My name is Anni (Aw-nee) Winings. John and I have been married for nearly 9 years.
I grew up in Idaho where my father had a habit of collecting animals and expanding the garden every year until it was truly a hobby farm. The raspberry patch alone was half an acre. (Do you know how much picking and weeding that requires when you don’t use mulch?!)
We had a couple of sheep, which we sheared yearly. I learned to clean the wool, card it, spin it, and knit it.
We almost always had at least one cow, which had to be milked every morning and evening. When we didn’t have a cow, we went and got our milk from a local dairy. I grew up on raw milk, and I never knew there was any kind of controversy about it. It was just milk. We skimmed the cream off the top and made butter, and ice cream and homemade whipped cream on occasion. (It’s the best over fresh-picked strawberries on waffles.)
We had chickens off and on. But we never did have pigs. (That’s a big thing to miss out on, in my opinion!)
Most unusual of all, we had a large pond that we stocked with rainbow trout every year. Every fall it was my job to wade around in the receding water (once the water from the canal had been shut off for the year) and net the remaining fish. A very cold job.
Best of all, I had my own horse. Even with 9 siblings, I can still call him my own. Rusty was an old horse that we pastured for some people for a while. And then they moved to New York, so my parents bought him for $40, and gave him to me for my 8th birthday present. He was mine, and I rode him whenever I could during the summer, and sometimes during the school year. I could barely carry the saddle, so I would settle it on top of my head as I trekked out to the field. He died shortly after I left for college. (I got my bachelors degree in Dietetics & Nutrition.)
Now I’m all grown up and married to a wonderful, hard-working man. We’ve been in apartments and city living most of our married lives. We probably drove our neighbors crazy with the amount of potted plants we grew on our patio or balcony. We’ve visited 20-odd farmer’s markets, from California to Florida, Polyface farm and Monticello, botanical gardens in several states, and farms in 14 states. Since we didn’t have the country life yet, we continued to do what we were used to doing as best we could.
Now, after 7 moves, we finally have a home in the country again, where we hope to stay settled for many years and raise our family.