Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Back To The Beginning: When I Really Had No Idea What I Was Doing

Many of you have asked me just how I went from Cultured California Chick to Manure Mucking Missouri Farmgirl. And while I haven't been able to personally answer all of your questions, I can now offer you a glimpse of what things were like when I first moved to the country. Before there was Farmgirl Fare, there were Writings From Windridge.

People of all ages have an ongoing romantic fascination with country living. Maybe you're one of those people who sits in traffic and daydreams of someday trading gridlock for greener pastures. Or perhaps your feet are firmly planted in the city (and you wouldn't know a heifer from a haybale--or care to meet either one), but you enjoy reading about other peoples' crazy adventures from the safety of the nearest Starbuck's. Or possibly you're a fellow ruralite who could use a good laugh or two--at somebody else's expense (and ignorance) for a change.

If so, I invite you to step back in time with me as I dive head first into country life--without even checking to see if there is water in the pond. Just click here to read more. As always, I look forward to your feedback.

P.S. I'll be putting up more essays and excerpts periodically and will post a little announcement here on Farmgirl Fare each time a new one is up.

Update: Click here for answers to a few questions about my Windridge Farm stories.


  1. Woo hoo! So glad you're posting these -- I can't wait to read through them all. My name is Emily, and I'm a girl from New York City that has somehow planted myself on 5.5 acres with an old victorian house in the country outside of Ithaca NY. I know I am often in wonderment at how I made this transition so I can't wait to read your transitional tale. By the way, looove your recipes!

  2. The Manure Mucking Missouri Farmgirl gets my vote for being brave, adventurous, and definitely the most interesting. Urban California Chick is just too common. Don't ever look back.

  3. Farmgirl -

    Every day I come to your site is a joy. I'm glad I stumbled onto this wonderful page while feeding my chocolate obsession at David Liebovitz's site about 2 months ago. I was born and raised here in MO (near St. Louis) and just a few months ago, had the prospect of relocating to CA - at the age of 26! My husband was offered a job out there and just this past Sunday declined on it. We've both found that we're happy with the decision. While I enjoy living in the suburbs, coming to your site has me wanting to find a way to get some land and start my own farm (maybe I can remember some things from my animal husbandry classes at Mizzou)! For now, I'll just have to come here and live vicariously through you (and maybe try to start my own little garden - unfortunately I have tons of bold rabbits where I live). Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  4. Coming from a farm myself in southern Missouri I can tell you this….it’s all worth it. Southern Missouri is what I call God’s country. It’s one of the last places in this country that hasn’t been taken over by cities and touched by the city life.

    Be proud of your accomplishment of making a great life for yourself down there. My family has seen many people move in from NJ, CA, FL and everywhere else people are trying to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and some stay and some just can’t adjust.

    As I like to say, “Things move a little slower down south…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

    I can’t wait to keep reading your essays. I think whether you were raised in the country or not, everyone can find appreciation for them!

  5. Susan, this is a great addition to your site... I don't believe how much you get done in a day...you make me feel so ...unproductive!


    Looking forward to the next installments of both FGF and the Writings...Stephen

  6. I just love reading your stuff. Every day I come to your site--I just have to know that the lambs are okay, Cary is doing well, Bear is behaving and the pictures are wonderful! I really like this "Back to the Beginning" thing. Thank you so much.

  7. Oh, goodie! I've been waiting for these. That sunset is absolutely gorgeous, wonderful colors.

    btw, snickerdoodles are up.

  8. I applaud your lifestyle change, not everyone has what it takes to actually pick up and move as you did.
    I was city born in New Zealand, but had family on farms, so I have a love for the rural life.
    I moved here to USA 26 years ago and I am living on an island, on ten acres in the NW. The only livestock we have are wild and semi-tame rabbits. I so enjoy the tranquility of rural living.
    Thank you for sharing your farm life with us, especially the lambs, NZ is a land of more sheep than people, and I do miss the green pastures and hills dotted with sheep and the lambs in spring.

  9. Susan I am so glad that Elise sent me your blog address. I am sharing Caraway's story with my 3 1/2 & 6 1/2 yr old girls. The 6 1/2 LOVED all of your blogs - esp the pics. I grew up around Dairy farming & take the girls for a week at my Aunt & Uncles Dairy Farm in Richfield Springs, NY every summer. It's a great life & us city folks need to be reminded that there are other important things in life!

  10. Yippee!! I look forward to taking the walk down memory lane.

  11. Susan: Loved reading your first adventures in paradise. Just goes to show that life in the country is not all bliss (I'm sure you could enlighten us further on that as well!) Very well-written and I look forward to reading more and more.

    (And to Sarah: Glad you found Susan. Maybe we can convince her to write more about chocolate)

  12. hi farmgirl...?
    can i join ?
    my name is mutia

  13. Love the installments.

  14. and the photo of the beautiful sky.

  15. and the photo of the beautiful sky.

  16. Ah gee, Farmgirl, you are living in rural paradise...do you need a good farmhand? I'm available : )

  17. hello from another corporate city girl turned orchardist's wife in Batlow, Australia. Have added your blog address to my blog. Very interested in your photos - same planet - same country scenery - all beautiful.
    I have hundreds of apple trees and thousands of apples in harvest - do you have recipes for apples? I'm just new to this preserving game!

