You see, I am Eva Gabor aka “Lisa Douglas” deep in my soul. Somewhere along the way I traded in my stilettos for muck boots.
I married this highly educated, well-known equine veterinarian who often commands a room when he is speaking. He has authored books and traveled to far-off places consulting on some of the highest-dollar racehorses. He loves fine dining and fine wine. He is shy, yet sophisticated with a deep Southern charm — the truest of Southern gentlemen. Being a Virginian by birth is something that he holds dear to his heart. When we were dating, I was so enamored hearing tales of his childhood here at Green Level Farm, a once operational and booming center of pork, peanut and pine production. We were actually married before I ever visited the family home (farmhouse) that is now nearly 300 years old. I was not disappointed in the least when I came to visit for the first time.
I have always been the curious girl full of imagination. When I found the hidden staircase leading to the attic, the magic carousel in my mind came to life. Suddenly, I was in Anne Franks’ hidden room. Her story is both horrendous and inspirational, and I had suddenly been transported right into it. I was like a little girl in a storybook!
Now we live on the farm full time, and I am faking it as a farm girl. Perhaps, I do not give myself quite enough credit as when it comes to everyday maintenance and repairs, I give my husband a run for his money! A 300-year-old house requires lots of maintenance and repairs and unlike city apartment living, I cannot just call maintenance. I am maintenance!
When I first met my husband, I thought horses had paws. While working at a Sonic in my teens, attempting to make conversation with a customer, I told him what pretty horses he had in his horse trailer. He replied “well, thank you, darlin’ but them are cows!” And, there was a time in my life when someone called me over to a carton of eggs with the utmost excitement because of a found “hen egg” to which I inquired, “Well, how do you know?” Yep. This farm thing was going to be a challenge.
First, let’s begin with dialect and accent. I encounter other human beings (I think), yet they speak a language very different than my own. I have checked out Rosetta Stone and cannot seem to locate Virginian. I have begun to compile a list of questionable words, and, in due time, I am determined I will figure them out. They are the loveliest people, though. Another funny thing is that my husband acquires the exact same accent when he speaks to one of them. Suddenly we have PEE CANS and AKINS everywhere! I see and HEAR the transformation right before me.
Back in the day (before farm living), a drive-up window was where I pulled up to get my food after placing an order at the intercom. It was glorious. No dishes!
Now, the only window where anyone gets food is the one on my backdoor where the rooster and his harem of hens knock and wait for me to hand out pieces of bread. Oh, how I miss the days of fast food opposed to a kitchen full of ingredients. I am a self-declared great cook. Just call me Betty Crocker. The thing is, I just don’t wanna! I am a closet Taco Bell addict and the nearest is about 40 minutes away. I could more easily have possum stew that I can have Taco Bell.
I can order a package to be delivered to my house (that is not how they say it here btw!), but the post office does not think I mind just picking it up there as we are all friendly and such. It is okay. The lady at the desk is kind and when there is a full moon, she has allergies. How would I know that otherwise?
On the occasion that I happen to get a Fed Ex package, my dog Mojo normally gets a handwritten note along with three Milk Bones from our delivery guy. Mojo is convinced that just doesn’t happen in town!
The last time my husband travelled out of town for work we had substantial rainfall and I ended up with a frog crawling up the drain of my bathtub. The only thing that this city girl wants in her bathtub is bubble bath and wine!
I have a pair of muck boots by the back door and often wear them with my pajamas out to the barn. I may have even gone into “town” that way once or twice. I find myself crawling under bushes and looking under things for eggs before adding them to the grocery list.
Internet and cable are now luxuries that happen only in the best of weather conditions. My cell phone does not ring often, and I am not sure if that is because I have no service or no friends.
OMG! Trash. There is no trash service. I have to haul that stuff in my car to a DUMP! They look at me a little bit funny when I do that in heels, btw.
We do not go to a local church but rather an ONLINE CHURCH out of Georgia. Well, I declare, “Is that on that there internet or something?” Imagine the confused looks I get when I tell them that I work remotely — yep on that there computer thing, ordering DRUGS! I once asked a local lady where she goes to church and she replied, “Oh, it’s real traditional. It’s not for everyone.” (I felt like I was in Harper Valley PTA.)
Apparently roads and streets are not at all the same. My purse became a pocketbook and collards are a thing. Beagles (the Snoopy dogs) are for hunting not petting. FOR REAL!
People around here are quick to offer to share their deer meat and helpful hints on how to cook it. Actually, if you cook anything, as long as you cook it in Zesty Italian dressing, it is sure to be lip smackin’ good. Do not ask to taste their bear meat, though. That is just “good eatin’” and no one is quite that neighborly.
If I were getting a report for farm life so far, I am guessing it would say “needs improvement!” I may not be quite as convincing at faking this farm thing as Meg Ryan was faking IT in the movie “When Harry Met Sally,” but I am hoping for best supporting actress or at least honorable mention.
The thing is it really is a storybook life full of charm, but it goes much deeper than the surface that I fell in love with. The farm life is rather easy going, laid back and quite forgiving. For instance, 35 mph means just that. No one gets in a hurry as there is no place to get in a hurry to go to except The Virginia Diner on buffet days/
I am sure that my suburbanite self is as much of an oddity to the local town folk as they are to me. I am admittedly rather reclusive. If I did not know me, I would be making up all kinds of stories about the city girl writer that lives on Green Level Farm, but then again, I would not understand what they had to say anyway.
— Cynthia Bain
Cynthia Bain is a blogger and author who writes motivational, inspiring and sometimes humorous stories inspired by life as she knows it — never ordinary, sometimes crazy and always fabulous. She lives in Wakefield, Virginia with her husband and two “fur-kids” (Chloe, the Yorkie princess, and Mojo, the frequently misunderstood Jack Russell Terrier), where they are currently in the process of reviving a 300-year-old farmhouse.