The Growing Up Country Series is in collaboration with Tatum Evans of Woodsy Wife. To see more from her, be sure to subscribe to her website and follow her on Facebook. Catch up on the previous posts here: Part One and Part Two
Dirty feet. Homegrown food. Tractors in fields. The smell of cow manure. Running barefoot. Backroad truck bed rides. Hot wind. Wild apple trees. Swimming in the pond. Singing birds. Spring peepers. Lightning bugs. Green.
When I think about what has shaped me, what has made me the hopeful homesteader I am today, I can without a doubt attribute most of it to my upbringing. As I've talked about in Part One and Part Two of this series, my childhood was pretty wonderful, and for that I do feel really blessed. I was raised a country kid, a kid who explored, who wandered, who played. It has formed me into who I am; it has shaped my worldviews, my lifestyle choices, and my future plans.
When D and I had begun to discuss what was pulling us back to the country, one of our biggest reasons was to be able to give our children the childhood that we had. We wanted them to be able to go for four-wheeler rides, to ride in the back of the truck bed around the block, to grow the food that sat at their table, and to be free to play and explore the world around them. We wanted them to fall asleep to the spring peepers like we did, to be able to go visit grandma and grandpa just down the road like we did, and to fall in love with the country lifestyle like we did.
When I think of my childhood, from my adult eyes looking back, I see what a blessing it was to grow up that way. So much of what I know now came from that upbringing. My mom taught me how to grow food, how to cook and preserve that food, how to run a household, and how to love deeply. My dad taught me how to drive a four-wheeler, how to identify different trees and animal tracks, and how to make the earth a playground. As a mother, I try to help my own children with those same skills my parents taught me, like their parents taught them, and theirs before them. I teach them how planting a seed can create food which sustains our life. I bring B and C into the kitchen with me, like my mother did with me, showing them how to prepare and preserve that food that we have grown. As we walk through the forest, I point out different tree species to my children, helping them learn to identify the trees that we see. We search the ground for tracks and scat, trying to find out who had walked this same path before us. My husband teaches them how to harvest an animal, and I teach how to give thanks for that life that was given. We go to "Nana and Bumpa"''s house, just like we had done, where everything and anything goes, just like it had for us.
This is the way that the past lives on. This is the way to create something beautiful. By teaching our children what we have learned from our parents, and they from theirs, we continue to pass on the traditions of living off of the land. Of living with nature. Of our ancestors. The lifestyle continues, sustainability continues, and learning how to live on this earth continues.
Growing up country has made me who I am and is molding my children to be who they will be. Growing up country has taught me to live- and for that I'll forever be grateful.
Be sure to read Tatum's story and how her life has been shaped by "Growing Up Country" on her blog over at Woodsy Wife.
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