Growing Up

transformation - to change in form, appearance, or structure; metamorphose.

my name is Jessica Speis. now that i’m 26, i’ve been thinking a lot about my past and the ways that i’ve changed.

this blog is about my personal life, and how i’ve changed through all my experiences.

i remember working at a sky high trampoline center. its one of those places where a bunch of kids gather around and jump on these super high end trampolines. i remember the best outdoor trampoline was the one that went directly into the foam pit. one of my friends tried to do a jump into it, but ended up falling flat on their face. good times.

i’ve been itching to pick up trampoline for my home, now that i’m old enough to have something silly like that. i’ve been doing a lot of digging, and i recommend you check out this site for the best trampoline reviews, if that’s something you’re interested in as well.

Memories of being a farm Kid

One of the kids at daycare, Timmy, asked me if I were a cowgirl because I sounded like one. The question made me giggle because I didn’t know the kids noticed my southern drawl. Timmy looked so curious I couldn’t help but tell him that I was some sort of a cowgirl and I lived on a farm. His eyes went wide with wonder and started asking a barrage of questions about life on the farm. The other kids heard him and started getting curious about it as well. To calm them down, I told them I’d tell a story about my life on the farm if they all behaved, and they did! Haha! And so I had no choice but to keep my promise.

The children loved hearing stories of how my siblings and I helped feed the chickens and the pigs every morning. I told them how cows were being milked and I told them the story of how my big brother and I helped a cow give birth. The look on their faces was just priceless. City kids hardly have any idea of life on the farm and learning about my experience kind of opened them up to the world of living in a farm. They kept asking more questions about the kind of animals we had, the kind of food we ate and more. It was so much fun! There were even a few kids who said they wanted to be farmers someday after hearing my stories.

To be honest, telling the children stories of my childhood and how it was to grow up in a farm brought back a lot of wonderful and precious memories. Life on the farm was tough, I give you that, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I don’t know of any better way to grow up but on a farm.

One of my fondest memories about growing up the farm would have to be the time my brother and I helped my dad with calving. Calving means assisting a cow give birth. The experience felt surreal to 8-year old me—it was then that I started learning about life. How wonderful it is to witness something as miraculous as birth. And that wasn’t the end of it. I also witnessed horses giving birth, baby chicks hatching from eggs and more! My brothers and I planted crops and watched them grow and even harvested them! We didn’t have Barbie dolls and hot wheels but our childhood wasn’t boring! We climbed trees, played in the mud, danced in the rain and more. We lived a simple life and we loved it.

There are about a hundred stories I could tell about growing up on a farm—all the good and even bad memories. I proud to be a farmer’s daughter—I’m proud to have been born and raised as a farm kid. I would even want my future children to experience growing up in the farm. It’d be a good way to teach them about life.

Making Your Own Barbecue at Home

As someone who grew up in the Deep South, I could say I’m quite familiar and have tasted different kinds and versions of barbecue. You can get barbecue any time every day in many of the famous BBQ joints in North Carolina and even in Memphis. However, none of those impressed me the way my dad prepared barbecue on our farm. My dad’s special barbecue was always a big hit whenever he prepared them on birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions. Most of the famous barbecue joints in our place depended too much on the sauce but my dad used to tell me that good barbecue needs little sauce. Different cooking styles have an impact on a barbecue’s taste as well. You could cook barbecue on a grill, pit or a smoker—you’ll notice a difference in their taste if you’re sharp enough.

Growing up, I witnessed how our dad prepared barbecue. He had a pit built just for barbecuing. Pork, chicken, beef—you name it, dad can barbecue it. When I was young, I couldn’t stomach watching my dad and big brothers butcher a whole hog for barbecuing but I did have an appetite for it the moment it was served at the table at meal time. My dad’s barbecue never fails—it’s the best I’ve ever tasted and it goes well with baked beans, mashed potatoes, coleslaw and pumpkin pies. Yum! (Why do I feel hungry writing this?)

Rarely do I find a BBQ restaurant that serves barbecue that’s close to what my dad’s barbecue tastes like. Thankfully, I always have the option of making my own barbecue at home because dad has handed down his secret barbecue recipe to us before he died a few years ago. I’ve tried recreating his special barbecue a few times and they turned out okay—just a few more practice and I’ll get it right. I had a pit built on our backyard for future barbecue parties but I found it to be such a huge hassle. I hated having to start the fire and cleaning up after. Fortunately, my friend suggested that I buy myself an electric smoker.

One of the reasons that convinced me to buy myself an electric smoker was its versatility—I could choose from a number of fuels/energy sources and also because I could use it not only for smoking meat but for cooking traditional barbecue as well. I did my research on the top electric smokers on the market and compared their specs and prices. I was impressed at how convenient these smokers are. If I knew these existed, then I wouldn’t have had the barbecue pit built in our backyard. LOL.

Barbecuing using an electric smoker is easy and safe.  There are two types of electric smokers, vertical and horizontal, but I opted for the vertical smoker. Why? Because most vertical electric smokers do not consume a lot of space as a horizontal smoker does.

With an electric smoker, cooking my dad’s special barbecue has never been so easy. Cleaning up is a breeze too. Now I could enjoy cooking my favorite barbecue minus all the hassle.

A Trip down Memory Lane

Every time someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would answer, without hesitation, that I wanted to be a farmer. Of course, living on a farm had something to do with it. As a child, I could not imagine myself being anywhere but in our farm. It was the only place I ever wanted to be.

We were not rich, but I wouldn’t say we were poor either. But we had enough. We grew our own vegetables and we raised our own livestock. My parents couldn’t afford to buy us Barbie dolls, Nintendo’s or Hot Wheels when we were young, but it was alright. Nothing compared to our own farm toys and handmade figurines. We had toy tractors, farm houses, hay bales, farm animals and more! My brothers and I would fight over toy farm sets every Christmas. When we weren’t playing with toys, we would play outside—something which annoyed our mom to no end because we’d get ourselves and our clothes and shoes all dirty from the dust and mud. I remembered our mom gave up trying to dress us up all pretty because we would always get dirty after a few minutes.

I learned a lot of pretty random things at the farm at an early age. For example, crawling through barbed wire fences can hurt…a lot! My dad wasn’t kidding when he told me to stay away from barbed wired fences because we might get hurt. I also learned how to feed baby calves with bottles and how to tell the difference between a male and female chicken. I also learned that breaking in horses take a lot of time and patience; if you don’t build rapport with your horse, it will be hard to break him in. I could tell more things I learned at the farm but the list could just go on and on and I wouldn’t want to bore any of you with them.

One of the things that we were taught at a young age was to pray every day. My parents were devout Christians and they taught us the importance of prayer when we were still young. My siblings and I prayed for the most random things we could think about such as praying for the cow to give a safe birth, praying for rain after a long season of drought or for a good harvest. We prayed the minute we woke up, we prayed during meals and we prayed before going to bed.

The best thing about growing up in a farm?It’s eating home-cooked meals! Our momma, I swear, is the best cook around. She could make our troubles go away with all the yummy dishes she cooks. Our momma is not only a good cook but she’s an all around momma too! She cooked delicious meals, she knows how to run a tractor, haul a cattle and tend to sick livestock. Anything our poppa does, she could do just as well.

On the whole, I think even though we farm kids lived a simple life, we’re one of the luckiest kids on earth.