Happy September 2021!
This is your Country Culture editor-in-chief, Courtney Llewellyn, blue ribbon champion of the Great New York State Fair. I earned my coveted blue ribbon yesterday at the fair’s Hay Bale Tossing Contest after launching my half-bale a whopping 24 feet.
I tell you this because in the moments leading up to my toss, I was reflecting and laughing a little to myself about where I was and what I was about to do. I grew up in the tiny hamlet of Millers Mills, NY, which boasts a homemade sign on a tree at the intersection of three roads, proudly proclaiming “Downtown Millers Mills, Population 29+.” After college, I moved to Springfield, MA, the fourth largest city in New England; after that, I moved to New Orleans, LA, a much bigger metropolis with a very different culture. Then I moved back home to help take care of my father, and it was like I never missed the country life. Driving home, if I saw a loose calf, I’d park my car and get out to steer back toward the pasture. I helped my grandparents with their gardens. I raked leaves, shoveled snow, collected black raspberries and black walnuts and listened to the nothingness of a still evening. Sometimes, if it was a particularly calm night, I could hear the evening church bells ringing in the village three miles away.
I learned to do all these country things from my father – from throwing hay bales to the proper way to eat those blackberries to how to re-roof a barn. He passed away this March, but I still feel him with me every time I collect elderberries to make syrup and every time I talk to a deer on the side of the road (I’ve found if you do that, they won’t run in front of your car).
Family, whether they’re blood or whether they’re the people you choose to surround yourself with, are the key to living your best life. Family could be a great neighbor or a new friend you make at the hardware store. It could be your first cousin, once removed, like my dad’s cousin Jim, my go-to guy for anything honeybee-related. Family seems tighter in rural communities, but I couldn’t tell you exactly why.
Our goal with Country Culture is to be a part of your new rural family. If you want to know the best way to put up a fence, which equipment you need to buy for your new farm, what breed of chicken or rabbit best serves your goals, how to can the goods from your garden or simply how to slow down and breathe the clean air, we’re here with you. (I may also give tips on the best way to throw a hay bale, since, you know – blue ribbon winner.)
Let us be your beloved “country cousin.” Let’s build a community and grow, learn, thrive and explore together.
Check out some of the tossing techniques on display on our TikTok account!
Well said. I look forward to being a part of the Country Culture family.
Congratulations on your Blue Ribbon!
Nice article, i enjoyed reading it
From the way it’s represented here, it looks like a step up. Most interesting. What bandwagon do I have to hop on to take advantage of what is obviously a remarkable opportunity?
First, congrats on you know….the blue ribbon. Loved your article. Like you, I grew up around the family farm but after college moved many times throughout my corporate career. This past year my wife and I gave it all up and bought a farm in the southern tier of New York State. We are in the process of adding crops, goats, gardens and next year some fruit trees. We have already added 12 new “country cousins” to our close family. We look forward to being a part of Country Culture and learning from the members. Thanks for the effort.