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Funny 'new to the country' stories Expand / Collapse
Posted 6/22/2008 5:47:42 PM

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Okay, everyone--why don't we share some "getting our feet wet in the country" stories with one another. I can't wait to read what you post!

One of our earliest rural-living faux pas happened a few days after we moved from Northern Indiana to very rural Minnesota. It was early January and a very snowy year, so the white stuff was already pretty deep when we arrived.

Well, actually I was involved in two deep snow country blunders within the first few days.

Background: there was already a crust on the snow about six inches under the newer, fluffy stuff (although we didn't know that), and our little farmette was on the edge of a woods. So, I decided I wanted to explore the woods. I got out about 500 yards from the house before breaking through the crust. Suddenly I was mid-thigh in snow! No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get back on top of the crust again and I was one tired puppy when I made it back to the house.

Fast-forward to a few days later. We were driving to town in our truck, marveling about how wide the country roads were. Then John turned a corner and we fell very sideways into a ditch. We didn't know Minnesota snow plows have "wings" that shoot the snow back about six to seven feet from the roadway, so the road looks like a rural super highway but the smooth areas at the sides cover the side of the road, not the actual roadway. This is to move snow back as far as possible to allow additional snow to be winged off the roads all winter long.

So there we were with our truck at a slant in a deep ditch--and had we the presence of mind to put a snow shovel in the bed before heading to town? Noooo.

The Good Thing was that another truck happened along and with great difficulty and with us pushing for all we were worth, the nice man driving it somehow pulled us out of the ditch. He turned out to be our first friend in Minnesota and one of the nicest people I've ever known. His name was Myles Hartl. He's gone now but what a wonderful person he was. That set the stage for our 22 years in Minnesota--a great place where strangers went out of their way to help one another.

After that, we always carried a chain in our truck to return the favor when other people skidded off of the road. The beauty was, no one ever expected to be paid. It was just part of living in rural Minnesota.


Post #1500
Posted 6/25/2008 12:55:41 PM

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Oh, I have a good one! The nice couple who sold us our five-acre farm about twenty years ago were quarter horse breeders who showed their horses and competed in all sorts of western events. They had way too many horses (the whole place had been overgrazed), and when I told them that my dream was to -- finally! -- have my very own horse once we got settled on the farm, they kindly offered to throw in a two year old registered quarter horse gelding. How could I say no, with visions of me racing across the fields on my beautiful (free!) steed dancing in my head?

Unfortunately, although I'd done trail riding and taken a few lessons along the way, I was still very much a green rider (and an extremely green horse owner), while Mac was a green equine youngster: untrained except to halter and lead, unpredictable, and spooky. Classic mistake, and I should have known better. There's a saying in the horse world that I think goes: "Green plus green equals black and blue."

Anyway, the day we moved in, I went out with my bucket of new grooming supplies, caught Mac up, and tied his lead rope to a hitching post. I started grooming him, breathing in and relaxing to that horsey scent I so loved. Suddenly something -- I don't know what -- startled him and he began pulling back with all his might. I had tied a quick-release knot in the rope, but didn't even have a chance to reach for it, it all happened so fast. As I watched in horror, the metal clip on the rope snapped and 800 pounds of horse -- my brand new horse! -- flipped over backwards onto the grass with a huge thunk.

I thought for sure I'd killed him, but Mac just scrambled to his feet and dug into the grass with gusto, as if nothing had happened. I, however, was shaking and feeling like my pounding heart was going to explode.
I spent lots of money and time on training Mac over the next years, but we finally ended up selling him (and crying our eyes out). He was just too inexperienced and spooky for me. My current horse is 20 plus and although she has plenty of get-up-and-go, she has never spooked while tied and flipped over, thank goodness


Post #1508
Posted 6/25/2008 1:45:15 PM

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Ah, I must remember that: green + green = black and blue. What an appropriate saying!

I thought of another learning experience I'd like to share. A few years ago we wormed our sheep with Levisole, the kind in powder form that must be mixed with water and given as a drench. When we were finished there was some left; John took it in the house and I pretty much forgot about it.

Background: we both got hooked on bubbly mineral water when we lived in Minnesota but the only kind we can find down here is Perrier. Considering the cost, we save it for special treats. However, Perrier comes in nice, sturdy, dark green liter glass bottles that I reuse by filling them with home-filtered water with fresh lemon juice added and this is what I guzzle as an everyday refresher.

The day after worming the sheep, I reached into the refrigerator, grabbed a Perrier bottle and glugged a huge slug. ACK! My first thought was, "That lemon has gone bad!" Then I looked closer and in tiny lettering on the label, John had written "Levisole".

I immediately Googled Levisole, then hied myself to the bathroom, tossed a handful of salt down my throat (because I have an incredibly hard time making myself throw up), and hugged the porcelain throne for the next ten minutes.

Lesson: never, never, never put toxic items in food containers, especially containers you might dig into without looking at too closely.

Needless to say, John will never live this down.


Post #1509
Posted 9/5/2008 6:04:29 AM
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I won't have any new to the country stories, but I've been told a few.

I did a job for a guy who moved here 3 years ago. Just after he moved in, a local farmer stopped in to say hi. The two sat down for coffee at the dinner table and the Farmer ask,

        "Jeff, did you get your turkey?"

Jeff smiles and responds,

        "Yea, we got a great deal.  Tammy had a coupon from the A&P." Local farmer gives him a look and says.

       "You don't hunt do you?" Here in the Sticks, you have the first days of deer season off. The local stores a closed. So " Did you get your deer." Is a standard greating. Women who don't hunt, "Did your husband get his deer?"  Is also to be expected.

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