Believe It or Not, by Kathy Smith

Believe it or not, the farm families of Ashtabula County have been leading the country in clothing and decorating styles for years and we didn’t even know it.

First of all, there is the country decorating look. This has been around for quite a while.  People, who have never even seen a real cow, goose or pig, decorate their entire kitchens with animal motifs that include black and white cookie jars, coffee mugs and soap dishes or country blue wallpaper with adorable white geese. You can buy a pig teakettle, a cow recipe holder, kitchen towel sets featuring chickens and even an ear of corn phone.

But the country look doesn’t end in the kitchen.  It is so popular that there are sweatshirts with bunnies and country flowers, nightshirts with cartoon cows and pigs, hats featuring tractors and fish, afghans of cows coming home, pig welcome mats, T-shirts proclaiming membership in the “Manure Movers of America Local 239,” and wind chimes and clocks with country themes. There are yellow and green John Deere curtains, bedspreads, wallpaper and even shower curtains.

Then there are flannel shirts. Now you and I have probably worn them all of our lives, right? But have you taken a look lately at how many non-farmers are wearing them?

In many stores, there are racks of flannel shirts, some with hoods, and some in two or three different colors or designs. And all of them are available in nearly every size known. See, all this time we’ve been making a fashion statement in our blue jeans and flannel shirts and finally the whole country noticed and started copying us!

Finally there’s the skin moisturizer market which is filled with hundreds of different products all competing for your dollars. You can pay up to $7.64 per ounce for some French liposome crème or $3.59 per ounce for Sudden Change Oriental Pearl Moisture Rich Potion containing real crushed pearls.

But the real proven healer is udder cream and Bag Balm which most of us have been using forever and costs only about 50 to 70 cents per ounce. Part of the popularity of these creams is the return of the country art of quilting. Again, many of the farm women of Ashtabula County have done this all of their lives. And Bag Balm with its antiseptic healing and soothing properties is just perfect for them. These barnyard beauty aids that all of us have been using for years is yet another example of how we farmers have been leading the way in the skin cream industry all this time.

What I would like to know is what everyday country item is going to become the next fad? Well, it’s too late for our denim barn coats. They already have a picture of my barn coat in a catalog being called a “chore coat.” Of course the beautiful model wearing it didn’t look like she would want to spend much time in a real barn and she certainly didn’t look like I do after finishing chores.

Oh well, what about those knee high black or brown rubber barn boots most of us wear? Do you suppose they might become the next country fashion statement? Let’s see if one of the Victoria Secret models can look good in those.

 Kathy Smith is a farm wife from Wayne Township. She writes for the Ashtabula County Farm Bureau.

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