By Melissa Napier
A couple of years ago my friend Amy moved to Hickory with her husband and children and set out to find or create a group of friends to get together to make things, share their crafty skills and learn from one another about our adventures in living simply. She and a friend, Cindy, decided to found a chapter of Mary Jane’s Farm Girls. Here’s the main website: http://www.maryjanesfarm.org/farmgirl-connection/
We meet once a month with a new topic led by different people from within the group. Topics range from canning jam and making butter from milk fresh from the cow, to home grown herbal remedies and sewing a repurposed feed sack purse.
I was a bit overwhelmed at my first meeting, when the conversation over coffee turned to, “How to choose the best horse at your next purchase,” and, “What to do to encourage your chickens to lay through the winter.” Wow! These are ‘real’ farm girls! By the end of the meeting, though, they were all begging me to lead the next meeting because they all wanted to learn to crochet. Well, I couldn’t believe I had something to offer these ladies after all! Each time I come home enriched by the time spent with such diverse people, some who actually live on functioning farms or some who are just hoping to plant tomatoes on the patio next summer.
I think the best thing about this group is that it doesn’t require anyone to own a cow or chickens, wear an apron or cowboy hat, or grow all your own food, but instead you just have to have a desire to learn more about how others are living, learning and growing, and be willing to offer your own knowledge and experience to the group in exchange. They say “being a farm girl is a condition of the heart,” and I must admit, that motto has helped me to embrace more changes to my suburban life.