Knockin’ Boots

I did something this summer that I’ve never been able to do on our farm before. I wore my boots completely into the ground. I wore this pair until multiple holes in both heels finally connected and my feet were barely encapsulated in the rubber residue that were formerly functional footwear.

Why was this summer of boot-wearing any different than years in the past? The drought. Normally water-tight tall boots are a must all summer long. But this year even the lowest of wetlands were dry and so I was able to get every last drop out of these boots simply because there were no “drops” around to get in them through the gaping holes in the heels.

If you’re willing, give me a little leeway to vent here. I think I can safely say that I’ve given every major brand of “heavy duty” boots a shot, and every brand has let me down. Throughout the past five years I’ve gone through roughly a dozen pairs of boots, many of which were well over a $150, yet even the most-expensive or best-reviewed would rarely would last 6 to 9 months before they started letting water in. And once the floodgates open on a pair of boots, they must be retired.

Boots are to a farmer what a high quality pair of shears are to a barber, or a paintbrush is to a painter. (Am I out on a limb with these analogies?). But seriously, boots are literally foundational to farm work, and it seems to me that when investing in a “high quality” pair, they would last for a full calendar year. This has yet to be the case. I’ve bought boots advertised for Alaskan fishermen. Boots advertised for their ability to traverse mud. I’ve even gone as far as ordering boots made in Europe with a name I never was able to pronounce. None of them lasted. None of them will get a 5-star review from this farmer.

But nobody wants to listen to a complainer, so I’ll cease and desist with the knocking of boots and talk about the recent good news on the farm: It rained.

Last week alone we got more rain than we had in the prior 80 days combined, and in the days since the precipitation, it’s been wonderful to see the pastures starting to green up again. And you know what? I was thrilled when I felt water rush in the holes in the heels of my tired farm boots. With any luck, the drought is on its way out and I’ll be forced to order a brand new pair of boots that will hopefully stay watertight until the first day of 2022.

Thanks for reading!

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