Monday, April 22, 2013

A Day In the Life of a Farm Girl

A reader recently asked me what the most onerous chore was growing up on a farm. Well, here's the thing about that... the circle of life is a cyclical bitch, and that means that everything you do doesn't really matter. You feed animals, they get hungry again. You clean out manure, animals poop in the clean straw. You haul firewood, then you burn it, it's gone and you need more. You plant seeds, you have to harvest them... and then you plant them again.

But by far, the task that everyone hated was... picking up rocks.

Yep. Picking up rocks. My father swears that a glacier melted in our region of Ohio, dropping all its rock ballast right on what would eventually become our fields. You'd be amazed the juggernauts we dig up. And it doesn't matter how often or how thoroughly we pick up those rocks, next year the tiller turns up more.

The big ones are the ones we look at and admire, wrestle into the truck for a few toe-curling moments and then move on. But the little ones are the buggers that get you. The endless repetition of bending over to get them, the sliding scale of which ones are big enough to pick up and which ones you can ignore. The arcing toss that lands them in the slowly moving truck bed is fun at first, but three hours later your arc is getting lower and it feels like your arm is going to fall off.

And what do we do with our rock haul once we're done? Hop into the truck bed and scuttle down to the creek, where we're rewarded with sinking those bastards into the water where we'll never have to see them again. Except... not that long ago the county contacted us and said, "Um... you're dumping so many rocks in the stream that you're actually diverting the flow. So could you stop? That'd be great, thanks."

Oh, and that thing about the glacier? As usual, my dad was right.

10 comments:

Feaky Snucker said...

OMG, I hated picking rocks!! We didn't have a big fancy creek to dump em in, so we just ended up making a big pile. But yeah. THAT job SUCKS.

T.J. said...

Makes me grateful Daddy and his family were more of the ranching type...except that one rebel uncle who still owns a farm in NE. And he STILL calls me to help with the annual Webber Rock Picking Festival. *rubs arms in rememberance*

Mindy McGinnis said...

YES! I cannot say how much I love know that other kids also had to go through the Picking of Rocks Ritual. Dear God... the heat... the dirt... the rocks.

Rena said...

I HATE hauling rocks. OMG! It's like there's this magnet that's always ALWAYS pulling them to the top. Even when we tried planting stuff that didn't require a real tilling, then it was the weeding (feed hay has to be really clean of dangerous stuff). But rocks....erg.

mfantaliswrites said...

I worked for a year as a law clerk to a judge in New Jersey and she lived on a beautiful working farm. And I mean working - she smashed her own finger fifteen shades of purple with a sledgehammer while I was working for her. This woman was awesome! Anyway, the farm was graced by these lovely low rock walls. Guess how those walls got built? By all the rocks her family hauled out of the fields. It builds character, right? You are definitely not the only one!

Mindy McGinnis said...

Funny mfant - I build rock paths through my gardens with my "finds."

Rena - RIGHT?!?! Where the hell are they all coming from?? And the first person who answers "the earth's core," is getting a smirk from me.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Ha! Picking up rocks...yup. And clearing an entire field of mustard with my sibs, and getting up on Sat. mornings in the winter to bed the pen. A BIG pen. But the cattle sure did love a fresh bed of straw to romp in. Now you see you got me started!

Mindy McGinnis said...

Yvonne I read that as "cleaning mustard" and I was like, "How do you clean mustard?"

Megan Clayton said...

I've come to learn that my dad is usually right about most things and he tells me so regularly.

Thanks for the info about farm chores. I can't imagine picking up rocks for hours. It sounds brutal.

Glad I could be an inspiration to another Monday post. :)

Mindy McGinnis said...

No problem Megan - you rock! (ha ha)