If you haven't read any of my book, or if you need a refresher, you can read the first draft intro and chapters here to compare. I REALLY would love some feedback on this. Do you prefer the original or the new version? If I keep the new version, there won't be an introduction and I will have more rewriting to do on the "Cows Are Out" and "Welcome to the Farm" chapters. Are you totally confused? Please read my newly revised first chapter below ... and leave some comments!
Welcome to the Farm
“‘You are my wife.’
‘Good bye, city life.’
Green Acres we are there.”
‘Good bye, city life.’
Green Acres we are there.”
“Oh, crap! The cows are out!” With that, Weldon pushed away from the breakfast table and was up and out the door.
Wait! My Cheerios will get soggy! But, what’s a new wife to do? I slipped into some shoes and hurried after him to see what all the fuss was about. Sure enough, black and white cows were kicking up dust in the road, a few were lazily munching on grass beside the tractor shed, and others stood in front of the hay barn, looking as though they might climb in for a tasty morning snack.
Weldon had circled down the road and was herding the frolicking cows back toward the barnyard and, from the other direction, I noticed his mom and sister jogging up the road toward us. They live here on the farm and always keep an eye out their kitchen window, just as Weldon does. I guess it’s a farm thing. His sister Pat called to Weldon, “Where do you want the cows to go?”
“Right over there by the big silo,” he yelled, pointing. “I guess I left the gate open after feeding them this morning.”
With that, Pat and Mom Edith opened their arms and shooshed the cows away from the hay barn, toward the open gate. Weldon told me to round up the hooligans hiding on the back side of the tractor shed. “Spread out your arms and make yourself real big! Don’t use your cute little kitty cat voice. Sound mean! Chase them towards the silo, but don’t let them hurt you!”
Don’t let them hurt me? They might hurt me? What in the world had I gotten myself into! But, what’s a new wife to do? Coming up behind them, I spread out my arms as wide as I could and flailed frantically. It seems I scared the crap out of two of them. Plop! Splat!
“Eeuuuww. They’re crapping on me!” That did it! With the deepest, gruffest voice I could summon, I bellowed out, “Okay, that’s enough. I’m serious, you guys. Get back where you belong!”
They kicked up their heels, sending clods of earth flying, and hurriedly joined their cohorts in a mad rush to get through the gate. When they were all back in, Weldon securely fastened the gate behind them, and I heaved a sigh of relief.
“Welcome to the farm,” Pat called out, a big smile on her face.
They went home, we went home, and, yes, my Cheerios were soggy.
Thus ended my first up-close and personal experience with the cows.
I married a dairy farmer when I was 53 years old.
Upon hearing my story, people inevitably ask, “Did you ever think you’d end up on a dairy farm?” As if I could imagine something that had never even tiptoed across my mind! Dreaming and imagining aside, let me acquaint you with the real-life events that brought me to the farm.
My not-yet-husband Weldon and I met via an on-line dating site. We both lived in North Carolina but, in retrospect, the hundred miles that separated us was nothing compared to the difference in our lifestyles. I had been living the single-again, corporate life in Charlotte for ten years, and Weldon had spent his entire life on the family dairy farm outside the small town of King.
As we got to know each other by chatting on the phone and corresponding through e-mail, I was careful to ask the important questions: Is your divorce final? (Yes.) Do you live near water? (Yes, there is a creek and a river.) Would you plant raspberries for me? (There are black raspberries growing just a few steps from the front door.) With the essentials out of the way, we began our back-and-forth Saturday or Sunday drives between Charlotte and the farm. He liked me. I liked him.
Weldon made it clear that he wasn’t looking for a dairymaid and that he in no way expected me to help with the farm chores. It seemed to be a match made in heaven; so, seven months after our initial meeting, we married and I moved from the city to the country.
This new lifestyle was unlike anything I had experienced before: marriage, motherhood, life in the woods of northern Minnesota, missionary work in Haiti, eight-to-five office duties. Nope! It seemed I was ill-prepared physically, emotionally, and spiritually for life on a dairy farm. In spite of my best efforts, it wasn’t long before I started whining (only on the inside, of course) as the daily routines aggravated and irritated me.
You don’t have to live on a farm to experience frustrations, difficulties, and setbacks. Life is full of crap - be it real, proverbial, or psychological. As I recount my struggles and victories in adjusting to farm life, I hope you’ll recognize a similarity to problems you are facing and find encouragement to win your battles. The choice is set before us: deal with the yuck or wallow in it.
God is using life on the farm to work something new in me, making me more real and more thankful for each day, for each experience. He can take the difficulties in your life and work exciting new things in you, too. When life gets challenging or down-right discouraging, a change in our perspective can change our attitude, and a change in attitude may be just what is needed to get back to truly enjoying the life we have been given.
Walk with me … but look out for the crap.
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