Every now and then, I fantasize about what it might be like to live in the heart of town instead of out in the country. No fifteen minute drive to wherever I need to go. No long hours on the lawn tractor. No hay bale-heaving or fence repair.
And likely no newspaper column, either.
One of my favorite lines in literature is from Sue Monk Kidd’s wonderful book “The Secret Life of Bees.” While trudging along a rural road at dusk, the teenage protagonist comments that “people who think it’s quiet in the country have never lived there.” I contend that people who think it’s dull never have, either.
In musing over what I would write about this week, I flipped through the notebooks where I’ve filed all my Herald-Citizen columns, beginning in 1987 with one entitled “Cookeville has a dog problem—is it your dog?” As expected, I discovered that many of my favorites are about life in this old farmhouse on this old farm in a part of Putnam County that is still, thankfully, quite rural. Just a few of the subjects I likely couldn’t have written about had I been a city girl:
- Bucky the buckskin horse
- Apache, the spotted pony who fell into the swimming pool
- Hosting a meteor party
- Blackberry picking in my own pasture
- Cedar Christmas trees in my own pasture
- A bald eagle in a walnut tree in my own pasture
- A partially buried pet goat in my own pasture
- Dozens of stray cats and dogs dumped in my yard
- Hunting for morel mushrooms along the trail in my woods
- Discovering a hummingbird nest on the trail in my woods
- Critters in my house who don’t belong, including but not limited to horse flies, fruit flies, mice, rats, a blind raccoon, at least one dead possum, frogs, lizards and copperhead snakes
- Planting by “the signs”
- Homegrown tomatoes and summer squash and zucchini and okra
- Hiking across a frozen pond
- The joys of a clothesline
- The joys of a woodstove and a shed stacked high with firewood
- Goose eggs
- Groundhogs, of course
Just when I think I’ve exhausted all “life on the farm” possibilities, something
else crazy and unexpected happens. Thank goodness. But since I’ve run out of
room to write about what happened in the blackberry thicket a couple of days
ago, you’ll have to tune in next week.
(July 7, 2013)