Friday, January 14, 2011

Big Boots to Fill

I got new boots this week.
That may not be exciting news to many of you...but let me tell you why these boots mean so much to me.
Here's one of the boots on my foot.
When we were living in Africa (2001 through 2005), I came across a TV series out of Australia called MCLEOD'S DAUGHTERS. It was about two sisters who inherited their dad's sheep and cattle ranch in the Outback. Okay, it WAS a bit soap-opera-ish...and I usually don't like that sort of thing. BUT, there wasn't much else to watch in Africa, AND, this was was like real life. It was the life that, in my wildest dreams, would be my life! At the time, I never would have believed that the realization of this dream would actually be mine within the next several (less than 10) years. Okay, it's Missouri, not Australia, and it's 80 acres, not thousands, and I have 6 sheep, not hundreds, and I have one horse, not dozens, and I don't have any cows (yet). But, hey, it's MINE and I love it! And I do have "chooks"!
This is what I see when I look down.

In one episode of the first season of the show, the country sister (Claire) buys her city sister (Tess) a pair of boots. I knew at that moment that, one day, I would have a pair of those boots! Those were not just boots, those were a symbol of Tess's being accepted as a valid part of the ranch (the ranch is run by all women, by the way). She had "arrived".
Here's what the boots look like if I pull my pants leg up.

My daughter, Jessica, who lives in Germany with her husband, James (who is in the U.S. Air Force), and four (soon to be five) kiddos, went to a bazaar at the air base. At the bazaar was an Australian vendor. The vendor was selling all kinds of Aussie stuff: hats, boots, coats (you know, those cool drovers' coats). Well, they convinced her that the boots were the ones the women wore in the series (I won't mention the brand...I'm sure they are good boots, but they were NOT the right boots...they lied). So she got me a pair. She sent me a picture and I said "Take them back! Those are not THE boots." She didn't believe me, but she was a good daughter and took them back anyway! Hey, I wasn't spending that much money on the wrong boots! I wasn't sure I wanted to spend that much money on the RIGHT boots!
Since those were not the boots I wanted, I decided I would have to start searching for a pair of riding boots. I was willing to settle for boots that looked something like THE boots, since I had no idea what kind of boots THE boots were. I looked high and low (okay, I searched the internet). I asked a couple of boot enthusiasts I knew (Dee and Dee...okay, I asked one person two times) for advice. After being pointed in the right direction, and armed with some Christmas money from my MIL, I set out to find the boots I would buy. In my search, I happened upon a picture of a pair of boots that, the moment I saw them, I knew they were THE boots. I went back to that episode of the show (yes, I have the first five of the eight seasons on DVD...working on aquiring the rest) and checked to be sure...and in one scene (I had to pause, rewind, play in slow motion, over and over again, to get a really good look) there was a great shot of the side of the boot. And, on the heel you could just make out the logo "Blundstone". BINGO! JACKPOT! I WAS RIGHT!
Just one problem: they were SOOOO expensive! They were about 40 bucks more than what I had in Christmas money (well, what I had left after buying a really cool horse-training halter and a couple of books). I'd never spent that much money in my life on a pair of boots...or on any piece of apparel for that matter...IN MY LIFE! So, NOW what was I going to do? Now that I had found THE boots, how could I possibly settle for anything less? I did the only thing a girl can do...I consulted all my facebook friends! LOL! The response was overwhelming: "Buy the boots you really want".
I even asked my friend, Nicci, who is Australian and lives in Australia, if they really were great boots. She said she used to wear that brand all the time and they were absolutely as great as all that. In fact, she couldn't remember a pair EVER wearing out.
So, I got on the internet, credit card in hand, and proceeded to buy the boots. Just before I hit the "buy these boots now" button, I noticed a "get these boots cheaper" button! "Hmmm...let's have a look." The same store had these boots for WAY (60 bucks) cheaper! The catch? Same hand-made construction, same integrity and performance, just a small blemish somewhere on the boot. Maybe a slight color variation, a scuff on the heel...something that rendered the boots not quite perfect according to the company's very high standards. This distributor only gets these "seconds" on occassion, and they don't usually have much selection available...but they must have got a good shipment of them just recently because they had quite a few available, and they had the exact style(Blundstone 62's), color (Stout Brown), and size (you don't really want to know this) that I wanted. So, with shaking hands, I did it! I went for it! I ordered my boots, THE boots!
And here they are: THE boots.

