Though I was always raised in large cities, when I was growing up I longed for the life of a small town, country girl.
When my parents gave me “The Little House on the Prairie” series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, you could probably say my longing turned to obsession.
As a young girl, I read and re-read those books countless times. I fantasized what it would be like to “live off the land” and have only two or three handmade dolls.
My sweet mother let me loose in the kitchen where I tried to learn to bake bread, which was an utter disaster. I wandered through the woods near our home and spent hours imagining what it would be like to have no electricity or telephones. Yes, I was a different child.
When Paul and I married and moved to Forsyth County in 1990, I secretly thought my past obsession might be coming true. I loved that we would see tractors driving down Post Road; there were farms everywhere.
While Cumming was certainly a far cry from Atlanta back then, it was hardly the remote “country” I dreamed of. It was the country in the sense that Dominos Pizza didn’t deliver and the man that lived behind us had cows. But I didn’t live on a farm and still possessed all of the creature comforts I had always had.
It wasn’t long before the “boom” began that resulted in all of us living in one of the wealthiest and fastest growing counties in the country. Now I jokingly say we are trendsetters; we moved here and the country followed us.
Recently I crossed a few things off of my bucket list that tend to be part of my “country lover” self. The first thing was learning to can, or “put things up,” as they used to say. I don’t know why this always intimidated me, but it did.
My tiny garden produced an amazing amount of cucumbers and tomatoes this year, and I found myself with so many I needed to either open up a vegetable stand or learn how to can.
I phoned my friend Lenore to tell her of my dilemma. She told me to come on over, so I happily grabbed my cucumbers and went. Lenore is such a kind and patient soul, she taught me the process and answered all of my questions. After a few hours, I felt confident to try it on my own. My friends think I am crazy, but I love canning.
Another fun “country” activity I had never done was picking blueberries. Imagine my surprise and delight when I received an invitation from my new friend Melody inviting me to come to her property and pick blueberries. My husband, who grew up in the country, happily accompanied me.
I was mindful that the blueberry bushes were in prime looking snake territory, but I pretended to be a brave country girl who was not afraid of snakes. Luckily, my act worked and the snakes stayed away.
We picked delicious berries for a few hours and ended up with a plethora of the blue gems. I raced home to make blueberry jam, which I intend to take to my friends who are helping me with my country girl dream.
If anybody else has any suggestions, please feel free to let me know. Thanks again, Lenore and Melody.
Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at email@example.com.