Will The Real René Please Sit Down…

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
As I start this blog, I thought it would be fun to share some of my quirks. My quirkiness is a part of me that I honestly try hard to hide, but sometimes it just oozes out with no real way to contain it.
Last fall, on a trip to MaryJanesFarm, my youngest son Matthew and I were settling into our beloved soft-wall tent. Our hearts were light, our mood giddy, and Matthew was running from one task to another. Once things were put away and our temporary home set up, we started dinner in our amazing outdoor kitchen. Matthew is a very busy and very funny kid, so when I heard a loud growling noise I naturally assumed it was him being his normally precocious self. Without missing a beat, I continued to dice the veggies for the salad and said over my shoulder, “Hey buddy, good try, but I know that was you.” As he began to plead his case that it wasn’t him, we heard the growl again. Glancing around, I could see a black hump on the south side of the tent. I gently motioned to Matthew to head for the farm kitchen. Once we were safely in the shack I asked the cook if there had been any bear sightings. There hadn’t. Needing to get to the bottom of it, I ventured out to investigate. There it was, right where I saw it before, the biggest black…

COW… I have ever seen.

Okay, actually it was an average size cow… but really, A COW! I am a farmgirl, and I can say I have never heard a COW make that kind of noise before. As a matter of fact, when my two oldest boys were two and three years old, we lived right in the middle of 3,000 head of cattle. I would get on the horse with the boys in tow and herd those animals around. I have even been known to throw a calf into the back seat of the van and haul it to town, so I am not new to cattle. I have roped them and tipped them…I know cows!
Feeling like such a loser, we headed back to complete the dinner and settle in for the night. With my farmgirl ego bruised, I sat by the fire my son had built and listened to him taunt me. He was having a ball, as you can image. That story will be something that stays with him. Oh, sweet memories. (Matthew now has named that cow “Bear,” and loves to tell friends and strangers alike about the “bear” we saw.)
As if that experience wasn’t enough in the humiliation department, as the evening continued so did the torment. Matthew and I had enjoyed walking around the farm, and because of the rain we were wet and muddy. Trying to minimize the mud being dragged into the tent we decided to hose off in the outside tub. Matthew was first, sitting on the back of the tub. He pointed the hose to his feet which were in much need of a good hosing. After he was done it was my turn to follow suit. I rested my sizable tush on the back of the tub, aimed the hose and wham! … the tub flipped over and I was now in the field next to the hot wire. (The same hot wire that was so wonderfully protecting me from “the bear.”)
Try as I might, I couldn’t fix the tub on my own, and while there are few people more gracious then those that you will find on MaryJanesFarm, few of them had escaped the tale of the bear sighting just a short time before. Now on the heels of that, the tub. If I could have curled up in a ball and died, I would have right then and there. But in true farmgirl “plowin’ thru” fashion, I went to fess up. I was thinking that it couldn’t get any worse but knowing full well that when the dork in me escapes it is almost impossible to get it re-captured without total humiliation.
Desperate for the day to be over, all I could think of was crawling into bed and pulling that AMAZING bedding up over my head. I got into the tent, opened the flue to the pot belly stove, lit the match, and voila…smoke, lots of smoke, everywhere! I moved the knob, convinced that I must have had it wrong. More smoke, and not just a little smoke, but truly run-for-your-life kind a smoke. There I was, three times in a few short hours, with not an ounce of pride left. While all my co-workers treated me with such honor and dignity, everything in me was screaming, “Hey, dork!” (Or was that the voice of my 11-year-old? I am not 100% sure.)
I had never been more grateful for any one day to end. Feeling like I had the letter “L” tattooed to my forehead, I finally crawled into bed. Just as sleep was right about to hit me, I heard my little man say, “Mom this was a great day, and I am so glad that I came.”
As the morning sun lit the tent, all seemed right with the world. The tub was back to perfect. The chimney, now free of pine needles, was allowing smoke to leave the tent freely. We had even made friends with the cows directly outside the tent. Somewhere in the night of sleep the dork in me was satisfied and at rest, at least for now.

  1. Russ Knopp says:

    Hey, that sounds like someone I know! Well written. No doubt, cows can be scary at times.

  2. Debbie says:

    Rene, LOL The dork in me almost wet her pants! We went camping with my Mom one year and the "bathroom" was a little
    dug out area on the other side of a fallen tree. You were supposed to hold onto a branch lean back a little and do your thing. Needless to say when it was my Mom’s turn she let go of the branch and fell back with her pants down and was wedged under the fallen tree! She began squirming and finally had to holler for help! We will never let her live it down. She has a now family famous saying, "your day’s coming". And believe me it has and I am sure it will continue to.