I love them! They are perfect. I love how the pull tabs make it easier to pull them on. I love how they feel (so comfy) and how they look (plain and simple, but classic). And I even love that they are pre-blemished (the only thing I could find was a tiny, barely visible, superficial spot on the side of one of the boots). I have no fear of wearing them out to the barn to work in, or going riding in, because they might get a scuff or a mark (I mean, they were pretty expensive, even with the huge discount...but it was Christmas money, right?), which would have just KILLED me...IF they were perfect and I had paid full price.
Here's me in my boots.

One of the things I liked about the show was that the women looked real. They were all lovely women, but they weren't perfect. They had crooked teeth, messy hair, dirty faces, sloppy shirts. How women who work on farms and ranches really do look most of the time! How I look most of the time these days!
So, that's the story of my boots. I am already so blessed. These boots are the icing on the cake for me. I may not conquer the world in these boots...but they do make me feel like I've arrived!


  1. You have arrived! Love those boots. I am so happy you found those perfect boots. I read your blog out loud to Danny and we both laughed hard...thanks for the entertainment! Now you should submit your story to a few farm and ranch magazines.

  2. That is so sweet, Sarita...but I wouldn't even know where to begin to try to have it submitted somewhere. Wouldn't it be so cool if I could, though?

  3. Brenda, That is the coolest story! Thank you so much for sharing it! I laughed and cried!~ You give me hope for my dream!! I know exactly what you mean about THE BOOT! I have wanted knee high flat heel boots for some time and I was able to get two pairs on sale for 75% off the retail price and I love them!! I am thrilled for you!! As Sarita said "You Have arrived" You ought to contact Tina Wilson from Small Town Living! She is on facebook!

  4. Thanks Monica. I was thinkinhg I might look into Hobby Farm Home (my favorite) or even Maryjane's mag. I don't know if you can submit to more than one at a time or not.

  5. It is amazing how something such as a pair of boots make our life move forward - Never settle and keep those desires and dreams going. I am one who tell folks all the time the only limitation is what you make in your mind - Congrat's on the getting another piece of your dream.

  6. That is THE best story I have read in a long long time!! You tell a great tale and those!! Wear them in good health, you Have Arrived!!

  7. Thank you Grace and Sandy. I'm so glad you liked my story.
    I am sure gonna try to do these boots justice!

  8. AWESOME boots! My husband is Australian and he was wearin' 'em when we met, and still keeps buying them (though a cheaper, American version now!) We LOVE McLeod's daughters - all of the episodes (pretty much) are online, and while we REALLY don't like the soap opera stuff, we love the countryside and animal stuff on it, and it often spurs me on to get some of the more nasty farm chores done after watching those ladies work Drover's Run (ok - I know it's only a tv show, but it does seem pretty real at times!). Good for you to have such a nice big farm now! We sorta dream of the day of getting back to Oz and having a property there...dream...

  9. btw - "r" above in the comments is Robin - Morning Star Meadows Farm in CT w/registered Icelandics (had the question on the board about hay feeders)

  10. Hi Robbin. Yes, I figured out who you were!
    That is so cool...I feel exactly the same way about the show! I am working my way through the series again, now! I'm in season 3 (my favorite season). It's been a long winter! LOL!
    Australia and Alaska are the two places I've never been that I REALLY want to go see.
    As soon as this weather lifts, I'll be able to get my boots good and broken in! I can't wait!

  11. oh please! I've had many other misspellings! We actually lived in the city in Brisbane, Queensland, where I practiced veterinary medicine (small animal), and everyone there wanted to spell it Robyn (more typical for women, vs. Robin for men). They also kept calling me "The Canadian Vet" because, for some odd reason, it is insulting to assume, overseas, that a Canadian is an American, but it's ok to risk calling an American a Canadian!
    BTW - you'll have to get yourself some moleskins and a good Aussie hat to go with your boots! Outback Trading Co. has some good, reasonably priced felt hats...

  12. LOL! Robin, I'm pretty sure it was just a type-o as none of my Robin firends use two b's! I have no clue why I would have spelled it with two b's other than that I hit the key twice without realizing!
    I have lived outside the US for much of my adult life and have called many unusual things! In Africa I got called "Blender" a few times! Ha!
    The hat I daughter bought it for me for Christmas from that bazaar I wrote about. I'll have to check into the moleskins. My husband will love you for telling about the Outback Trading Company!

  13. Alaska girl here.... I LOVE THAT SHOW!!! Been looking for the boots myself, glad you named the brand in your story. :) How do the sizes match up? AU -> US

  14. I am in the 7th season of this show and hate that I am coming to its end quickly. As a result of the show and in an effort to pursue my cowgirl dreams I have since started volunteering at a local horse farm. Now thanks to Brenda I have found the boots....thank you much!!

  15. I have started watching this show and I love it. Cried like a baby when Claire died. But I habe fallen in love with the boots they ware can you tell me wear ibcan get them