Adventures in Farmgirling
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The idea of being a farmer is pretty romantic, animals, babies, farm to table dinners… But when you get down to it, being a farmer is really anything but romantic. It’s late nights checking animals, it’s praying for rain, it’s doctoring babies, and it’s dealing with a whole lot of shit (literally).
I love being a farmgirl, but I have the ability to avoid a lot of the dirty work. The only terrible reality I’ve had to face this season is an overworked husband, and the loss of precious Rosemary. So when Gabbie (our neighbor/cousin) texted me the other day, “are you busy right now?” I wasn’t quite sure if I should lie or not. The statement: ‘are you busy right now’ is a loaded question in itself, let alone if you live on a farm. But I was up for an adventure so I told the truth – I was not busy at all. In fact, I was still in my pajamas.
If I am a farmgirl, Gabbie is really a farmgirl. She works every day on her family’s ranch cowboying, and fencing, and doing all of the dirty work I avoid. She followed up with, “well are you up for an adventure?”
Indeed I was.
I jumped up real quick, pulled some pants on, and walked out the door to find her waiting for me in an old ranch truck with a quad loaded in the back. I guess this really was going to be an adventure, so I turned around and grabbed a hat.
When I got in her truck she told me we were heading up to the Devil’s Garden to shut up some water.
Devil’s Garden… Seemed safe enough.
We drove. And drove. And drove. Then took a dirt road and drove some more. Only once did we see anyone, and after we passed them, we drove some more.
I noticed a storm coming in from the distance, and thought, “I’m glad I grabbed my hat.”
After a while, we came to a fork in the (dirt) road and Gabbie mumbled, “I’m pretty sure this is the right way.”
At this point we were out of cell service, my phone was about dead, and the storm was coming straight towards us. I was really hoping it was the right way.
We continued for another three hours (probably more like 20 minutes, but it felt like three hours). I felt inside my pocket and was happy to find a dog treat; great, at least we wouldn’t starve to death out here.
I tried to stay calm, but in my head I was going over the scenarios of our death. I wondered if they’d find us before the frostbite took us, because I think frostbite would be a terrible way to go.
As we stayed on the path, Gabbie was looking out the window and said, “I can’t imagine they would’ve moved the trap, maybe we passed it.”
Or maybe we were lost and our deaths were looming in the storm clouds ahead of us. Finally, we found the trap, which signaled us to park the truck and unload the quad.
Gabbie found a good place to park and asked me, “you don’t think the ground is going to get any softer do you?” *As if I knew the answer to that? For all I knew it was going to get as soft as butter.*
“Oh well, we should be okay, the truck has four wheel drive anyways.”
(I hope she wasn’t assuming I knew how to use four wheel drive. Which I do, but still, I didn’t want our lives to be hanging on the fact that I knew how to operate a truck.)
She skillfully unloaded the quad off the truck, and I have to say I was impressed. I wondered if, given the circumstances, I would have been able to unload a quad off a truck by myself.
The moment she unloaded the quad, the storm arrived, and hail began to pelt our faces. But a farmgirl’s gotta do what a farmgirl’s gotta do, so we hopped on the quad, dogs and all, and headed to find the water.
We started driving and Gabbie said, “They told me it’s just a mile on this road, and when we come to the fork, stay to the right.”
I wondered who ‘they’ were, and why ‘they’ didn’t want to be included in this adventure.
The hail kept coming, and at that point my phone was officially dead. We went for what seemed like five miles (but my internal odometer is a little off), and finally found the water. I wanted to jump up and down for joy that we were at least in the right place, but I held myself together.
This was the tricky part. This ‘water’ was in the form of a large lake, and as we came up to it, we didn’t know if the shut off valves were to the left or to the right. ‘They’ did not tell her. So we opted to go left. The hail began to let up, but there were no shut off valves in sight. So we turned around to go back to our starting place and this time head to the right. As we did, we found an old road, and a single lonely cow. The road was a great sign, but the lonely cow seemed like an omen to me.
The road led us straight to an outlet, but still there were no shut off valves in sight. So we decided to go afoot looking for the illusive valves. As Gabbie shut off the quad, she said, “I’m a little afraid to shut this off, sometimes it doesn’t like to start back up.”
More storm clouds approached.
We started our trek on foot looking for the valves, Gabbie crossed the outlet, and finally found the valves!
There were three of them, and once closed, they would shut the water into the lake, and keep it from going through the outlet. They were way bigger than I could have imagined, and took both hands to spin, but after a few minutes, we had completed our mission.
We headed back over the outlet towards the quad, and I prayed in my head that it would start before the hail did. Thank God, it did. We were in business and headed back to the truck.
Luckily we did not have to use the four wheel drive, and the heater in the truck warmed us up real quick, and I was thankful that I didn’t have to eat the dog treat.
As we headed home, I was proud of us. We did what any guy could do, and we probably did it better, since we were girls and all. When I got home, I realized I was late for Bunco, so I grabbed my ten bucks and ran out the door. When I got there, I told the ladies why I was late, and why I was wearing fifteen coats; each one of them had a story to tell of their husband, son, brother, or dad getting lost out in the Devil’s Garden. Thank goodness we’re farmgirls, cause farmgirls don’t get lost.