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Thankful for pearls and rubber boots

Eureka Columnist

I grew up “in town” and was always a girly-girl.

I had rather be inside playing with Ken and Barbie, my Easy Bake Oven, or dress-up. In adulthood, I like shopping, cooking and baking, and going to new places – like seeing a matinee on Broadway in New York City and visiting Times Square.  A carriage ride in Central Park is my kind of fun.

So are cities with lots of history and southern charm.  I like the west coast, the east coast and the gulf coast.  Growing up, I never really enjoyed the outdoors, sports, or animals.

Today, though, I’m glad I now enjoy the outdoors and a country life, and have for the past 36 years, while remaining a girly-girl.  Marrying a true country boy has shown me a different way of life, and given me a love for animals.

I knew nothing about raising and caring for any animal, but I learned.  We started with labrador retrievers, as my husband is an avid duck hunter.  My boy, Joe, was the best dog ever and lived to be almost 14.

We had many litters of puppies, and I think I cried every time one found a new home. I never wanted an indoor pet because of the mess I thought it would create – and I am a stickler for neat and clean. Now we have a sweet rescue dog, Jake, and he is always happy to see me and is a great companion.

Yes, he sheds, and when it rains he leaves little paw prints on the floor, but these are easy to remedy. My husband makes more and bigger messes than Jake does.  Hannah, my pretty cat, is an outdoor girl, but she does like to be held and petted.

Over the years we have added sheep, rabbits and chickens.  I have also learned to name my favorite animals – that way Ben can’t butcher them – a way of life for him.  That is my least favorite part of farm life. And, yes, I refuse to eat anyone who I might have once petted – name or no name.

Getting dinner from the grocery store is better for me,  that way I don’t know who he or she was. Our granddaughter, Grayson, does show the sheep in the county and district livestock shows.  She loves doing it with her pop, and he is tickled to carry on the tradition.

Who knew how entertaining and funny chickens can be?  They waddle when they  run and can actually be very sweet.  I have trained them to come when I call them by using mealworms, their favorite treats.  I just shake the bag and call their names:  Honey, Fancy, Thelma Lou and Sally Sue.

However, the coop is another story. It’s a chore keeping the nesting boxes and the coop clean for sure. How can such little creatures make such a mess?  I had hoped they would be neat and clean girls, just like me.

I tried gathering eggs in flip flops, but that was a total disaster.  Not only were my feet dirty, the chickens pecked at my pretty painted toes. Hence, I now have the prettiest pair of rubber boots. They are blue with multicolored flowers on them. I have a pair of garden clogs that are blue-green and decorated with brightly colored chickens, and my toes are now safe and my feet stay clean.

I have been butted by the big ram, landing in a heap, since I didn’t open the gate fast enough to suit him. I was black and blue for a couple of weeks.  I have been stepped on, kicked, licked and slobbered on, but  when I held that first newborn lamb I quickly forgot all my injuries and insults.

When it’s raining, or during winter when it gets dark early, I rush home and change into my pretty boots to feed, or gather eggs. One day, I had worn pearls and didn’t take time to take them off.

So here I am, feeding a menagerie of animals and gathering eggs looking like the quintessential Southern Lady – pearls and all.  And any true Southern Lady knows you should always look your best – no matter what you are doing.

A girl can’t give up fashion, or being a girly-girl, just because she has farm chores, and I think my animals appreciate my good taste in attire.

I am thankful for some things I don’t have – like a pigpen.  That would give a whole new meaning to a mud bath and facial.

My little farm is a long way from New York City, but I now know I can fit just fine in either place by just being myself, and I love that.

Staying true to oneself is a great quality and develops great character and integrity. There are many things to experience in this life, and I think a person should take advantage of more than a few.

Creating change, and something totally out of your comfort zone, can bring great rewards and fun adventures.

Learning something new is always a good thing. Try something different – you might just find it makes you very happy, and be thankful when it does.

Write to Pam Bock at bockpam@yahoo.com