Thursday, March 11, 2010

The romance of country living

I can very clearly recall (not so long ago) living in a typical urban subdivision for most of our married lives, always somehow yearning dearly to move and live out in a more rural area. I have always desired to live on a big piece of land and soak up the sublime peaceful ideals of country living.

When living in urban areas, I've always included "nature study" in our family experiences, ensuring our children knew about and/or saw (when possible) almost every type of animal available to us, either at a park, at the waterside, on a hike, when traveling, or the zoo.

Anything to get close to nature was usually found on my agenda, whether in field or forest, mountain or valley. We participated in all sorts of programs near and far, just to gather an appreciation for the beauty of the world around us.

Fast forward to now, a current timing when that dream has come true for we really do live in the country. And nature in all it glory rests just outside of our doorway! Bliss....

Just like Hansel and Gretel, our children can use their imaginative play to explore and (maybe) find a house completely decorated in candy out yonder, or they can pretend to roam over to grandmother's house while donning a little red cape, or perhaps they wish to seek out and find the Briar Patch for a chat with Blacky the crow.

Whatever a child can imagine doing on a country sized property, I want them to be able to clearly envision imaginative aspirations while skipping and hopping about in the natural forest setting out yonder.

Even though there are several more homes built since our move to our present area, we are still very much surrounded by a forest of trees and wild brush.
Together with our neighbors, all continue to update one another and chat about our resident animal, insect and reptilian life in our local geographical area. We all concur that it's sure been interesting thus far and look forward to even more findings and surprises. Well, sort of...

An abundance of life can be found here and with the warmer weather visiting after the harsher winter months, the forest seems to be waking up again!

The romance of life in the country can be found in words and illustrations amongst loving settings on the pages of those books lovingly created by famous authors such as Tasha Tudor, Beatrix Potter, and Thornton Burgess with their artistry of beloved mice, bunnies, fox, birds and other assorted animals. Perusing one of these allows us a step back to a quieter hush of life where one falls in love over and over again with creatures big and small, curious and chatty, those living out yonder in field and forest.

Even my favorite sketching book by Clare Walker offers many possibilities for tracking and finding animals in habitat situations, forests included. I just love that book.

The romance of living life in the country can easily capture our hearts when owning just a wee bit of paradise in such a possible return to a - tranquily-type-of-lifestyle. Do not forget though that it took us almost thirty years of marriage to arrive here. :) It sure didn't happen when we yearned for it most, when we had eight children still living at home who could benefit from such freedom of movement.

Life in the east has provided that long desired dream of living in a rural country setting, even if we only have three acres of our own at present. Indeed we've come a long way to be able to actually realize our dream of living life "in the foresty country".

The romance of living in the country is also likened to a love of privacy and getting out of the rat race, with the hubbub of noise from the city and into a more relaxed environment where an inviting setting of unobstructed natural beauty can literally take our breath away. We can unwind in a jiffy when having to trek from the city to our home again.

What you'll find when you enter our general area

There is though, a wee bit of silly anxiety at times for what might yet next appear in our home. With all those tracks around outdoors in the snow, it's easy to distinguish entry points, and the wonderment (growling) over just how those critters came to dine with us.

For instance, the weasel and mice have been entering in the outside vent of a fireplace. So strong are they that the actual pipe has been bent back a bit, and an entry hole sits unguarded to run between floors. So we think. How else would a weasel enter into the cold duct venting system anyway? It requires a 1 1/4 in hole to squeeze into, so this makes sense.

The reality of life in the country is yielding and knowing we came to nature's corner and the very real possibility of the return for long snakes in the garden will continue, the highways of rodent urban escapes dwell underground in our gardens, and many rodents and small mammalia live on our property and share our turf with us.

Just a few we now know of are; mice, voles, chipmunks, squirrels, groundhogs, short tailed weasels, rabbits, and not necessarily right on our property but very nearby are; porcupine, skunks, raccoons, deer, wild turkeys, horses, and more.

Occasionally we hear the howling of a pack of coyotes, and the odd story of another black bear. Little did we know a few miles away in the thick bramble of a hugely dense allocated county forest, there have been spottings of cougar which keep the wild turkey population down, bobcat, fishers, and assorted wolves. They can stay there.

Okay, so there are some of the things that aren't so pleasant about living in the country, rather within a forest setting such as ours.

However, there are incredible blessings overall, and some things one won't find while living here; enormous amounts of noise pollution, the sound of buses or blaring sirens from residential folks tripping their alarms. One won't have to listen to the hum of traffic, or the sound of horns from people in a hurry.

Life in the country slows us down, and silence becomes golden while tuning in to the sound of a singsong bird, or a woodpecker thumping upon a rotting tree trunk.

Life in the country allows for long leisurely, meandering walks when we begin to become repetitive when uttering;
  • I wonder what that weed is on the forest floor, or what those animal tracks are.
  • I wonder what the dogs are smelling and ready to bolt toward while on sensory overload.
  • I wonder what crop that farmer just planted, or what we might see today when we're out on our nature stroll.

One becomes quickly unwound from the busyness of life when resuming life in the country after the work day is done, or a shopping/errand day in the city. For me, it's always great to return home again once we're out of that element of urban visiting. A big sigh escapes our lips, for we are home, in the country where we belong.


So, I'll just go ahead and set up another mouse trap tonight, hoping we'll catch the little fellow who visited us in the kitchen last night. And when one of our dogs runs wildly out yonder in the hope of catching one of the black squirrels who have been hanging around their bird feeder scientific study area, well, what can we say? It's all new to them too, so we will (in time) just have to all become tolerant of these little things together.