  3. John Sumerlin says:


    Your wit is very charming. I do not question that as good as you are now you can only get better, and better. You have found a niche where your passion not only drives you, it is also something that you can share with others. And sharing is so such an important part of our life cycle.

    Someday when we are together again I will tell you my ‘black cow’ story. It was a very funny, a very embarrassing happening. Humiliation too, if you like. Makes a real life cowboy hang his head in shame. A very humbling experience, too funny.


  4. What a fantastic story! I have only just this morning seen your blog through ‘Mary Janes Farm’ web. I came across ‘Mary Janes Farm’ last month by pure luck, as a result of searching under ‘farm living’ on the internet. You see, I am a country/farm girl at heart, but was born a city girl in Johannesburg South Africa, with a rich history of farmers in our family – from wine to cattle. I have lived in England for 15 years now, and God be willing, my hubby (a Londoner – also country at heart) and I will be buying a little cottage in the English Countryside on the outskirts of a small village, England, with half an acre of land (Yippeee!) a section of which is owned by the local squire but which we can use for a nominal fee every year. It has two apple trees (one for eating, one for cooking), 3 or so damson trees, a golden plum tree, an outbuilding, oil tank and our very own cesspit (shared with our neighbours in the adjoining cottage)… The Cottage is bijou – a sheer delight! Glory Be… I can’t wait! I’ve got all my cottage garden, small holding, herb patch etc. books out, and am pulling on the reins lest I gallop off into the distance… We try to buy most of our food from local organic, free range, farms and pray that the ‘organic market’ will not suffer too badly as a result of the recession. Thank you for giving me a great start to my day with this truly vivid, funny little picture you have put down in words for everyone to read and enjoy. May God bless you richly. Catherine-Anne

  5. rene says:

    Ha- I love the moral support, thanks-you all so very much.

    Thank you so much for your kind words. Your story sounds so fascinating and I can certainly tell that you are a farmgirl through and through. My husband traveled in England 11 years ago and says we will go back together as he just loved the country side, especially the rock fences. I am thrilled you found MaryJanesFarm and hope that you will jump into the forum on the website. If your need directions email me and I will walk you through it. We have so many amazing farmgirls from all over the world. It really is quit fabulous.

  6. Aunt Jenny says:

    oh my gosh..we must be long lost twin sisters. Flipping that tub would have been SO something I could see me doing!
    You sound like my kind of person!!!
    I am loving your blog, by the way!!



    Aunt Jenny,

    Thank you so very much for "understanding".  I am usually invited along to events for the sheer comic relief, I think 🙂

  7. Bonnie says:

    LOL for 20 minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You made my day! Thanks for sharing.


    Hahah.. I know Bonnie, you are laughing "WITH" me…. LOL

  8. Pam says:

    I love your blog! You are such a warm real person. What fun "rocking chair memories" to share with your son someday.

    ha-ha.. I hope it is my version we share then and not his :). Thanks for the nice comments, they mean so much!

  9. nancy says:

    this story was so funny i laughed for an hour and chuckled all day making others wonder what was up with me. love love loved it….

    Ya!.. You sound like my son… it still cracks him up!

  10. Carole Anne says:

    It is amazing – when I need it most, an item appears in my inbox that lifts my spirits and sets my on the bright & shining path again with humor. Rene, you go girl! Memories and powerful bonds are built on life experience. Your son and you created a gift you open each time you share it between the two of you and it becomes huge when shared with others. Thank you so much – from a Teton County, Idaho girl in full swing corn and soybean planting season with her husband in Champaign County, Illinois. We travel from Idaho twice a year to farm my husband’s family ground in Illinois. Thank goodness for farming. My husband’s design business for custom homes in Teton County, Idaho is very quiet right now.
    Thanks again,
    Carole Anne

    Thanks Carole Anne,

    I appreciate yu taking the time to read my blog and it brought you a little bright spot. You know us farmgirls; always plowing thru!

  11. Lorice says:

    That was a great story. I am a city girl – wanna be farm girl. Just saw my first cow in person about 3 years ago. It made me feel good to know that even farm girls can mistake a cow for a bear.

    Ha-ha!  Ya! I suspect I wont live it down for a while!

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