When I first started this blog, and listed all the ‘ette’ professions, B & W said “there’s no such thing as a ‘farmerette’! You’ve made that one up!” And, I was very pleased to say, “It is in the dictionary: Farmerette (farm-er-ette) is a word, and a noun to describe a girl or woman working on a farm.”
Admittedly, the word was in most common usage in the United States of America circa 1915-1920, which I assume was to do with the women’s Land Army in the First World War, when women took over ploughing the fields, milking the cows, and other farm duties to ensure a plentiful supply of food while men were away at war.
You will find references to farmerettes in various states in America, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, but I am yet to find one in Australia. Undoubtedly, there were Australian women undertaking these tasks during both World Wars, but they were not specifically known as farmerettes.
Most of us are urbanettes and live our lives far removed from food production. Depending on how much space we have available, we might cultivate a garden – some of us like flowers, others vegetables. And, for those who live in apartments or flats, they might keep herbs in pots to add just the right flavour to their evening meal.
Photo courtesy UGArdener via Photopin and Creative Commons
Photo courtesy Ed Yourdon via Photopin and Creative Commons
I love the idea of being a modern-day farmerette, and the emphasis is on the idea, because the reality is a lot of hard work. But isn’t it a grand vision? Your home is set atop a hill and your view is soft green undulating hills. Everything you eat you have grown yourself, and you and your family are clear-skinned, bright-eyed, rosy-cheeked, and brimming with good health.
It is possible to achieve the dream… for a mere £6 million – that’s around $11 million Australian dollars, according to the current exchange rate.
Model and actress, Liz Hurley, is selling up her Cotswolds property known as Ampney Knowle, which is set in 450 acres of farmland and comes complete with six bedrooms, a guest annexe, and two outbuildings. Liz purchased this country manor house a few months after the birth of her son, Damien, in 2002.
If the £6 million is within your budget, your famous neighbours will include Kate Moss and Prince Charles – Highgrove, the Prince’s country residence, is nearby, and the ultimate in organic farming.
But, Liz won’t be hanging up her Wellingtons just yet because she has another country property, originally purchased with former finance, Shane Warne, in Herefordshire. Jane Austen afficinado’s will already know that much of Pride and Prejudice was set Herefordshire.
Whether Liz is looking for her modern day Mr Darcy or not, she is sure to be more than comfortable in her country manor set in 200 acres of rolling hills overlooking the countryside, complete with tennis court, fishing lake, and the all important housekeeper accommodation.
Back in Australia, Collette Dinnigan has scaled down her fashion empire and, if reports are to be believed, it is not because of financial reasons. Like many of us, she wants more balance in her life – she wants to spend more time with her family.
And who wouldn’t want some downtime at Milton – aka Chateau Dinnigan – the country property is absolutely breathtaking! Collette recently married Bradley Cocks and they had a son in November 2013. This is quite an accomplishment given that Collette was aged 47 at the time of his birth.
The Dinnigan/Cocks/Wilkins clan (her daughter Estella’s father is Today show host, Richard Wilkins) look happily ensconced at Milton. Oh, to be picking apples from your very own orchard and to look casually chic while doing so…
Memories of Saddle Club come flashing back when I see Estella on horseback kitted out in the perfect junior equestrian outfit.
Photo courtesy “>fervent-adepte-de-la-mode< via Photopin and Creative Commons
And, when you tire of the rolling hills of the country, you can accompany your husband on a surfing odyssey to a beautiful and remote beach. You get to drive in a really cool authentic 1950s surfer car to get to said beach. You get to wear an exquisite white cotton lace maxi dress. If you get cold, there’s always the Hermes horse blanket you can wrap artfully around yourself to keep warm. Not sure how the horse gets to the beach, but he’s there in case you fancy a gallop.
If your reality, like mine, is far removed from these country idylls, why not take some inspiration from the farmerettes, Liz or Collette and bring some country living into your urbanette lifestyle. I am thinking clusters of potted annuals placed strategically to provide colour and cheer, afternoon tea on my deck over looking my very green, albeit postage stamp sized, lawn! After all, dreaming is free.