June 12, 2014
There seems to be a reoccurring theme in my world lately….I’ve met some of the most genuine and kind people..people that would give you the shirt off their back and offer you the sweet tea in their hand if you were thirsty. They have stories from generations passed and tell you like it is, but invite you into their home just the same. They’re country. As it was clarified to me recently at the barn my daughter volunteers her time, by a good man who asked me to call him “Pop” just seconds after meeting him, “We aren’t red neck, we’re country.” City Girl. Yep, that’s what I always considered myself. “Country” is something that was always foreign for me…aaaand then I met my husband. Up until then, I knew nature to be something that could harm me or even something to fight against and country was just something that was seen on “Green Acres”..completely uncivilized, and definitely not something that I was going to embrace. To sum it up, nature=mosquitoes + sunburns multiplied by country=dirt + uneducated. The only part of nature I found completely enjoyable was the ocean. I love water, but even then, I was unsure about what was IN the ocean, so enjoying it from afar would have to do. Since meeting him 20 years ago, I have had a new found appreciation for nature and have found myself more and more accepting of the natural world around me. He has shown me that nature is part of a beautiful design and that if we pay close attention, there are many lessons to be learned from it. It’s true. I have learned so much and have found myself owning chickens (thanks to the local legislation we had to give them away), loving hiking, appreciating the quietness that crickets don’t allow, and enjoying the harvest of fresh fruits and vegetables. It is so rewarding to go with the flow. Yep, the flow. There’s a natural flow in nature. Yes, it can be harsh and certainly not always comfortable, however when you are able to embrace it and learn to appreciate it’s qualities, it just feels right. My children have been the perfect example of “going with the flow”. As a family, we are continually scouting and searching for the perfect place to live. We would love a piece of land to call home. At first, I was unsure about how the kids would react to this idea, having never really lived on a large piece of land, but I remember the first time we went looking…. We found a great deal and traveled to go “check it out”. As soon as we stopped, the doors swung open and they all scattered. They were in heaven. It just made sense to them. I love hearing of all the stories my son will come back with from the forest where he wields his sword, builds forts with friends, runs across fallen tree bridges, and finds treasures. It’s awesome to watch my daughter eat bell peppers off the vine when she was little, round up the chickens (as they run from everyone else when we had them), and care for horses at the barn she helps out at.. I’m amazed at how our youngest two can’t wait to get outside and you’d think there was an amazing swing set, playhouse, or other things to play with out there, but no. They run to play in the dirt..for hours! If Daddy is outside, they run to his side begging to help. My youngest daughter will almost always come inside with an array of “flowers” *cough*weeds*cough* to arrange…or leaves in the fall to make cards with. It’s beautiful. All of it. It’s so sad that so many of us forget how much we once loved nature as a child…Even if it was for only a moment when a butterfly flew by for the first time or how in awe you were to find out what a lightening bug is. So, when my youngest daughter asks me every year to take her strawberry picking, I find a way to do it….even if it’s on our way out of town for vacation….yep, every year. This year, we had the pleasure of visiting the local Swann Farms for our Strawberry picking adventure…and that it was! We just loved talking with Mr. Swann and hearing all the stories he had to share about the history of the farm. He’s a genuine man…and when a customer lost her keys in the patch, he spent at least two hours searching for them. After my husband heard they weren’t able to find the keys, he instructed the kids to start searching. We were on it. After we found the keys, Mr. Swann blessed us with strawberries on the house! His words when we assured him that was unnecessary, “You know how they say that no good deed goes unpunished? Well, we want to make sure that it isn’t true, here.” Yep, country. If that’s what country is, then may be I’m not so city after all. 😉
Here’s a few images from our Strawberry Picking Adventure in the country at Swann Farms…Enjoy!