I believe that I have always been a Farm Girl At Heart.
Growing up in South Florida..I was always exposed to frequent trips to the orange groves where my daddy worked..he'd load the entire family up in our old station wagon, and we'd all ride along over the bumpy pathways in the orange groves amongst hundreds upon hundreds of orange trees...
some of our excursions were to gather fruit..and some of them were because back then my daddy was a hunter...
back when I was only about 4 yrs. old... he'd load us all up and we'd go driving through the groves looking for deer or rabbit.
All four of us kids,mama,and granny too.(me, my brother and granny in the picture in the orange groves)
Daddy worked the orange groves as a backhoe operator for many years of my growing up time..and of course we moved to a few different towns in South Florida to be where the work was.
But most of his work involved grove work.Up until I was about 15 yrs of age.
During these times daddy would rescue all manner of wildlife from the ditches areas/canal areas of the groves and bring them home for us kids to learn about and raise.
We had the opportunity to watch alligator eggs hatch(no we didn't keep the gators..they wre donated to a zoo facility),we raised an orphaned skunk until..well the skunk did what skunks do..ha,we raised bullfrogs too...and much more....
When I was 12 we moved to the yellow house..the yellow house was located in Arcadia, Fl. on about 5 acres with 40 acres behind the house that the landlord told my folks that us kids could play on as long as he wasn't renting the land to a cattle rancher.
(of course being kids we didn't care about the cows..we would outrun them and head lickety split to climb over the barb wire fencing..there was always a trick to climbing those fences too..you'd have to get to the poles where the wire was attached..that was the best area for climbing up and over/hardly any give to the wire...but outrun those bulls and heifers we did!)
The 40 acres were where we romped and played and learned so much about nature. The yellow house held for me some of my fondest childhood memories.
The 40 acres also had a several acre pond on it..oh I'd say about 5 acres of the land was pond. We'd take our fishing poles out there and try to catch catfish..sometimes we got lucky..most times we didn't. But..the one time we did..wouldn't you know..those fish loved kaboom cereal marshmallows..yep..the dried marshmallows from cereal!
We'd take off running into the field on extremely foggy nights when you couldn't see your hand in front of your face...and dance in the fog.
Come summer time granny would send us out into the 40 acres to look for the wild blackberry patches. She'd arm us kids with big bowls and tell us to come back with them full because she'd make jam and cobblers and pies for us.
During this time we'd of course have all manner of wildlife up near the house..
an orphaned baby possum one day that we raised and eventually donated to the zoo facility,...baby birds tht had fallen from nests,we even had a pet squirrel named "Red Baron" that had been orphaned.
On the property that our house sat..was an old used to be blacksmith shop with all the old blacksmithing equipment and the old milking areas/stalls and a very old milk cooling room..this was where my daddy would keep the baby calves we raised...and when there were'nt baby calves being raised....we kids used this old barn as our "club house hang out"
Behind the barn was an old watering trough..it was made of concrete and was big and round....and conveniently located right next to the pump....
We'd stuff the hole in the bottom of the trough...with rags..and have the perfect..farm style swimming pool!
One day us kids created a mini pond in our backyard by digging a hole and lining it with plastic..and going down to the pond on the 40 acres and gathering guppies to fill it..and also gathering plants from around the big pond to create our own little wild life area in our backyard.
Imagine our surprise when the next day we found a big soft shell turtle laying in our mini pond and our guppies all gone!
Well..my dad decided that right there was laying supper!
Yep..I was the water hose holding gal everytime an animal was skinned.
So there was supper..turtle meat with gravy!(as dad said "tastes like chicken"...but I never was fond of it)
Back on the 40 acres it was nearly a weekly occurence for my brother and I to go trekking on the 40 acres hunting together. My job was the spotter/his job was shooter. We'd hunt for rabbit together.Of course I never skinned them out, but it was like I said..always my job to hold the water hose.
One day dad and I went to Winn Dixie to get some groceries and we pulled up and saw a truck that said "___________Alligator Farm"..in the back of the truck were boxes and boxes of baby chicks. Dad waited until the lady driving the truck came back out and asked her if he could buy about 4 boxes of baby chicks from her..
She said "oh they are destined for the alligators, I tell you what I'll just give them to you, but do you know that each box has 50 chicks in it?"
Dad didn't even blink..ha. He said "oh that's o.k." and there we went back home lickety split with 200 baby chickens!!
Oh dear! Well dad built a cage straight away..but of course for a while we had 200 baby chicks in galvanized tubs in our bathroom!..ha
Of course with the neighbors allowing their doberman puppies out unattended to roam everywhere..our flock dwindled drastically and quickly..and dad gave most of the remaining chickens away except for about 15 of them.
Anyhow..we had loads of fun growing up "Country"..and it has always been in my blood and in my heart.
I have always enjoyed growing things and enjoying nature.
So..I've always.... and ever will be a FARMGIRL AT HEART!!!
~The Garden Goose~
(****To share with other farmgirls and to learn more about the farm girl way of life visit: http://www.maryjanesfarm.org/)