Why would you want to know this? Well, I don't have the answer to that, but I know why I want to write it. I want a way to remember why I live here...in January. Especially when my sister, whom currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee (like you don't know where Nashville is) sends me texts with images of her car thermometer with 70+ degrees anytime between December and April. I mean, I love her, but seriously Steph?
Wait...I am supposed to be telling you why I love it here. I digress. But, this morning Mother Nature gave me a good old-fashioned slap in the keister*.
I have hesitated to call ourselves farmers from the beginning of this little adventure. And since Wisconsin is known as America's Dairyland, it's only right to give the credit to our dairy farmers. Our favorite, of course, is the Ripp homestead (est. in the early 1800s) which is still being run, very successfully I might add, by Dale's cousin Brian, his wife Jessica (see right) and their three children, Amelia, Dean & Joel. And those wonderful dairy farmers are what provide the majority of the country with cheese. CHEESE.
And then there are flower farms. To be honest, before we bought this place, I didn't even realize there were flower farms in this area. I know that sounds naive or ignorant (you choose) and considering where we are now, sort of ridiculous. Flowers come from the ground, so to get to a florist, grocery store or roadside stand, the seeds clearly must be sown, planted, grown, harvested and especially arranged, by humans. Since today I am all about definitions; to farm v. 1. make one's living by growing crops or keeping livestock. Even though we fit the definition, there are days I don't feel worthy of the title.
To most people, flowers are an elective. Nothing you need, something you want. It's one of the first things to go when pinching pennies...I get it. However, it's also a $34.3 billion industry in the United States alone (yes, I said BILLION), so all those dollars can't be wrong. And, a large portion of your flower dollars are leaving your town, state and country. So, when you can, buy local. And when I say local, I mean Wisconsin.***
Having said that, we can only grow so many varieties in Wisconsin and our seasons are short. But there is beauty in buying seasonally. It's weird to have tulips in January, right? We wait nine months for those beauties to pop through the ground. And after getting a couple of seasons growing my own tulips, the ones that come across the ocean in a cardboard box, sans water for over 2 weeks, makes me wonder if it's worth it to buy from a grocery store. Nah. I'll wait.
And, honestly, if I were to define a farmer it would be by the worry of the weather. I love Mother Nature. Let me repeat it so she can hear me... I LOVE MOTHER NATURE. She gives us mornings like this, but also 21 out of 30 days of torrential downpour.* Too much of anything is not a good thing. When I started worrying about the weather (outside of how it was going to affect my porch sipping...I mean sitting), I thought, maybe I am a farmer after all.
We have a saying in Wisconsin, well many, but the most relevant one to this post is, "if you don't like the weather here, wait 10 minutes." True statement. That's the beauty of this amazing state.
I sort of went off on a flower farming tangent there...oops. But, I do have some favorite things about Wisconsin in general:
1. Cheese curds. A girlfriend of mine and I had lunch (at a bar) recently and, of course, ordered cheese curds. The conversation that occurred, if overheard by any other state foreigner, would have made for a good laugh. I have become somewhat of a cheese curd connoisseur. I have my favorites...because I have had that many. Keep on keepin' on cheese makers.
2. Beer. We have the best beer. Period.
3. Seasons. I have not had the opportunity, or desire, to live in an environment without four seasons. I sure enjoy a trip to Florida in the Spring when the Wisconsin winter gets heavy, but a Christmas without snow is no Christmas at all for me. Call me cray-cray.
4. Family. Our family is here. Our friends are here. We are here.
If you don't reside here already, please visit us. If you do, please visit us. Tell us your favorite things about Wisconsin in the comments!
*When I was looking up the definition of Keister in the dictionary (by dictionary I mean google) just to make sure I was spelling in right, the Urban Dictionary gave me a couple of them.
1. Buttocks, heinie, your arse. (yes)
2. to conceal an object in one's rectum i.e. to keister a sack of cocaine. (Um, what? Yikes. Sorry. However, it wasn't offensive enough to take it out of my sentence above.)
I sincerely hope everyone reading this knows this word from their German Grandma like I do, or you've never heard it before which is why you are reading the footnote. If it's the latter definition...sorry. I hope my flower blog has given you some respite.
**Again, Webster's says a country miles is "a long way". The Urban Dictionary definition: When "country folk refer to a country mile it is considered to be round 10 miles per country mile..ish...we boonfolk dont really consider distance."
***When I originally started this piece, Hurricane Harvey & Irma were not even a blip on the radar. I spoke with my favorite flower wholesaler today, Darin, who told me all shipping has been shut down in Miami. Many flower truck drivers cannot get to work or have evacuated with their families, rightfully so. Our thoughts and prayers are with them now and in the coming weeks and months.