(Near a) Farm Livin’ is the Life for Me!
I love living out in the boondocks!
We just have to stroll down the road a piece to observe a working farm. It’s quite a change from our last home. Compared to the congested neighborhood that we used to live in where I could practically see what brand of underwear our work-from-home-with-the-curtains-open-nudist-wannabe neighbor wore, our current home feels like the little house on the prairie.
Beginning in June, at our old home, we could listen to five different family conversations at one time if we were so inclined simply by opening the door to the screen porch. When I open the door to the deck now, I typically only hear tree frogs and song birds.
Our home backs up to two ponds: one a detention pond created by our subdivision builders, and the second a natural wetland where blue herons, egrets, and red-winged blackbirds coffee klatch daily. The photo below shows a colony of egrets perched on the trees around the wetlands as seen from our deck.
Wildlife abounds out in our neck of the woods.
A few years back, we were frequently visited by a great horned owl. Walking to the kitchen to start a pot of coffee in the morning, I was often greeted by this majestic bird, perched on the railing of our deck, welcoming me to the new day with its large, penetrating eyes. The downside was that it would leave little calling cards letting us know that we were his favored people: owl pellets – tight little bundles of joy stuffed with indigestible fur and bones that were deposited on our deck, our lawn, and on our front stoop. After all, nothing says ‘welcome to our humble abode’ as a guest approaches the door quite like an owl pellet.
The owl also habitually bashed its prey on the roof of our bedroom to kill it before eating it, at least that’s what we assumed we were hearing, which caused a bit of a problem since its suppertime was usually around 2:00 a.m.
We still hear it occasionally perched on our warm chimney in the thick of winter, its stuttering “hoo-h’HOO-hoo-hoos” reverberating off the walls of the flue.
Owls certainly serve their purpose in the food chain since we haven’t happened upon a snake in the grass since the first owl sighting. These magnificent birds have an almost 4-foot wing span, and are able to swoop down seemingly without a sound to capture their prey. They eat skunks, rodents, and have even been known to prey on small dogs and cats, which is why a leash and a watchful eye is critical for late night bathroom breaks when it comes to our 12-lb. dog.
Photo courtesy of: Kathleen Finnerty
When it’s bone-chillingly cold outside and the air is thin, at times I’ll be awoken by what I initially think are sirens, but quickly realize are the territorial howls of coyotes in the brush around the pond 25 feet away from our bedroom window. It makes me appreciate sturdy walls and a warm, safe bed. We’ve even had a coyote boldly approach the bus stop in the morning, eyeing our dog, Tia, as a potential to-go breakfast entree. There’ve hardly been any TNT/Acme shenanigans to speak of, however, so that’s a blessing.
And then there was the time when I glanced out the back window one morning as I was doing dishes and shrieked with delight as three beautiful horses galloped around our pond. It was a stunning sight. It seems that they had escaped from the horse farm across the street and were romping around, reveling in their temporary freedom. A police officer soon gave chase, on foot no less, looking for all of the world like an ineffective Keystone Cop as he swung a rope about the length of a dog leash over his head. I guess there typically isn’t a lot of need for honest to goodness wrangling equipment in these here parts.
Deer consider my vegetable garden a salad bar, rabbits wreak havoc on my flowerbeds, and a snapping turtle chose my cutting garden to dig up as a perfect home for her 20 or so eggs.
It all comes with the territory though, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
You can keep Chicago just give me that countryside!
Are you an urban dweller, a suburbanite, an old farm hand or somewhere in-between?