New Joisey

It’s not all smoke stacks, oil tanks and mob bosses… despite what they show on TV.

In fact, where I grew up (just outside Flemington) and in much of NJ, it’s mostly farm land… and horse farms. There is a reason it’s called the “Garden State” you know…

For example… just in the 3 or 3 minutes I was sitting at the gas station filling up my gas tank I saw three things that confirmed NJ’s rural-ness.

  1. A pickup truck with two rabbit hutches in the back
  2. A Honda Civic-like car with two bales of hay on the back seat
  3. A car with a vanity plate that read “KISSFAN” — What does this have to do with farmland? Who else other than a redneck would have this plate!!??

Additionally, until I was in about the 3rd or 4th grade, the road my parents lived on (and still do) wasn’t even paved… it was dirt. There was a small farm across the street that had Black Angus cows and pigs. We owned one of the cows… aptly named “T Bone”… who, when he reached the proper age, was sent off to the slaughter house and came back in the form of paper wrapped steaks, roasts and ground beef. Hence the reason I probably don’t eat red meat. I remember one year we also bought “half a pig”. The whole concept is quite repulsive now…In Boston, the slowest moving vehicles you get stuck behind are tourists, old people and/or the occasional backhoe or construction vehicle. Growing up… we dreaded getting stuck behind a tractor or even a hay baler.There were HUGE snapping turtles in the local ponds and loads and loads of deer. My dad still has a little ‘table’ setup in the backyard that he fills with dried corn. The deer love it.My dad also had a vegetable garden about the size of an acre. We grew all our own veggies and then my mom would either can them or ‘put them up’ for the winter. We grew blueberries, raspberries and grapes. My mom made homemade jelly and zucchini bread that she entered in the 4-H fair every year (and almost always won the blue ribbon). It was a very different way of life than what I have now and what the 3-yo will live.In many ways I feel very lucky because I had the best of both worlds. I grew up a naive country kid and now I’m a crazy liberal city girl. Who could ask for more?

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