After fifty-four years of biting my nails, I have kicked the habit and grown them long enough to treat myself to a manicure. My nails are beautiful and if I could find my camera I’d post a picture here just so you could admire them, too. I’ve discovered that a manicured hand looks so much more feminine than my usual grubby fingers, but I’ve also discovered why you don’t see many farmwives with lacquered nails.
Pretty hands require protection. Washing dishes? Pull on the latex gloves. Gardening? Chore gloves, of course. Helping with cattle? Leather work gloves. Peeling apples and making applesauce? Disposable gloves. Keeping up with all these gloves is impossible. Plus, I can’t really work as efficiently in them. My hands are small and the extra fabric in the gloves is bunchy and bothersome. When I went in for the manicure, Heidi examined my stains. “What’s all over your hands?” she asked.
The brown stains on my cuticles were from cutting up apples for applesauce. I tried wearing gloves but I kept slashing the tips off with my knife so I gave up. The blue smudge was from the sheep marker I used on Tuesday and the pink stains were from the beets I canned.
Heidi was able to clean up my mess and for the moment my hands are pertly pretty. The thing about trying to be a fashionable farm wife is you never know when the next farm emergency will occur. This morning I had just stepped out of the shower and was blow drying my hair into poufy perfection when I heard a commotion. My Own Farmer was out in the cattle lot whistling shrilly. That’s usually a signal for someone in the family to see what he needs. Scott was out there with him, so I assumed the summons was for him. But then the horn on the cattle truck began blaring. I leaned out the window. “Do you need me?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said, “two of the calves have escaped and I need you to help us get them back in.”
Lovely. I pulled my dirty sweatshirt over my bouffant do and ran outside. When I got back in the house my fluffy hair was flat. So much for beauty.
The farm has a different dress code from the rest of the world. I have been known to wear the same grubby pants three days in a row if I know I’ll be getting dirty. No use creating extra laundry, but how mortifying when unexpected company shows up.
I would like to be as beautiful as my non-farm friends are, but it would require too many changes of clothing in a day, and keeping up with too many pairs of gloves, so if you see me in town wearing muck boots, don’t shake my hand unless you want to get yours dirty, too. Except on Wednesdays. That’s manicure day from now on, and if you catch me before I make it to the farm, be sure to admire my fabulous fingers.They won't look that way for long.