When we lived in the city, I considered myself an urban farm girl. I milked goats, made cheese, gardened, canned, pulled goat kids out of their mamas, gave shots to goats that needed them, slaughtered chickens, autopsied rabbits. But I wasn’t what I considered a true farm girl because all of my outdoor work I did 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, that 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 amongst the real cowboys in their rain boots. As a Christmas gift, my parents presented them with their very own brand new cowboy boots. Beautiful leather, pristine condition. New. And since Christmas, that is how they have 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 farmer’s 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.
Enter: April Parks, a beautiful, friendly, goat farm owner, wife and mother. We spent an hour at her place, Parks Oasis, a couple of weeks ago, perusing her selection of goats for sale. Also on the farm were chickens, a cow, horses and herding dogs. 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 bolusing goats and 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 is 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 (and non-judgemental) reply was…”You just wear them!” Not able to believe my ears, I clarified her statement by saying, “You mean you just get them dirty and worn out on purpose?” “Yep! That’s the great thing about boots, you just hose them off!”
Trusting April’s advice, later that week on a hot, dusty day, I sent the boys outside where they commenced a February (??) water fight with the hose…in their shorts, T-shirts…and brand new cowboy boots.
We’re on our way to being real farmers now.
– The Goat Cheese Lady
P.S. This post ran in its edited version in the IndyBlog on February 14, 2015.