When John Denver wrote/sang, "Life in the farm is kinda laid back..." I'm afraid he did not know what he was talking about. Surely the only person who could intone these lyrics is a singer who can hire stuff done and then lie back around his country home, enjoying only the relaxing part. Believe me, there is another side...
In my own country world, there is always something that has been left undone: fences need mending (or the horses lead one on a harrowing chase), grass needs mowing, and electricity is sometimes missed. But it has its many, many moments of beauty. Just look at my horse, Bill, gazing out over our country place. In this picture, he embodies the nobility and serenity and peace of my life in the country.
And then there is Chili, the Belgian Malinois pictured above. He is my constant companion when I am home. Oh, he can be noble, too. Sometimes. But then there is today. See that picture of him? That little item lying just next to his crumpled rug is a freshly-found deer leg, left for him by a hunter, complete with hoof. Mmmmm, good (to canines, anyway).
I'm not real happy with the picture I took--it does not do this beautiful dog justice, but I had to take it through the glass of the laundry room door so that he wouldn't get up and the picture is a bit angled and narrow because I do not want you to see the absolutely total wreck he has made of this back porch! There was a bag of charcoal stored there (bad mistake), and it is now scattered everywhere amongst the shards of cardboard he dragged up and shredded--just so I'd have something to clean up, I suppose.
I don't mean to complain about Chili. You'll see more about his escapades in other writings because, believe me, there are plenty. He's an escapade kind of dog. Our other dog, Scout, the sheltie, rolls her eyes at his antics then fixes them on me as if to say, "Can you see what he is doing?"
I put this escapade-proneness down to Chili's intelligence, because he is one smart cookie. And he's just now a year old, so he has youthful exuberance that Scout has matured out of. He also has the run of the woods--must be heaven for a dog. We have the good fortune to live far off "real" roads and against acres and acres of woodland full of deer, so at night when he goes out or during the day while his mistress is at work, an exuberant, smart dog is bound to find treasures and trouble in the woods.
But back to the real topic: Country life. For all you city slickers who are sucked in by John Denver's classic fraud, let me give you a peek into my life. Just close your eyes and imagine...
- Coming out your front door during hunting season and finding at your front door an entire bloody haunch of a deer--not this dainty morsel shown above;
- Going five full days with no electricity;
- Having to use a small pick axe to break up the grain in the cold winter time so you can scoop it out to feed (not to mention breaking the ice on the water troughs);
- Knowing that your cats probably will not last long...except for Sasha, who has now lasted three years longer than her litter mates because she has the good sense to stay on the porch and not venture into coyote territory, which is only yards away.
I could go on about snakes, ticks and chiggers, grand-daddy-long legs; and these are the things that worry my city visitors most. Me, my biggest worries center on being a single woman with limited resources! Other women covet diamonds--I covet truck loads of fence posts I see going down the freeway! I haven't named my little farm, but "Constant Work" might be a contender for that title.
But weigh all that against my wide porches looking out at the woodland edge, hearing whippoorwills and watching grazing deer while I sip tea there. Or put it up against warm spring walks through the fields with ponies trailing along, occasionally tugging at my shirt for attention. Or how about finding a fallen log in "just the right shape" and getting your nieces to help you paint it as a "tree dragon," a little sculpture for visitors to your forest trail to come upon and enjoy.
When I first became single, everyone (including me) assumed I'd sell the place and get a postage stamp lot with house in the city--you know, something easy to maintain. As a matter of fact, for a while "easy to maintain" became a mantra among my family and friends for me. And I must admit that it sounds good to me sometimes, too. But when it is all said and done, I am a "country girl," and, now into my sixth month of singleness, I'm adjusting and learning to stand on my feet and, most of all I'm learning that I am, indeed, a country girl and that, man or no man, I can do this.
Besides, how could I subject Chili to subdivision life! Where would he get his fresh venison?--C 12/2/2008