There are fewer things more daunting to me than the whims of fashion.
If you’re like me and have curves where there should be straight lines, and straight lines where there should be curves, then you know that shopping for clothing is scarier than running into someone dressed as Howard Stern on Halloween night.
And if that’s not bad enough, then there are accessories.
For the farm woman, accessories need to be both fashionable and useful out in the yards when last-minute, unexpected livestock escapades happen as she’s dressed and ready to leave for an important event.
Hoop earrings should be able to double as fence clips, and scarves could be used in matador style to trick and pen up unconfined sheep.
Oh, that a sheep would actually run toward you, though.
Perhaps there is no more important accessory to any woman, than her purse. It carries some of her most important must-have’s as she travels, and assures her that she can deal with any crisis with the right contents.
It could even serve as a weapon if the wrong vacuum cleaner sales person, or Dr. Kevorkian, were to show up unexpectedly.
The farm wife has been known to carry all the usual things in her purse, but on top of the nail clippers, aspirin, receipts, jelly-smeared grocery lists and a note from the school principal that she should have signed and returned last year, you may also find a livestock syringe, bottle of pig medicine or worse, a flange for some sort of implement that costs $75, but is small enough to fit in a coin purse.
It’s never good to play the part of the farm wife on those days. They all mean bad things have been happening.
This past winter, our guys have been working on a service truck they will take to the fields when they need it. It has all kinds of compartments and features a gazillion gadgets needed to fix something on the go, or limp something along until they can fix it.
There are all kinds of tools, trays, hoses, attachments, monitors, light forms, grease guns and possibly even an unpopular relative nestled in that truck. It has all the right contents, ensuring that he can handle any crisis with a truck, tractor or implement.
It’s a man purse on wheels; a strapping truck a strapless insurance plan.
There are more homemade notions on that truck than Martha Stewart herself could shake a stick at or know what to do with.
I’m always amazed at the craftsmanship of farmers. When they can’t find what they need, they’ll make something. The truck’s tractor and frame came from one truck, the body from another, and the innards were all stuffed in over the winter like the Thanksgiving turkey.
The only thing it’s missing is a pop-out timer.
While women’s purses often follow our physiques – going from small and dainty in our younger years, to larger and more practical after we’re married, to larger and perhaps bulkier after the babies begin to arrive – the farmer’s purse-like accessory is a one-size-fits-all proposition.
It’s large enough to demand four wheels, and always complements his blue jeans, dirt, manure, grease and oil that he sports most days.
There are usually no dilemmas over changing the color of his man purse if he changes his clothes.
Dirty blue jeans and flannel shirts are always in style next to it, and the direction of the stripes is never an issue in relation to his backside or waistline.
It could possibly be the most exquisite and “all-around” kind of accessory ever known to man. Literally.
We women make a lot of work out of accessorizing, while the farmer doesn’t necessarily choose to accessorize himself outside of brushing the dust off of his Sunday cowboy boots and choosing his least oily seed corn cap.
But he does take great pride in putting together a four-wheeled man purse that will hold all of the things he needs while he’s working away from home.
If your farmer is like most that I know, anything – even accessorizing – is always made better if it can involve a motor.
Schwaller is a Farm News correspondent from Milford. Reach her by e-mail at email@example.com
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