"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a farm and live entirely surrounded by cows–and china." Charles Dickens

January 2, 2011


Farming is not something out of the pages of a magazine, although old stuff and a big country kitchen helps. A lot. Here are some of the things I've learned so far in the past few years on our farm:
  • On a farm nothing happens overnight, except for frost.
  • When it first frosts, Johnson grass produces cyanide so you can't let your cows near it for at least 24-hours. Fortunately, a nice neighbor told us this.
  • Doublewides are not (technically) trailers, but they're not real houses, either. [But the local water department and everyone else calls them trailers.]
  • Young fawns are all too easily maimed or killed by haying equipment. Soft-hearted, but insane, farmers care for injured deer, much to their joy and, sometimes, sorrow.
  • Free-range chickens are adorable, until they poop all over your porch.
  • When a neighbor says 'you be careful!' as you're leaving, they're not cautioning you about a hillbilly hit. It's a nice, friendly form of 'goodbye.' [But 'you come back when you're ready' is really less obtuse.]
  • Clean cattle tanks make excellent places for a good cool bathe in a pinch.
  • Robert Frost was right: Good fences do make good neighbors. But he didn't say anything about when those fences are moved without permission or boundary lines are altered on maps.
  • If you throw on an apron when someone is coming to the door, it goes very far towards tidying up.
  • If you wear an apron around the farm, you don't have to wear a bra.
  • Biscuits and sausage gravy make the best breakfast––and easy to make (the biscuits and the gravy, both). I can't believe it took me 45 years to even learn of this combination!
  • Supper at 10pm is not uncommon during hay season when every ounce of daylight is utilized. [And fortunately, this is my more 'manic' time of year.]
  • Boys love tractors. So do their fathers.
  • A mud room is a must-have on a farm, ideally with a shower, or at least a nearby fire hose.
  • The sound of absolute silence is absolutely lovely.
  • It's great to have neighbors, but it's even nicer when they can't see you.
  • If I didn't have satellite internet I could probably not be a farmwife. On a quiet ridge. In Kentucky.


  1. Loved your list Catherine! My favorite - - Free-range chickens are adorable, until they poop all over your porch - - isn't that the truth and even more true if you are talking about geese :)


  2. The bit about an apron meaning you don't have to wear a bra made me smile. You are optimistic and I like that.

  3. Hi Catherine! Love your new blog! It will be fun following you in your adventures in farm-wifery! Many blessings to you this new year!
    hugs honey!
    Ruthann (aka Aunt Ruthie)
    Sugar Pie Farmhouse

  4. Hi, Catherine. Great start to the new blog! I hope you'll be giving us the full story on the deer...and that it's not as much like 'The Yearling' as I fear it might be.

  5. Thanks, all! Yes, I promise deer stories, but not necessarily on the blog in full form (sorry to be coy).

    Aunt Ruthie, I just loved your holiday posts. I could just MOVE INTO that beautiful house (and pantry) of yours!


  6. What a hoot! I loved the whole thing and got several chuckles out of it. Does an apron go with blue chambray workshirts and jeans? If so, I'm getting one and discarding the bra. LOVE it.


  7. Of course they do, Joberta! Perfect for wiping your hands on, too, and invaluable in the kitchen. I even use the pockets for eggs.

    I'm not one of these cocktail-half-apron-wearing-retro-weenies that wear aprons to look cute or farmgirlish. I enjoy the practical bibbed farm aprons, like the Mennonites wear. It's like a domestic goddess uniform of sorts!

    They're like Lanz nightgowns: not sexy at all but so practical and cozy.

    ~ C

  8. I mean eggs from the henhouse, of course -- not cracked IN the pockets.

  9. You, are the BEST! AND you're amazing! And we should start a club for "bib farm apron wearers" They ARE domestic goddess uniforms! I wear mine proudly everyday! xo

  10. You know what would be even more fun, Melissa? If you came to my cottage/pantry-warming party in February (with your apron!)! I know how busy you are but is there any chance you could come down for a long weekend? Maybe you could even bring Andrew! I haven't set the date yet.

    You could even STAY at the cottage! We're an easy drive to Louisville or Lexington or Cincinnati (or even Nashville).

    Think about it!

  11. Hi Catherine, I just read, "I guess this must be the place" and so enjoyed your thoughts on the "homeplace"....I understand your love affair with Kentucky, and especially Granny's farm..I am Roxanne's daughter-in-law..that place is as special as she is, just magical. I fell in love with the periwinkle spring the first time my husband brought me there...there is a calm there that is medicinal. I'm so happy that you live there, and that you love it so. I know there are many watchful spirits keeping track of your progress, you can be sure of that. Take care and enjoy yourself...I'm jealous!!! Fondly, Tara

  12. Thank you Tara! I didn't realize that Roxanne had a daughter-in-law and we've never met your husband, either. Are you both in Connecticut? It's so nice to have the endorsement of your family in our tenure here, even though we've made some major changes (but all good ones in the cottage, forever known as "Ida's house" no matter how we try to say otherwise).

    We have not moved into the cottage but probably will this summer (it has a better more efficient AC unit than our doublewide and it's farm central where I want to be for the action). I've only spent a few nights there. However, our daughter has stayed there on her visits and this last trip she swears it is haunted (but not in a bad way)! Anything to that? (you can email me if you'd rather at info@CatherinePond.com)

    Also, I've not heard from Roxanne or Bob in sometime and hope they are ok.

    Happy 2012 and come visit if you're ever in Kentucky~

    All best, Catherine

  13. Hello, Catherine,
    I am joy-filled to stumble upon your lovely blog about your life in midlfe! You have a wonderful way of "telling it as it is!" while gathering and sharing the various gifts from your journey. I have recently published a book for people in midlife and beyond who want to deepen their sense of Self during these years. Thus, I am especially appreciative of what you are offering here. Your blog captures so much of what is so easy to miss or to discard in the typical midlife frenzy to "do it all" before time is up! While reading your lovely posts, I am also enjoying my connection with Kentucky. My mother's roots were in southern Kentucky. I was there this past spring to visit cousins and to take a class in Dulcimer playing.
    I hope your personal example of BE-ing in life will inspire many other midlifers on their journeys through this powerful and transformative period in life!
    Thank you, again, for the gift of this site. With best wishes, MarthaElin, a Kentucky "cousin"

  14. for the bra... I was fortunate to find Decent Exposures in seattle Washington...they do mail order. These unbras are as great as my boots from muck boot company, my leatherman's tool, and turtle fur items. look them up you wont be sorry!


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