Sunday, January 15, 2012

Needful Things

There are some clothing items that are essential for living on a farm.  There are also many things that you really need to do without.

First and foremost is a good pair of work gloves.  Don't get the cheap ones.  Don't buy gloves that don't fit your hands.  My personal favorite is buckskin (no, not cheap stiff goatskin).  When we moved out here, I had the perfect pair.  Somehow, they got lost, and I mean vanished without a trace (I seriously suspect that Indy ate them).  So I got another pair, but they're just a hair too big.  My rings always rotate in them when I do heavy work, and it's annoying.  My wonderful hubby got me a brand new pair for Christmas, and they fit well, but I'm hesitant to use them--they're so nice and clean, they smell good . . .and my old ones aren't worn out yet.  They're still good for cleaning chicken poo out of nestboxes (better than barehanded!), keeping some of my more aggressive chooks from drawing blood, and coiling up hoses.

Left to right:  old, new, doggone pink insulated

For colder days, I have an insulated pair of work gloves.  Except for the insulation, I hate them.  They don't fit, they tore after 3 uses (see that hole near the thumb?), and they're PINK.  For some perverse reason, I bought pink that day, but I shouldn't have.  At least they have a longer cuff that fits over my coat sleeve.  Still, you need a well-fitting insulated pair.  I'll be smarter next time.

Seasonal clothing is also a must. If you don't have ski pants and layers of clothes, Carhartts are what you really need to get.  You might choke at the price, but pay it.  They're worth it.  I got Scott a coverall pair last year, and he loves them.  I love them.  It's amazing how quickly cold and damp get to you. 

Summer clothes are pretty open to interpretation when you're doing chores, but I beg of you:  Don't wear ankle bracelets out to the coop. 

An excellent pair of work boots is also a must.  That way, when you try to pin yourself to the ground with a pitchfork, the injury probably isn't as bad.  It's also much better to walk through a horse pen with boots on than flipflops, unless you believe in the healing properties of manure (and if there are any, please let me know!).  They've got to fit well, be easy to put on, and preferably waterproof.  My favorites are my Ariat Terrain H2Os, but since I stabbed a hole in them, they're not waterproof anymore.  Dangit.

Yep, these are said Ariats, on my own personal feet. 
If you look closely, you can see the pitchfork hole on my right foot.

Good jeans goes without saying.  I used to resist the trend towards hoodies, but they really do come in handy on those windy days as an extra layer for body and head.  Insulated or wool socks are also a must for winter.  Wellies (big rubber boots) are a literal necessity for spring, or when it decides to pour in summer (or when you just don't feel like tying your boots).  A slicker for those days is also a wonderful idea.  A husband who is willing to share his Carhartts and slicker is even better. 

Fancy clothes occupy a middle ground.  Yeah, sometimes you've got to leave the farm.  Sometimes you want to impress somebody.  But I've found that the people who I want to be most impressed by me are still impressed when I dress like who I am--not foofy, but farm girl.  Holey work boots and all. 

There are some things that definitely DO NOT work on a farm.  Long fancy nails and poop of any sort (be it kid, horse, cat, dog, or chicken) really don't go together well unless you want to spend days with a nail brush getting the last of the reek out.  And in case you didn't know, birds like to peck at brightly colored things.  I used to do my nails in a variety of interesting colors with sparkles on top, but no more.  Now I just cut em as short as I can and forget the nail polish.

I've already addressed ankle bracelets.  The last time I wore an ankle bracelet out to the coop, Trouble got interested in it.  It was kind of cute until he pecked me bloody.

As stated before, flipflops are a pretty bad idea.  Yeah, they're cool in summer, but just try walking through the horse pen to fix the water trough.  EWW.  Then there's the concept of a horse stepping on you, which could get just about as ugly as getting stepped on wearing steel toed boots.  (For those of you who don't have horses, if you get stepped on in steel toes, the steel bends down and can cut off your own personal toes.) 

I've always loved dangly earrings.  However, farm life really has no room for them.  Either they'll get tangled up somehow (giving your ear a painful yank) or your critters will try to eat them.  Jewelry in general seems to be taboo--you never know when something's going to catch on that ring or who's going to peck at sparkly.  I still wear both of my rings (my wedding ring and my "England ring") but I accept the risk.  My earrings are tiny hoops that, so far, haven't attracted the critters' attention.  At least I have gloves.

Perfume?  Fancy soap?  I think not.  Dial and deodorant work for me.  As a matter of fact, whenever I use a plant-scented shampoo (peach, pomegranate, etc), the horses think my hair smells better than their hay.  They try to eat my hair.  If you've never seen a horse's teeth, that's a serious affair.

I know I've left some other important things out (like a tractor) but hey, I'm a chick.  Deal with it.


  1. I just sewed up a pair of insulated Jerseys this weekend. They aren't quite worn out. Those palm seams sure do rip easy...

    1. You've got that right. And even the insulation on these dang things isn't that good. I come in with numb fingers anyway. Gack.