Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
In order to earn this Lend a Hand to Farm Families Merit Badge (helping a farm family by donating six hours of my time, either in feeding their animals or cleaning up around the farm), I first had to find a farm family. Driving around slowly through the countryside is nice and all, but at the price of gas these days, not conducive to a girl’s budget. Why, just the other day, I had to hang out the window at the pump and shout at the gas station attendant to shut it off before he spent my unborn children’s college fund. Also, driving around in slow motion staring at country houses made me feel like I was an escaped lunatic, casing the joint.
So, I switched tactics and started …
… asking around. Me, being new to the farmgirl life, well, I just don’t have many country mouse friends yet, but I was hoping maybe one of my city mouse pals would, and I could, er, borrow one, so to speak. I mean, they’d be getting a pretty good perk out of it, too, right? Nothing to feel weird about.
Finally, a friend of a friend of a friend had an aunt who knew a guy whose sister had a stepbrother who owned a farm! Success! And not just any farm, but a farm that had horses.
Horses … ! Swoon.
My girlhood fantasies of all things equestrian and whinnying was about to come true. I could picture it now: hours spent racing over meadows, my hair in the breeze, brushing and grooming my mighty steed’s mane into beaded braids, adventures, blue ribbons, and that special connection only a girl and her horse can understand.
And those of us who have watched National Velvet more than four dozen times.
The friend of a friend of a friend with the aunt who knew the guy whose sister had a stepbrother who owned the farm seemed a little taken aback by my out-of-the-blue phone call, but once I explained I was offering my services for absolutely nothing except the good karma (well, okay, and maybe I weaseled one horseback ride in there somewhere), we were golden. Good to go. Full steam ahead. All ashore who are going ashore.
I picked a hot Saturday, thinking I might as well get some vitamin D if I was going to be working outside all day. The farmer and his family met me outside on their porch, and shucks, if they weren’t the cutest things I’d seen all day. They all shook hands with me and offered me some iced tea. I am loving this country hospitality! The only one who seemed unsure of me was the littlest girl, who kept giving me the stink eye as she munched on a piece of alfalfa in her toddler-sized overalls. I think she saw through my gesture of goodwill, to my burning desire to steal her pony. My dreams of mane braiding and meadow riding were dashed when I learned I’d be mucking out stalls. Even the word “muck” brought about a sense of dread.
On the flip side, it was an excellent upper-body workout, and I think I’m ready for tank-top season now. And if Sea Biscuit got a bit of a makeover during my iced tea break, well, no harm done.
Going back tomorrow for my promised pony ride!