Five Words

I got an email from my husband the other day.

It had five words in it. Just five. And a picture.

“City Farmgirl be real farmgirl. oxo” (five words)

(We use that “be” thing a lot with each other, just so you know. Like, “I be in love with you.” Or “I be so happy.” Don’t ask me why; it’s just something we’ve always done.)

Here’s the picture he sent.

What is it?

Well….

It’s me! Going down the road on the back of a tobacco wagon being pulled by a tractor. I added that little red circle. Actually, it wasn’t me who added it; it was my daughter who did. I couldn’t add a little red circle on a photograph if my life depended on it. Aren’t we lucky to have our kids to take care of things like that for us? I’m afraid I’ve been left behind in this age of technology. Oh well. I, frankly, don’t mind in the least.

Anyway, I realized that what he said about me was true. I knew it was so the Friday before last.

You see, I had signed up for a Friday morning Yoga class at a community center. A few days before it was supposed to start, I learned that one of my neighbors would be working in his tobacco field. They were cutting and spearing the tobacco. Instead of yoga pants, I donned old blue jeans and work boots and gloves and my bandana and headed out to the tobacco field. I couldn’t miss that!

And what fun I had. (five words)

There were several different jobs out in the tobacco field, and I requested the easiest. One person cut the tobacco down, two rows at a time, while another person behind him took a medal bar and pushed them down, still forming two rows. That was team one.

I was part of team two. My job was to hand the stalks to another worker who speared six tobacco stalks onto a skinny, but sturdy post about 4 feet tall. Once a post had six stalks on it, we’d do another one. Then, she’d cross the two posts to hold each other up to form a teepee. I had the easy job. Her job was tricky; she used a sharp spear and would put it on the end of each post as she whacked the tobacco stalk down. All I had to do was bend over and pick up the tobacco stalks.

I don’t know when I’ve had so much fun. (Of course, I wasn’t out there all day. I was there for only a few hours. And this wasn’t my field of tobacco, so I had no stress whatsoever about getting it cut. And further, I didn’t think at all about how this particular crop would be used. I was just there to help in any way I could. But I was reminded how tough you have to be to be a farmer. Can you say Epsom Salts bath?)

I worked with a woman who kept me entertained the whole time. She said that her father’s tobacco field got her through college. She was an expert at spearing the tobacco stalk. We visited and talked and laughed the whole time. (In fact, a neighbor across the street came by yesterday and said—“I heard some women laughing and cackling in the tobacco field…was that you?” “Yep!” I said proudly. “You’ll have to send some pictures to your friends in Atlanta; they wouldn’t believe it!”

Actually, they would.

They know me by now. (five words) That’s exactly like something I’d do. Hop over to a tobacco field just for the adventure of it.

So that was Friday a week ago. The tobacco dried in the field for about a week. Then we got a first frost warning. CAN YOU IMAGINE? How COOL is that? Autumn arrived on Saturday and we get a frost warning on Sunday. Anyway, that meant that the tobacco needed to go ahead and get into the tobacco barn to be hung.

I didn’t want to miss out on that. It takes a flatbed wagon, a tractor to pull it, and some workers. Several people take the tee-pees apart, handing the wooden sticks with six stalks of tobacco on each to a person working on top of the wagon. This person’s job is to stack them up. Once the wagon is full, you head to the tobacco barn where you hang the sticks up so the tobacco can dry. I was the only woman working on this particular morning. No cackling in the field.

Don’t ask me how long it hangs in the barn. I don’t know. I do know that when we visited this farm for the first time last October, there was tobacco hanging in all the outbuildings.

So that’s tobacco farming. It pays the bills for many a farmer in NC. It was an enlightening experience, for sure. To be a farmer is to be bold. And strong.

So, not to edit my husband’s email, but I think what he meant to say is “City Farmgirl be real farmer.”

Because I’ve been a Farmgirl for many years now. Now I’m a Farmgirl with a Farm. But Farmgirls don’t have to have a farm; Farmgirls don’t have to even want a farm.

You know what I’ve always ”preached and teached”” farmgirls are farmgirls, plain and simple. City or country, indoorsy or outdoorsy, land-rich or land-poor, black, white, pink or purple, skilled or unskilled, blue collar or white collar, republican or democrat, whatever or whatever. Farmer or NOT. Farm or NOT. Gardender or NOT. Knitter or NOT. Baker or NOT. Canner or NOT. We can all be a Farmgirl in our own way.

Yes, Everyone can be a farmgirl. And hey – I’ve ALWAYS been a real one. And so have you. We are farmgirls. We love family, the earth, simplicity, and each other.

There is one difference with me now, though.

Now. I’m. Having. The. Time. Of. My. Life. (more than five words)

I could not be happier. (five words)

Now, a quick update on everything else.

*That little black horse?  Yes, he WILL; he WILL definitely be fixed when the time comes. Don’t worry about that.

*And yes, I resumed my horseback riding lessons. I have a long way to go, but found a GR8 teacher. Here she is with the lesson horses. What a place to learn how to ride, huh? I know! I have a touch of horse fever to have a horse I can ride.

*Those eight unusable fireplaces? Okay, I’ve got THE fireplace problem-solver coming tomorrow. I’m thinking of him as the chimney whisper. Send thoughts and wishes of a warm fire my way. Please don’t make me cry, Mr. Chimney Whisperer. Pa-leese. We had our first frost this morning and I’m ready for a fire. A real one. Smell and ashes and woodsmoke and mess and all…

Blue checking out the COLD FROSTY grass.

