I have spent the entire summer of living a life of incredibly poor fashion. But if there was ever a summer to do so, the summer of 2020 would be the one! Oregon has remained strong in her social distancing guidelines and the life of a hermit could be quite parallel to the life that myself and so many other farm-living Oregonians are living.
Let’s break down the fashion: lace up boots, running shorts, a tank top, no make-up, and probably a baseball cap.
The first pair of boots were these off-brand lace up, wool-lined black rubber ankle boots with bright red laces. Honestly, despite the looks and the ways they made my ankles sweat in the heat of summer, they were quite wonderful! So wonderful, in fact, that I wore them out in just 90 days.
Deciding to take a chance on a different pair of boots, I purchased these boots from Kuru Footwear out of Utah. While similar to those OG boots of summer, these boots were a little more fashionable meaning that maybe I wouldn’t get QUITE so many comments running in to the local feed store or grocery store for a couple items.
Since my social media followers were so proactive in helping me find a pair of boots, I thought it only fitting to do a day-by-day analysis and review of how they were working out. I figured a week’s worth of running irrigation wheel line for the hay fields, feeding and watering the horses, chickens and dogs twice a day, and all sorts of random hiking and farm walking would provide an amazing authentic farm-boot-for-women review.
It was the perfect idea because, being close to home, if they didn’t work out – I could always change into an old, albeit holey, pair of boots instead.
Sunday, September 7th, was the first day for the review. The boots were SO cute in the un-boxing and they looked SO good under my work jeans that I almost didn’t want to wear them out to the field to move irrigation that morning! But I did and after a few moments of adjusting to their unique, patented insole, my feet felt SO good!
On Monday, though, everything changed… and I’m not referencing the boots. The boots put on SUCH a clinic when it comes to being the ultimate work boot for agricultural women and, here’s why: On the night of Labor Day Monday, a strong eastern wind pushed into Oregon causing the largest widespread active wildfire disaster the western side of Oregon has (probably) ever seen.
By Tuesday morning, I had created a group called Cowgirl 911. The purpose of the group was to connect those in need with those who had as hundreds of thousands of animals were forced into mass evacuations thing to find somewhere, anywhere, in the state that could hold them. By Tuesday night, I was at the Benton County Event Center and Fairgrounds with a minimal number of 4-H and rodeo committee volunteers, hellbent on getting our entire “county fair” set up in just 90 minutes. Our sister fairgrounds in Linn County, was already nearing maximum occupancy with evacuees and their next game plan was to continue shuttling people and animals to our facilities.
I did not go to bed between when I woke Tuesday morning at 6:00 am, until Wednesday at 12:00 pm. I spent the entire night at the fairgrounds, waiting for the evacuation animals to show up. The only animal that showed up in the witching hours of the morning, however, was a fully grown female cougar who was curious as to the ruckus! The sheriff on duty had happened to spot her, walking just a mere 25 yards from where I was nodding off in a golf cart, and chased her off.
After two hours of sleep, I was back to the fairgrounds and monitoring the Facebook group, as well as our new dispatch system that we had set up to eliminate errors, bogus calls, threats to volunteers, and an in-house organization of evacuation sites. That Wednesday night was probably the longest night of all, it was the night that I fell asleep while pacing the barn corridors in an attempt to stay awake as the cougar had been sighted again. I literally tripped, fell to my knees, and then sprawled on the gravel lot outside sound asleep for who knows how long until I woke on my own.
It was exhaustion like I had never felt it.
At the end of the week, our Cowgirl 911 Facebook group had received local, regional, and even national news! Asked for another interview with some amazing women from a contracted Colorado news station, I was so tired that I knew I couldn’t stand through the interview. I plopped myself down on a large bale of hay next to our evacuation horses when the interviewer said, “Wow, I love your boots!”
That’s when I realized it. I had worn these new pair of boots on this “trial run” that had quickly turned into the real deal for literally six days straight. Two of those nights, when I got home for a few hours to nap, I admit, I slept with my shoes on.
When it comes to a more practical, useful or just plain COMFORTABLE boot for life on the farm, I honestly couldn’t recognize Kuru enough. While they are set up to be more of a hiking boot, the daily rigors of farm work are truly a match to the life of the outdoor hiking adventurist. The only thing that I wish I would have done is sprayed them with the water protectant seal when I purchased them, as immediately following the fires the heavens opened up with a torrent of flash flood quality rains.