Country Girl, City Girl


My folks always had a rule – actually, it was probably more so my Mom’s rule – that there were to be no farm animals in the house for longer than they needed to be there.

Baby goats and lambs requiring some extra TLC under a heat lamp and training to drink goat milk from a pop bottle tended to be in and out in 24 hours – maybe 48. It never seemed to be longer than that, because the babies would perk up and want to jump out of the cardboard box that served as their temporary home.

Box babies became barn babies just about the time they could hop out and take a run for it through the dining room and down the hallway.

Said mom, “Animals belong in the barn,” although sometimes she wondered if her own children didn’t belong out there as well.

How many of you have ever heard a parent say, “What’s the matter – were you born in a barn?” (That was if we didn’t clean up after ourselves!) Then there was, “Sit up to the table – you’re not eating in the barn!” (I think that was mostly because our north-facing dining room window has a perfect view of the barn, and my brothers tended to lean back on their chairs.) And then there’s the saying, “You left the barn door open,” which, as you probably know if you’re a country kid, has absolutely nothing to do with the door on the barn.

Anyway, the story goes that animals are to be in the barn, and humans are to be in the house. At the Buntjer farm, the pets were lumped into the “outside critters” category as well. Cats and dogs did not belong indoors – certainly not to roll on the rug, snooze on the sofa or claw on the chair.

The rule worked fine for many, many years, but then along came my Molly. My parents “adopted” her when I bought my house in town. (I thought bringing her along with me broke some kind of “cruelty to animals” rule.)

Molly loves to run and jump and play. She fetches her rubber chicken, chases rabbits and deer, and barks to her heart’s content down there on the farm. She is also “training” my parents how to raise a completely spoiled pooch.

This winter has been kind of rough on everyone, including my Molly. I’m pretty sure she’s never been cold (she has a dog igloo in the garage filled with straw and her favorite quilt) … she’s just been lonely.

There isn’t a day that passes that she isn’t in the house, under foot (literally – both of my parents have nearly tripped over her), snoozing on “her” rug, eating her breakfast, dinner and supper, and even watching “Wheel of Fortune,” with her adoptive grandparents.

I used to tease my parents that they were just house-training her so she could come and live with me in town. Then, afraid they might actually force the issue (I’ve become like my parents – no pets in the house), I’ve reminded them how much they’d miss my Molly if she wasn’t there every day.

Hopefully Mom remembers that the next time my Molly scratches at the door at 5 a.m., and barks in intervals until said kind-hearted Mom opens the door a crack for the pretty pooch to weasel her way inside.

4 Responses

  1. racelady

    Love your blogs. I can relate to so many of them growing up on the farm, 4-H and everything else that goes with growing up on a farm. I also would like to say THANK -YOU for the great article about Dennis Opdahl in Murray County. It is so nice to read about good things people do, and I a being a 4-H adult volunteer in Murray County makes the article even more special.
    Thanks again Julie

    1. Julie Buntjer

      Thanks for the feedback, racelady, and thanks for volunteering your time to the 4-H program. Dennis is certainly a wonderful 4-H volunteer – I think he serves as quite the inspiration for the rest of us!

  2. Hi Julie! Love your little stories!
    I also know your parents can’t believe I haven’t met the “other” goat lady!
    Come and visit some time….we have babies now!
    Pray for spring!

    1. Julie Buntjer

      Thanks Robyn! I haven’t been called a goat lady since high school … and believe me, it wasn’t cool then! I was just cool before my time, I guess! 🙂
      I’d love to come and visit the baby goats!

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