  18. My wife and I also left the hustle and bustle of Southern California and headed for the wide open spaces of NE Oklahoma in 2003.
    Most people thought we were mad but it was the best move we ever did. We bought a house with an acre of land and are now enjoying our second year of homegrown fruit and veg from our small plot.

  19. Thanks for sharing your transitional adventures! I am looking forward to reading them all! Ironically, I am another city-gal that headed for Vermont and got side tracked in south central MO. I have been rural for about 23 years now, but my early years were filled with embarassing, laughable adventures as I learned to doctor sheep, load pigs, deliver puppies and make everything from scratch (including mayonnaise, soap, paper, etc.)

    I am glad that you take the time to write about it. Keep 'em coming!

  20. So pleased that I am not the only city girl who wants to move to the country! What a great group of ladies! Currently, I reside in San Antonio Texas, but we may be moving to Lamar Missouri in a month or two. (Cross my fingers)

    Do you know what grows good out that way? We want to start an orchard to make a living. It may take a couple of years until it gets off the ground, but that's okay. I have so much to learn.

    If you know anyone selling land within 30 miles of Lamar with a house on it, will you please let me know? Can't find much there.



  21. Hi Farmgirl: I used to be one, but now at age 68 I'm happy to just read about the farm!!!! I live in a small town--Aberdeen, Washington, but have a huge yard and garden where I still love to dig in the dirt and watch things sprout and grow. Became a Master Gardener six year ago but still have tons to learn. Used to teach Math to high school kids--they are almost as much fun as your lambs!!! Love your farm experiences and the yummy recipes. Found you listed as a favorite on my daughter's blog (Sweet Imaginations). Lynn

  22. Hello Farmgirl! I'm a lifelong hillbilly farmgirl from the hills of East Tennessee. (ever heard Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman"? That's my life.) I just want to say that city folk usually crack me up, but you have my upmost respect for leaving everything you ever knew for the unknown. But I'm sure you wouldn't trade your life now for anyone else's. I know I wouldn't. Keep us informed on Whitey...I've got two hens settin right now, too!

  23. Hi, I am that dreamer who sits on the I80 in the SF Bay area dreaming of a different life on the farm. A dream I wait to become reality. Thank you for inspiring me...i look forward to reading more of your adventures.

  24. Awesome! My husband and I moved from very urban city life in LA to rural life in northern Sonoma County, CA. WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. (Indeed, we will never look back.) It's so great to stumble on your blog. I've recently started documenting our own journey. We would be in the "don't have a clue what we're doing but eager to learn" category...

  25. I am entirely envious of you! I am a Marine wife in southern California, stuck here until my husband finishes his enlistment. In the meantime, however, I do my best to cling to rural life. I make my own bread and other things that city girls wouldn't dream of making. I don't even have a yard at my tiny one bedroom apartment, but I have a teeny garden growing in a half whisky barrel in the walkway outside! I can't wait to settle down on a piece of land far from traffic and the hurried lifestyle of southern California, and establish my own little homestead with chickens and an orchard. Never take for granted what you have!!

  26. Redneck city girl2/09/2009 12:36 PM

    I lived in the country form the day after i was born until I was 7 and i ahve lived in the city for 8 years now and my parents have finaly decided that we are going to move back to the country and i am so happy i hate being so close to people in the city its like you have no space to your self. I am not a closterphoic person but the city is making me that way. The odd thing is I am A people person and love to be around people. Congrats on making the change.

  27. Dear Farmgirl,
    i just came across your site in the attempt to search for a healthy blueberry bran recipe. As i left Starbucks this morning with my Earl Grey Tasso tea and coffee cake i decided that would be the last time I would buy a pastry there. I am one of those people that all i can (or want) to eat in the mornings is some carbs, anything else seems to upset my stomach as I am not a morning person. So, i'm very excited to try out your recipe tonight and see if i can make a change in my diet.

    thanks! Your site is very inspiring.

    p.s. I am one of those city girls who dream of one day living on a farm :)

  28. Hi Farmgirl,
    I stumbled upon your site while visiting Sew Mama Sew. I would love to ditch Northern CA for a farm somewhere. I've been sitting in my cubicle of a job for 24 years, and raising two kids with my husband of 20 years. I wonder, how can I buy a farm, work it, but still have income??!!! OH and my daughter plays competitive soccer, yikes. I look forward to visiting your blog daily.

  29. Hello Farmgirl. Just found your blog yesterday. Haven't had a chance to read much, but I'm sure I will enjoy. I too am a city girl that moved back to the country life style after nearly 30 years in the city. I've been back 8 years now. I have often wished that I had kept a journal, because like you said, there is never a dull moment on the farm.

    Even with being raised on a farm and loving country living, it was still a big adjustment to rural life after being away for so long.

    Just hearing about other people experiencing like things is an inspiration. A Texas Girl.

  30. Hi Farmgirl..
    I just found your posts. How come you stopped blogging after 2008?? This is our 1st year raising chickens, layer hens. We live in the mountains of Southern Oregon & have our fair share of predators so they are in a enclosed yard. So far it's been fun & interesting. You learn something every day plus the rewards (eggs) are great!
    Mtn. girl Barb


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love hearing about your experiences with my recipes. Comments on older posts are always welcome!

Please note that I moderate comments, so if I'm away from the computer it may be a while before yours appears.

I try my best to answer all questions, though sometimes it takes me a few days. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your e-visits to our farm!