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Article: I’m a Little Bit Country

andrea richards

I’m a Little Bit Country

littlebitcountryI grew up moving around different suburbs, but my family spent about a month each summer on my grandparent's farm in the Midwest. As a kid, I loved it: playing with the barnyard animals, going with my granddad to get the chicken eggs, picking fresh corn and wild blueberries-and I loved the less picturesque pursuits, too, like shooting fireworks off in buckets and playing pool in the farmhouse's giant basement. Even getting bored felt better there. My cousins and I would spend hot afternoons watching soap operas on TV and fighting over who got to sit in front of the house's only air conditioning unit.

For a kid used to tract homes, country living wasn't comfortable, but what it lacked in luxury it more than made up for in freedom. With my big sister and my four cousins, plus, all the extended family, there were a gaggle of kids, all different ages, and so long as people got their chores done (as one of the youngest, I had hardly any) we were free to roam around and play...on acres of wild lands, not in tidy theme park-style playgrounds. Also, my aunt drove us around in one of those awesome late-'70s vans with a table in the middle of it. I learned all sorts of things eavesdropping on my older cousins as we drove home late at night through the cornfields, all the kids piled up in the back of the van. I've always treasured those summers-and though my grandparents passed away years ago, not a day goes by that I don't miss them. So I'm ecstatic to finally be taking my kids for their first visit to the farm. They are going to meet their own "country cousins," as we visit to celebrate my aunt's 50th wedding anniversary.


At three and one, my kids are way too young to do most of the things I fondly remember (although I will get them both on horses!). But the most important part of this trip is introducing them to their own crew of cousins: people who, due to different circumstances, they won't get to see nearly as often as I did growing up, but who they can still learn a lot from, and love, despite the distance and the differences in our lives. 027297969520Of course, times have changed: I now know more people with chickens here in Los Angeles than any of my family members in the Midwest own. But one thing you can't import with the urban farming fad is the value of having country cousins; friends who know stuff you don't (like how to shoe a horse or trap a raccoon) and take you on all sorts of wild adventures. Want to add a little bit "country" to your baby's nap routine? Lullaby Renditions of Blur has a pretty sweet "Country House" to enjoy. Just give it a listen.


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