Wednesday, January 12, 2011

they're not made with women in mind

We've lived at this address for just a hair over 4 years, it does not in any way seem possible! Garlic has been here almost as long and every winter I trudge to the barn to do chores and nearly freeze to death, so when it's really cold I work really fast! Now mind you this is all my doing, I'm the one who wants animals in the barn to have to go out to take care of, I'm the one who is super picky about clothes or rather outer gear but for valid (at least in my mind) reason. You see, outer gear; coats, boots, hats etc. tend to be expensive and I'm really a more frugal person, I don't want to spend gobs of money on something if it doesn't work for me. Makes sense, right? Well take for example boots, I had winter boots when we moved here, well I should say that I had the same pair of winter boots that I'd begged my parents for back in high school. They worked for a bit, but were not barn boots, not for a Maine winter on a farm, so I got rid of them. Then I wore hiking shoes for a while and believe it or not they were warmer than the boots! However, when I had to climb up onto the roof to shovel several feet of snow off I figured I'd better have something that would work better... Oh crap! I don't have anything! I knew what type of boot I wanted and they just don't make them for women! I'm not sure why, but I've just never been able to find them and I've looked EVERYWHERE!! I even tried boots that would have worked, despite the fact that they had that girly fuzz around the top. Ugh! Who wears that anyway? Fuzzy topped boots for shoveling manure??!! really!?! So after one trip to a 4-H meeting in them I took them back because I couldn't feel my feet in them after the meeting was done, and they were 'winter' boots. But the roof was not shoveling itself and I was out of options. I grabbed a pair of thick wool socks and put Ron's boots on and went to work. They worked despite the fact that they were huge!

Now I had another problem, no snow pants and the wind just whips right through jeans and wind through wet jeans pierces the skin and bites to the bone! Since the snow on the roof was thigh high it made for some very cold legs! Thermals will work in a pinch, but every time I bent over to shovel or what have you my underwear kept falling down and we all know how pleasant underwear (or "skibbies" as they're called here) issues are... and going commando while out shoveling snow is just not an option! I need all the layers I can get!

This year all that has changed! Yea! I got a couple gift certificates to a favorite place of mine to shop, Tractor Supply!!!! Yea! :: insert angelic aaaaaaaa here:: I was SO happy about that I mean c'mon really I can shop there without guilt! :: more angelic noise here:: A few days after Christmas I headed into town on a mission with gift cards in hand! I walked in and headed straight for the winter coverall section. I looked around thinking I'd get a one piece snowsuit thingy, hearing they are really warm and long lasting. See a pattern here, I'll spend money on something that works for me and bonus if it wears well. Not seeing anything like that in the women's section I ventured to the men's rack. I grabbed a couple off the rack and headed to the fitting room. I tried the smaller of the two on and went to zip it up, got about chest high and the zipper stopped, damn! Clearly men's clothing was not made with women in mind, especially not a large chested woman. I adjusted the girls and tried again, I managed to get it zipped up but could not breath never mind bend over, damn! So I took it off and tried the other one, I cinched in the waist and rolled the legs and arms up and was able to zip it, but the crotch hung down almost to my knees and I pondered this for a minute and thought can I live with this? I walked around in the fitting room, (finally a place to try on clothes that's bigger than a coffin!) and the whole combo of rolled sleeves and legs and low crotch which incidentally was starting to chafe my thighs was more than I could deal with so in frustration I took it off.

I walked back over to the rack and hung them up feeling a bit defeated. Just for sheer curiosity I looked again through the women's section. One thing I knew for sure is that I was not about to buy pink coveralls to wear in the barn. My option was a bib type pant in a plum color or brown. So I tried those on and to my surprise everything was where it was supposed to be and I had room in places I need room, no chafing, and there were lots of pockets for treats, and if (ha ha ha yeah right!) when I get them covered from the barn it won't show as much, bonus! At first I didn't think this would work, as I'd really had my heart set on a one piece, but the more I thought about it the more that this seemed like a better idea after all, I mean when I'm up on the roof shoveling or snow blowing I tend to get hot and this way I could take the jacket off and just wear the coveralls, and not have frozen legs! Hey this might actually work! So I decided on the brown pair and walked out the store a very happy woman!