*And whew. The kitchen floor. MAN, IS THAT SLOW. I didn’t want to use chemicals to get up all that pasty backing stuck to the wood. But, I’ve decided that I have no choice. I have worked and worked and worked and there is still A LOT on the wood. It is time for a trip to a home improvement store.

*The farm remains nameless. We’re waiting on it to come to us, that perfect name.

So that’s it. That’s what’s happening in my neck of the woods. What’s happening in yours? 

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

PS My daughter and I just headed out to dig up some potatoes to cook for dinner. The folks who have the tobacco patch also have a potato patch and offered us some. I took a hand shovel and an empty brown paper bag. I came back with a broken shovel and an empty brown paper bag. We couldn’t find any potatoes! Cracks me up. I had the oven preheating and everything. I broke my shovel when I dug up a weed with a long, long root. Thought for sure there’d be a potato at the end. But, nope. Couldn’t find a single potato. Bahahaha. My daughter belly laughed. When we got home with the broken shovel and the empty bag, my husband joined her. More bahahaha. Okay, tomorrow I’ll pay a visit and try to get some better information on exactly WHERE the potatoes and exactly WHAT they look like above ground. City farmgirl indeed.

PSS Don’t know exactly where this path I’m on is going, but I’m taking it! Gitty-up! Thanks for joining me!

Leave a comment 9 Comments

  1. loreta says:

    I loved your blog, it made me smile.

  2. Diana Henretety says:

    Lucky, lucky you, I love your stories of you new life on the farm and all your
    pictures too.
    There is nothing like wood heat, your chimney is fixable with a little work,
    and you will be cozy soon.
    My Montana friend told me that when she was little got out of school, and could see smoke coming out of her chimney, she knew her mom was home waiting for her after school and all was right in her little world!
    We are blessed to have a sawmill in a little town next to us called Goodman, Mo, that gives away their smaller chunks of wood, so we load up and use them for my old cookstove so I can bake and simmer soups all winter long the old fashioned way!
    Happy Fall, and Hugs to All!……….Diana in the Ozarks!

  3. Nan says:

    I love this! I am a townie, I get my farmgirl fill by veg gardening & my cats and dogs are my "flock". I have a friend with Alpacas and have been know to visit at feeding time just to spend time with them. I come when it is shearing day, vacinations, toe nail clipping, 1 birth and lead training( for shows). I love it, although I dont live on a farm I get the farm girl experience anyway I can. Good for you "tobbacco stacker" and soon-to-be "potato digger". I hope your chimney thing works out…that’s the one thing I lack is a woodstove or fireplace. ttfn Nan

  4. nan roberts says:

    Thank you. Thank you for saying I’m a farmgirl. And making me laugh. I love your adventures on your new farm. Thanks for the pics, too. OMG frost already! I’m watching the night temps here on the Oregon Coast dropping into the 40s already. It’s only September. I have perennials in pots that need to be planted here at my new place. And garlic and make to plant in my new lasagna beds.

  5. Shery says:

    Dear Rebekah,

    I enjoyed learning about the tobacco harvest — wow, that is a huge field to have been HAND harvested. What I enjoyed most was this: you’re hangin’ with and getting to know your new neighbors (and they you) in the best possible way: sharing work, helping out. Making friends of neighbors are the stitches toward making your house & your farm your HOME! I was in your shoes 19 years ago. You be bonding 😉

    Breaking a shovel whilst digging for food is fer-sure, absotively, posilutely a farmgirl thang! :) Those dang taters can be elusive prey. So, put on your Elmer Fudd hat and on your next hunt, be vewy vewy quiet.

  6. Marji says:

    Rebekah,

    Your zest for adventure is so cool. Horses, new floors, tobacco harvesting, what next?!!. You BE inspiring us all. (5 words)
    I can smell the wood smoke now. Have a wonderful fall season. Marji

  7. Deborah Bessom says:

    Rebekah,
    Thanks for the update on your new farm. How fun it is following your new adventures. I had to laugh at your longing for your first wood fire in your new home. I had that same longing 19 years ago when we brought our home in Northern California.
    About 10 years ago I answered the phone to my neighbor/friend saying "Remember when heating with wood was quaint?" That just about says it all.
    Guess what we got this summer? Yep, you guessed it (or maybe you didn’t). Two new heater/air conditioners. The kind that the front sticks out into the house, and the "guts" remain outside the house. Heating your house by pushing a button? I can’t imagine, but my husbands back will thank him profusely in the coming winters.
    Hugs,
    Deb

  8. I have been a farmgirl for 49 of my 61 yrs , and I cannot help but chuckle with the words of Rebecka, telling of the potaoe dig … I’ve had similar experiences with the "spuds" only 15 yrs ago, except did not break the shovel. And the part about some weed root really tickled me !!!! Also, about 15 yrs ago, I planted some seeds of asparagus, & a few days later, some green items began to spurt from the soil. In the days aheaad, I carefully weeded around these spurts, & they grew taller & taller with each passing day. One day, a friend stopped by, & while she was here, we went out to explore my garden, & when I pointed out to her my very first try at asparagus, she smiled & waited for the punchline to my joke, which you know by now, there was no punchline. Then she broke out in a sweet laughter, & told me those were a pretty common weed in these parts. I was stunned ! We still can have a good chuckle over that memory !!!

  9. Brenda says:

    Love it! I have been a farm girl since the day I was born! Lived on a farm, moved to town, moved to the city and here I am in the middle of the woods. Around here we mound up around the potato plant to produce more potatoes so maybe you need to look for mounds of dirt with a some green growing out of them? Happy spud hunting!

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