We are continuing our "Meet the Farmer" series with a glimpse into my years as a teenager. If you missed the first three installments in the series, you can catch up by reading about the first seven years that were spent on a little homestead, then the next five years on the farm, and my brother's memories from those years on the farm as well.
The teen years were my least favorite years of childhood. In fact, I would love it if I could just skip those years, but they also served to mold and make me into the person that I am today. We moved away from the farm as I reached my teen years, and no longer did I have the fields and forests to roam, the farm animals to influence my life, or even the individual freedoms I was use to having. Forbidden to express myself in ways that had always been normal for me, my parents (dad and step-mom) tried to turn me into more of a "lady".
However, there were some really good things that came out of those years. While other kids my age were getting involved in school and church activities on a regular basis, my involvement in those activities was limited. My dad and step mom had a baby boy when I was 14 years old, and then a baby girl when I was 16 years old. Being a teenager with such young siblings gave me the opportunity to learn first hand how to care for babies and small children. In addition, it wasn't long before meal preparation and clean up became mostly the responsibility of my brother Jimmy (3.5 years younger than me) and myself. I learned to plan and cook meals at a young age. Cooking from scratch with homegrown ingredients soon became second nature. The upkeep of the house and a lot of the laundry chores also became my responsibility. I learned to sew and make my own clothes. In the summers, I helped in the garden and with food preservation. The last couple of years at home, I was given the responsibility of budgeting the groceries and shopping for them unassisted. While none of these things were especially exciting for a teenage girl ( and while I did my share of grumbling about my lot in life), these responsibilities did teach me how to manage a household, how to manage money, and what was involved in taking care of babies and small children. In addition, the training that I received in gardening and food preservation has served me well. While I would have much rather been roaming the woods, walking the fields, helping with the animals, or even hanging out with my friends, the lessons I learned during those teen years have served me well, especially as a farmer's wife.