**I really look like a dork, but I'm warm and will stay that way, and besides now I have snow pants to play in the snow with my kids so I'm a happy dork with happy kids!

I got home, put on my new winter gear; including the hand knit socks that my sister gave me for Christmas that actually come up to my knees, but so warm and kept my toes so toasty, Ron's boots, my barn jacket and gloves. Then in the midst of this Andrew says to me Mommy, you need to put this hat on too! So to humor him I did, I think these are the ugliest hats and have no intention of getting one, but he thought I looked "cute." That said one night last February I'd have given just about anything for one while I was out in the barn milking in below zero weather.

I went to the barn and did what needed to be done and all this outer wear worked great, it was bulky and took a bit of getting used to but I was warm so I got used to it really quickly! When I returned to the house and shed all my layers I felt like I was floating, all that winter gear is heavy! Now for the boots, yup! I've figured out what I want, I think, and three other hardworking farming women I know and trust wear this type of boot, my only hang up is that they're about $80.00! Yikes! All three women when I asked about this particular boot sang it's praises, and no fuzzy tops, so I'm headed in the right direction I think, now if I can just find my size...


  1. Go buy the darn boots! I think we can afford it! Geesh!

  2. As my Nana used to say "it is not the cost of some things that make it good, but how many times you thank God for that very thing that makes it truly worth every cent."

    But $80 bucks.....OUCH!!!

  3. Your Nana sounds like a very wise woman, I might had to adopt that phrase myself, it's very true!

  4. I don't know what kind of boots you're looking at, but I HIGHLY recommend BOGS. They cost about that much, maybe even a little more - I can't remember what I paid, but it's been worth every cent. They keep my feet warm and dry, unlike the other twenty seven pairs of boots I've tried, either because they were "cute" or were SUPPOSED to keep my feet warm. I've been toying with getting a carhart jacket with the fuzzy lining inside, but...I want PINK! (Not really the pinky, pink, but more like a dark, dusty rose pink). But for me, I sort of have a jacket "issue" (like some women with shoes... not me) and I don't really NEED another jacket. So, probably I WON"T be throwing the money at it this year. And my 17 years old son gave me a TS gift certificate for Christmas too - it was my FAVORITE present. That store ROCKS!!!

  5. I think you look pretty darn stylish. Isn't Carhart the uniform of the real Mainer? The hat is cute on you. Go for the boots. There is no reason not to as they will serve you in many seasons and may last a lifetime.

  6. I think I may just be sporting a new pair of winter boots by this weekend!!

    I'm not a real Mainer, as I wasn't born here. I'm a Coloradan by heart and I know when I get to Montana I'll feel that way about there too.

  7. Hooray for Tractor Supply! Over the past few years I've gotten a great jacket and pair of boots from them to help me stave off being a popsicle! So glad you were able to find something that fit well and keeps you warm! Get the boots! They seem to have already been tried tested and shown as true by your friends, and there is nothing like having a great fitting warm pair of boots in the winter while out doing the barn chores.

  8. I love this post! I can totally relate to the carharts NOT being made for women! I think we put the sexy back in carharts!!!! LOL

  9. You might put the sexy back Sweetland, not so much here...

    Looking forward to this weekend and a warm pair of boots, hopefully!

    Montana will be wonderful Dex, I just know it!

  10. My DH only wear Carhartts, every day, and every Christmas I buy him 3 new pairs of the exact same style and colour to replace the ones he's worn out. If only women's shopping could be such a no-brainer.

    I rock the bib and brace look too, a camo thermal pair for the cold and a rubber dairyman's pair for the wet. I've never even considered the fashion (or not) aspect because I have warm thighs or a dry butt.

    For warmth and grip, have you considered a pair of neoprene-lined wellie boots? I love my Aigles. Not cheap but they've lasted me for years of daily use. Also waterproof and easy to hose off after chores.

    I'm so envious that you live near a Tractor Supply. We've got nothing comparable in the UK.


So what's the view from your world about that? I'd enjoy hearing it.