination when I played outside. My mom wouldn’t think twice when I’d ride my bike down in the pasture. I’d be gone for hours, but my mom knew where I was. She didn’t have to worry about someone kidnapping me. The only worry was rattlesnakes and cows. Let me tell you when a herd of cows come running at you when you are on a kid bike you never knew your legs could peddle so fast.