At the Farm and Fleet…


One of the most worthless things on the planet are rubber boots with holes in both.

I own a pair and, well, there’s nothing worse than squishy toes when the mud is so nice and ripe for mucking around in.

Because we’re not out of the woods yet in this whole winter thing.  And that’s ok. We need the moisture, and I need a few more chances to learn my lesson about mud.

Anyway, so I need a new pair of rubber boots, which gives me a good excuse to go to the Farm and Fleet store.

I love the Farm and Fleet store. Any Farm and Fleet store there is, I don’t care. There’s just something about the racks of work gloves, the spring seeds, the paint, the plethora of barn jackets, long underwear, dog kennels, tack and brushes, fly spray, heat lamps, medicine, fencing supplies, tools, generators, extension cords, lawn furniture and toy farm animals that make me feel like anything’s possible.

I could spend hours browsing and dreaming of a perfectly organized tack room, or a summer spent in a light, long sleeved snap shirt and this cute Carhart cap right here.

In Farm and Fleet I become another woman in my head. The kind of woman who would raise chickens in a coop built with all these damn supplies and tools surrounding me!

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 8.46.35 PM

I’m the kind of woman who would raise and feed those chickens to collect farm fresh eggs for farm fresh omelets on any old regular weekday morning.

I am the kind of woman who could butcher one of those chickens to fill our freezer and then take it out to whip up a batch of delicious homemade noodle soup or chicken and dumplings if we happen to have unexpected company.

Boiling Chicken

In the Farm and Fleet store I am the kind of woman who wears an apron and shoes her own horses.

In the Farm and Fleet my horse becomes something better too. Better groomed. No burs. Never even saw one in his life because he exists in our perfectly weather proof stable. His hair shines like the sun because, well, Show Sheen! In the Farm and Fleet I’m the kind of woman who buys it buy the barrel.

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 9.02.07 PM

That and fancy tack. The kind with silver on it. Because, well, at the Farm and Fleet, only the best for my horse with the Fabio hair.

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 9.00.13 PM

In the Farm and Fleet store I am redecorator. A barn painter. A farmer with a garden that could feed the neighborhood.

And I can everything. Like meat and beets and corn and carrots. Because at Farm and Fleet you can buy a book that will show you how to do it.

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 8.48.28 PM

And when I’m done canning, I will train my dog to herd the cattle into a nice group and load them up into the stock trailer on command. Because there’s a book for that at Farm and Fleet too.


Then I’ll buy myself a nice pair of leather gloves, because a woman needs a good pair that fits for all the fences I’ll be fixing… for all the weeds I’ll be killing…for all the dirt that needs tilling and the piglets I’ll be raising…  and the mud I’ll be slopping around in this spring…

Because a woman like me, well, she…oh yeah…she needs new rubber boots…








IMG_1157IMG_1155   IMG_1163 IMG_1166 IMG_1167 IMG_1169

We’re like the water

We’ve got mud here people. It’s official.

And never has a girl been so happy to see this slop and slush and muck. I’ve have enthusiastically switched from snowshoes and boots with three inch insulation to those of a muck variety and I have no intention of dodging or jumping or leaping over any puddles or rushing streams.

I have every intention of stepping in as much of the stuff as I can.

Because we have mud people.

We have mud and blue skies

and a bug on my backpack

and magic sunshine that is turning those white drifts into rivers in places rivers only exist for a few short days during this time of year.

The time between winter and the full on sprouting, buzzing heat wave of spring. The time where the snow still peeks through the trees, the wind still puts a flush in your cheeks, birds are still planning their flights back home and the crocuses haven’t quite popped through the dirt.

My favorite time of year.

When I was a little girl I lived for the big meltdown. My parent’s home is located in a coulee surrounded by cliffs of bur oak and brush where a creek winds and babbles and bubbles and cuts through the banks. And that creek absolutely mystified me. It changed all the time, depending on rainfall, sunshine and the presence of beavers or cattle.

In the summer it was lively enough, home to bugs that rowed and darted on the surface of the water and rocks worn smooth by the constant movement of the stream flowing up to the big beaver dam I would hike to daily. In the typical North Dakota fall it became a ribbon carrying on and pushing through oak leaves and acorns that had fallen in its path. In winter it slowed down and slept while I shoveled it’s surface to make room for twists and turns on my ice skates.

But in the meltdown it was magical. It rushed. It raged. It widened in the flat spaces and cut deep ravines where it was forced to squeeze on through. It showed no mercy. It had to get somewhere. It had to open up. It had to move and jump and soak up the sun and wave to the animals waking up.

And I would follow it. I would become obsessed. I would step out on the back deck and at the first sound of water moving in the silence of our backyard I would pull on my boots and get out there to meet it, to walk with it, to search for the biggest waterfalls and gawk at how it would scream out of its banks and marvel at how it changed.

I would be out there for hours.  Around every bend was something a little more amazing–a fallen log to cross, a narrow cut to jump over, a place to test the water-proof capacity of my green boots. The creek runs through multiple pastures on the place and as long as the daylight would allow I would move right along with it for the miles it skipped along and then return home soaked and flushed and refreshed and completely and utterly exhausted.

And then I would do the same thing the next day. Because even as a kid I knew this magical time was fleeting. I knew the creek wouldn’t always act this outrageously marvelous so I had to get out there…because someone had to see this. And at that time, and still to this day, there are places on that creek that very few people have ever been.

But I was one of them. I was one of them and that creek was performing for me.  Oh, I remember feeling so secret. So special and lucky to have this show in my backyard. And although I loved summer and all the warmth and sunshine and green grass it brought with it, I never wanted this early spring witching hour to end.

I vividly remember a dream I had about the creek when I was about 10 or 11. I dreamed the creek behind my house was huge, like a river you would find in the mountains–a river I had yet to discover at that time. The landscape the creek wound through was the same in real life as it was in my dream–the oaks and the raspberries existed there–but the water was warmer and crystal clear and it pooled up at the bottom of huge and gentile waterfalls that rolled over miles of smooth rocks and fluffy grass. And I was out in it with friends I had never met before as an adult woman with long legs and arms and we were swimming in its water and letting the current push us over the waterfalls and along the bottom of the creek bed until we landed  in the deep water where we would float for a while and then launch ourselves out for another run. And we were laughing and screaming with anticipation for where that water was going to take us. But we were never afraid. We were never cold or worrying about getting home for dinner or what our bodies looked like in our bathing suits.

We were free. I was free. And the water was rushing.

We may never know if there is a heaven while we are here on this very volatile and fragile earth, but that there could be that much water and that much power and change rolling through our backyards and then one day we wake up to find that it has just quietly moved on and out and along still mystifies me to this day.

That there are snowbanks that fly in with the burning chill of winter’s wind and reach up over my head and stay for months on end only to  disappear in one day with the quiet strength of the sun is extraordinary for lack of a more powerful word.

That the water in my creek is made from the snow that fell from the sky in early November and is currently rushing around the trees, settling in hoof prints, being lapped up by coyotes and splashed in by geese and sinking in the earth and changing it forever is something that makes me believe in something.

…like perhaps we are like that drop that fell from above,  afraid of the mystery that was waiting for us as we hurtled through the atmosphere only to find when we finally hit the earth that we are not one drop alone in this world…

…we are the water.