Sunday, July 31

When? Soon. Living on Country Time

When will you let me out of here?

Life in the country moves at a decidedly slower pace than it does in the city, and that's just fine with me. It's nice to know that when you finally get around to introducing yourself to a neighbor, they don't think it the least bit odd that it's taken you three years to do so.

Everything eventually gets done. It just might not get done in a timely manner.

Along those same lines, people in the country rarely expect to be pinned down to an exact time frame for anything. I completely understand this, as I know how often unexpected delays tend to jump into your way.

We are almost always late for everything, and although you can't get away with the classic, "You wouldn't believe the traffic!" excuse out here, pretty much any other explanation will put you in the clear. Dogs had an armadillo trapped under the camper? Baby goat in the middle of the highway? Triplets born just as you were about to leave the house? I've used them all.

But sometimes you really want to know exactly when something is going to happen, or at least get a rough idea. For instance, you hang up the phone after negotiating the delivery of a load of desperately needed firewood only to realize that the conversation ended with the seller simply saying, "Okay then. We'll be seeing you." Wait. Wait. When? You have been given absolutely no clue.

I quickly learned the subtle art of casually inquiring as to when something might be expected to happen. And no matter what the situation, I would receive the same answer: "In a bit."

"So, um, when do you think you'll have that tire fixed?"

"Oh, in a bit."

"What time did you say you expect her home?"

"Well, let's see now. She should be back in a bit."

"And you figure you'll be bringing over that firewood when?"

"In a bit."

At first I thought I was getting somewhere. And then I realized that "a bit" has absolutely no set real-time definition. From what I have been able to figure out over the past 11 years, it can mean anything from 30 minutes to a week and a half. But as I said, everything does get done—eventually.

So why am I explaining all of this? Because lately I have come to realize that I have wholeheartedly adopted this handy, yet often irritating, vagueness. Only I don't say "in a bit." I say "soon." It's my standard answer to when I'm going to do something, and I use it quite often, including on this blog.

And so, for the sake of those who do not run on country time and are wondering, say, when in the heck I am going to get around to writing out the rest of those bread baking tips, or finally posting a recipe I promised I would share, I feel I should clarify what exactly I mean by "soon." Let's figure anywhere from an hour to a couple of weeks, with "very soon" definitely falling closer to the one hour mark.

And if it takes me longer than that? Well, you know I'll have a great excuse—and it won't have anything to do with the traffic. See you soon.

©, never on time, always with a story.


  1. who is the sweetie?

  2. I love it. I think everyone does that. My husband time frame of 'now' is different than mine. My now is imediatly, while his could be up to an hour from "now". It caused problems, until I figured out the time frame. Makes me relax a bit more.
    I love your 'excuses'!
    We'll wait for the bread tips!

  3. Farmgirl, that was so much fun to read!! I tell my children " in a little bit honey" on a daily basis, and my oldest has started to catch on. Remember that no country life is complete without using the grandaddy of vague country one liners at least once a day " over yonder"!!! Even if you have no idea where what your looking for is, "over younder" is appropriate , since nobdy knows where "over yonder" actually is!!!!

  4. LOL!
    I say 2 minutes to casey all the time! or in a sec ha! soon is much better *grin*

  5. I'll use "in a jiffy" for anything I plan to do in the next 15 minutes to within a week. For anything I have no intention of doing for a week or so I dig deep into my cultural heritage and use "maƱana".

  6. You all are too nice! My answer is more along the lines of "What's your f***in' hurry?" or "When I *bleepin'* get around to it." But see, no kids in my house -- just a patient husband who's figured out If You Want Something Done Now, Do It Yourself. :)
    Farmgirl: are you Locavoring this month? In a way, I don't see how you can help but.

  7. Hi Leigh,
    That sweetie is Alison, and does she have the most beautiful eyes, or what? Every time I look at her, I am struck by them. She was born in the spring of 2004 to Frederica, an excellent ewe who absolutely hates me. This year Alison was gave birth to a gorgeous, healthy girl named Bella. I thought she was going to have twins, as it seriously looked like she was carrying around two bowling balls in her middle, but just little Bella popped out.

    Glad you got the "now" thing figured out with your husband! As for my excuses--they're all true! : )

    Hi Cara,
    Thanks so much. And I can't believe I didn't know about "over yonder." That is definitely going to get some use around here! Sounds like the perfect answer to practically everything you can't say "soon," too! Thanks! : )

    Definitely switch to "soon,"--or some of these other good ones. You're limiting yourself with the "2 minute" thing. Think vague.

    Monkey Gland,
    You've got it figured out. And two more good ones for me to try out! : )

    Sounds like you've got things pretty well under control. : )

    Gosh, I didn't realize that Locavoring was a verb. But we're a little slow out here. : ) Yep, I pretty much can't help eating local when there's a garden in the backyard and freezers on the porch full of meat born and raised on the farm--and the closest grocery store is 32 miles away (and we're not talking Wild Oats, here--for oh, say, fresh parsley, I'd have to drive even further).

    I should really pay more attention this month to where the other things I buy are from, though. I think it's a neat idea for everyone to at least try to do in some little way.

    If you want to read some staggering figures about the monetary effects of buying local, head over to She wrote a brief post recently on that subject. Very inspiring.

  8. Hi Leigh (and everybody else),
    Oops! Made a little wooly mistake. That sheep in the photo is Annette, not Alison. Everything else about her is right, though. : )

    P.S. Alison is the one who makes an appearance in my very first blog post, An Unexpected Beginning.

  9. I can totally identify with this post! In my small hometown in India the word for "day before yesterday" can refer to events that happened anywhere from the day before yesterday to a decade ago. I remember how that used to confuse relatives from bigger cities :)

  10. I understand your country time...I live in the country too, only my farm consists of turf grass - no farm animals (I'm quite jealous). I do get to use the occasional "Alligator in my way" excuse though as we do have some of those. I truly enjoy your blog! Thank you!

  11. I loved reading your post. I live in a big city but am lucky enough to spend my summer's in Ontario's cottage country were I have learned over the years that the locals are on a different schedule, their own not mine. I got used to it and it no longer bother's me when they say, "well be out as soon as possible", which could be anytime. Mostly it's okay except when the water pump or something important breaks down. Oh well, that's life.

  12. Miss Farmgirl,
    I get it about "in a bit"...and "soon". Well I have a very busy husband who I only see once in a blue moon and I jump through hoops like it is our honeymoon everytime I see him. However, the last time we corresponded via IM no matter what I said, sexy or otherwise he kept saying the same thing.....SOON. Not a "soon" like he was eager to see me, but more of a "whatever" kind of soon. I just have this empty feeling in the pit of my stomach...the one you have when you are not going to see someone for a long time or ever again.....or mayabe a am just one of his many duties...and he will just get to me "soon".


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.

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