In the fifties 5% of America’s population produced it’s food. The Soviet Union 50%, China 90%. Now the US does it with one half of 1% – farming, once ubiquitous, is now rare. Worldwide farmers are, for the first time in 5000 years, a minority. See here and here. We still have to eat, but nostalgia for a bygone era strongly appeals to, well…..those we used to call ‘city folks’…..who, unlike the ‘boy with the barrow’(ie moi) , are not entirely sure what it means to ‘have the whole job in front of them.’ Hence, I think, the popularity of Ree who blogs at Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. She’s a city gal who met and married a rancher and obviously is seriously enjoying herself and the country life as well as country cooking, horses, calves and all that other good stuff. What I think has made her site popular however is the earthy frankness with which she refers to agricultural realities. Calf nuts feature prominently on her site and in the video linked below – and no they are not some kind of pelletized stock feed, they’re nuts….testicles.
And for me that is what is different from the fifties. Back then, the women just were not so frank about such matters. We were in the milk business, not the beef business so we didn’t have ‘calf nuts’ everywhere. But I know this for sure – my mother wouldn’t have referred to them that way. She was no prude and accepted the bucolic realities that surrounded us with a combination of frankness and reserve typical of the times. She indulged no frivolities trying to pretty up the toilet – like some of her urban sisters – and she could face the task of gutting a dozen chickens with a determination I still find awesome. My mother was a well educated and sophisticated woman of her day and so is Pioneer Woman, and what I am saying is that the times have changed and so has the style with which a country woman can present herself to the world. Here is a description of her recent encounter with CNN. (Note: Marlborough Man is her husband.)
“Oh, Lawsie Mercy, I’m Crawling in a Hole.
*Disclaimer: Marlboro Man is forcing me to write this post. And if you think I’m using the term “force” casually, YOU try telling him no sometime. It’s a physical impossibility.
Tomorrow, for probably a couple of minutes at most, I’ll be appearing on a show on CNN Headline News called “News to Me.” A few weeks ago, the producer of the show emailed me (he’d read my site and had likely just been bowled over by something really embarrassing I’d written, or perhaps a nice, impressive belch) and asked if I’d agree to be interviewed on their show about citizen journalism. I said yes and immediately regretted it because I’m very squeamish about appearing in front of any camera at any time. I get a hive on my neck. Not hives, just a hive, but it’s a hive nonetheless. And when I’m in front of the camera, I lose all control. Of my bladder. And my senses.”
Nope, that’s not my mom, but damn – she’s funny. Here she is in person on CNN. Enjoy and Merry Christmas everyone.