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Behind the Scenes: Where City Girls go to "die"


I used to be the country girl. - Until the Farmer burst my bubble.

Let’s just be honest - life detours can be great. However - most often, they result in steep learning curves which are ever-helpful for growth, and ever diminishing to our comforts.


Just a little change of scenery....I didn't grow up in the city, but I was working downtown when we moved here.

Currently, I’m on the Farm-Wife learning curve. It’s steep. And sometimes uncomfortable.

But it has become my greatest joy in the last few years.


This week we’re going behind-the-scenes when “country” girl met farmer boy and a Vlog to show you I haven’t arrived yet ;)


When I was young, I lived on a U of M horticultural ‘farm’ where my Dad worked. I was around plants all the time. Honey Crisp apple anyone? -My Dad helped make that. Of all my friends, I was the furthest out, with the biggest “yard”, and fields instead of neighbors on 3 of 4 sides. Our garden was roughly the size of Texas, and the woods was just a short walk away.


Hard at work with my dad


My friends were city girls. They were the ones who looked for a stone well with a bucket when they heard our water didn't come from a tower.

They were the ones who **gasped** over the existence of trees and a clothesline in my yard. They were the ones who couldn’t BELIEVE we had to drive 15 minutes to the grocery store.


So there I was - living my best life - the country girl.





Enter - Jonathan.


Jonathan grew up on the family dairy farm in Caledonia MN where we live now. He left for a few years to go to college in the Minneapolis area where we met (lucky me!). Let me tell you… farm kids are a different breed yo’! ...His farm boy life looked nothing like my “country girl” identity and our worlds would soon collide.







*Hoping* to impress my new farm boy crush-quaintance, I was thrilled to have something in “common” with him. I invited him out to see my “farm” with a few college friends. My house was the house of country adventure - where my friends came to make forts and get dirty. As far as I knew, everyone loved my country house. It was sure to impress him. - Right? Wrong.


You can imagine the deflation of my sails leading to my utter flabbergastation when Jonathan, in his utterly kind, farm boy flirtation, informed me that “This,” pointing around my yard, “Is not the country.” “That,” pointing to the paved highway that bordered my yard on two sides, “is a highway.” .“You need to come to MY country,” he told me.

Wait... what? That was NOT the reaction I was looking for.


In three sentences, he took apart my entire childhood perception of who I was: The country girl.

“Well that will never happen!” I flirted back. I didn’t even know where Caledonia was, but it sounded far away, and I doubted that I’d be road tripping to a random boy’s farm any time soon. Great. My plan flopped.



Little did I know, that little did he care, where I grew up.

I probably would have had a heart attack if I knew that weeks before, Jonathan told his roommate that he met a girl who he thought he could marry. He wasn’t talking about a different girl at school…. He was talking about ME!


*Spoiler Alert* fast forward 4 years of dating, 11 years of marriage, 9 years of farm living and 3 kids later, and I’m STILL learning what a *true* country girl looks like. Either I’m super dense, or country life is a lot more complicated than my simplistic childhood idea. Either way - it’s been a great ride.



I’d say I’m doing alright on this learning curve… most days.

Sometimes I have to laugh when the city girl comes out and I realize I’m still getting used to this. ...Like when I accidentally get a farmer's tan. Or when Menards is considered a date destination…. Or when we eat dinner at 8:30 p.m. Or 16 hour summer work days.

Life on the farm is just different.


There is one job that I’m STILL not used to though: Moving ‘calves’ out to pasture. (By calves, I mean 11, 600 pound animals) Last time I checked, I weighed less than 600 pounds.

It is laughable because it’s totally normal for a farm kid to do this job. However - you take a non-farm kid, tell them to stand unprotected in a field, and then CHASE 6,600 pounds of anything directly toward them and just see what happens.


I didn’t used to be *as* nervous about this job… Until the year that an adult cow broke Jonathan’s ribs a few weeks before we moved calves.


Have you ever tried to run with broken ribs?

How about super fast, jerky movements to protect yourself from said 6,600 pounds of sprinting crazies? *Super* easy with broken ribs. - Especially when you can’t even walk, talk, breathe, or sleep without cringing pain.


It was this broken-ribs year that the calves held a meeting where they concluded that under no circumstances would they cooperate in any way shape or form.

Their organized obstinance was unbelievable - EVEN to Jonathan and his Dad.


And here is me - with a little baby - watching my husband’s already broken body be cow-whipped by uncontrollable beasts. (PTSD anyone?)

I don’t even know how many hours we tried to get them to cooperate that year. Finally, we crafted a square pen with gates, put a couple wild, writhing cows in the pen at a time, and then heaved the pen down the driveway to the pasture. (Try heavy lifting next time you break your ribs and let me know how that goes.)


Needless to say, that year left its mark on me. Jonathan totally doesn’t get it one tiny little bit. In proofing this blog entry, he (kindly) chuckled at me, and I’m sure (subconsciously) affirmed his city-girl title of me from 15 years ago.


I guess I’m ok with that - because he picked me regardless of my title.

For now, I’ll just keep taking another step up this Farm Wife learning curve… and I thought I’d bring you along on the “adventure” - Where city girls go to die :)





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Caledonia, MN 

612-619-3256

elisabeth.gerdes@gmail.com

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