While growing up, we lived out in the woods.We had neighbors, but our neighbors lived at least a half mile away. In comparison to my friends, it seemed like outer Mongolia. For the most part, though, I didn’t mind living so far out (my nose was in a book most of the time anyway). Honestly, I didn’t really think about it, unless of course, there was something that I was just dying to do.
There were things I did mind, though. The roads (approximately 5 miles worth) weren’t black-topped until well after I graduated from high school, which created several complications for living in the sticks. Also, my dad, while working as a machinist, had a full-time job that kept him more than busy; but, he also liked to dabble at farming (you know, that “self-sufficiency” thing and all). We had gardens and animals…my parents still do. These, created issues of their own.
For the majority of every year, those back-roads we lived down, made a huge impact on our lives. In the summers, the dirt would become sand. It was akin to driving on the beach… every day. There was this fine layer of sand that accumulated inside our vehicles and inside our house, causing us to have to dust more than the norm. When it would rain, we would either have to worry about floating ( because if it rained just enough, our little wooden bridge would float, which prevented the ability to drive over it), or, we would face those thick little sand dunes being turned into a slick mush, which caused our vehicles to “stick” on several occasions (and there are a number of ways to do THAT). While these roads were sometimes a pain in the…tires, we pretty much accepted them. Sure, we complained sometimes, but not really that often. If anything, they taught us. At least, they taught me. If you learn how to drive in thick sand and mud, you also become prepared to drive on slick, wet roads, and on icy roads (which doesn’t really happen that often in this part of the south). Good lessons…and good memories.
The animals, on the other hand, not always so much! We had big dogs. Labrador Retrievers. I loved our dogs (as long as they kept their wet, nasty tongues off of me). We had pigs (I was NOT a fan). They stunk! We had turkeys. One of our male turkeys I will never forget. He was a mean bird (but at least daddy kept him pinned up)! Nope, you couldn’t go into the pen without him challenging you. He was so mean, he tormented one of our pigs until the pig almost did the turkey in! We had other animals as well. But the one type of animal that made my life miserable, was our geese. They were white geese with orange beaks…otherwise known as Chinese geese.
No they didn’t look mean…that was what was so scary about the buggers! My lord, those crazy birds scarred me for life! My dad let them roam free on our property. They held me captive! I swear you couldn’t turn your back on those crazy creatures! I went everywhere at a sprint! They would put those looooong necks down, straighten them out in front of them, and CHARGE!
Anyway, such was life…
When I married, I thought I would escape from the inconveniences of back-woods life. Little did I know that it was imprinted in my DNA. It was ingrained in me. We now have 15 acres. We have a garden (which I love). We have animals (NO geese, mind you). Little did I know that this so-called simple country life could be what I wanted, could be beautiful, even. What I saw as a plain-Jane, country girl’s life, I now see as beauty. There is something fascinating about the nuances of country critters.
My dad still has animals, and honestly, they are more beautiful than ever (still not the geese, though). Beauty does come with age!
My dad has a right to be proud of his country life:
Wouldn’t you agree?