Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Full Moon Brings Out the Animals

A couple of weeks ago Ray and I were sitting on the steps of our front porch, enjoying the warm night’s air. Dan was off, as usual, doing his nightly duties outside. Ray’s deep, soothing voice was still hanging in the air, when I heard the sound. It was a crying sound, much like a baby fawn makes. I was thrilled and excited now as I eagerly listened; it had been awhile since I had seen a baby fawn, much less taken one in. Ray noticed my intent stares into the darkness and ceased talking, listening with me. “I think I hear something crying!” I said. Dan had picked up on the sounds himself, and was stalking the further edge of the driveway, peering out through the grass, growling.

We sat in silence for a bit, and heard nothing more. Ray began to talk again and I laid my head on his shoulder, enjoying the reverberating sound of his voice. Soon Ray’s talking brought those cries in closer, and this time, we watched a white dot start emerging from the darkest corner of the yard. It was coming in fast.

“There!” I cried, pointing at the white image bobbing and weaving across the yard. As Dan spiraled off the porch like a rabid dachshund, Ray started across the yard behind him then stopped short. The white blurry object had gained enough ground towards our location and was now sporting a white appendage, sticking out above its fast moving body. It sounded as if it was calling out, “Mama!”. But, “Mama” was not moving off the porch; not until Dan and Ray had identified what was calling her name!

It was a half-grown kitten. Dan had since developed a tolerance for cats, and even though Ray had picked the kitten up as a precautionary measure, I knew he wouldn’t have hurt her. When Ray brought the kitten to the porch, she was already purring contently. I still don’t know which one of us was smiling the biggest, Ray, Dan, the kitten or I, as we all sat close together on the steps.

The full moon peeked out from behind the clouds, as if to smile in satisfaction of seeing another homeless stray find solace from the terrors of the woods. The symbolism was not lost on us and we quickly named her Luna. The relief in knowing that we saved yet another little life from the unforgiving countryside, was coupled with the added relief of not seeing four more little white blobs running behind her.

The only spot that mars her beautiful white coat is the brown smudge marks on the top of her head. At first I thought the spots were dirt, but after scrubbing the poor kitten’s head almost bald, we found out the spot was going to stay. The next move for us is to get her spayed so Booboo will not become a father in his old age. For now, she is little enough to squeeze herself into the most impossible tiniest of spaces, and entertains us nightly with her antics.

Dan now gets to snack on cat food, when he thinks no one is watching. Booboo has now been granted in-house rights, seeing that Luna has been mostly inside. Ray and I are just amazed at how all three get along so well. That’s a good thing, considering at any moment, another little four-footed ball of fur may find its way to our humble abode. Living out in the country, you find that to be something you could almost win a bet on.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Opossum or Cat

The other night, as we let the dog out for his last chance to use the outdoor facilities, we noticed two other creatures in the front yard. A cat was crouching just a few yards from a opossum, and it wasn't the stray black cat we normally feed, this one's white hair glowed in the security light. The other creature was a very pregnant looking opossum. Daniel, of course, true to form, at once leaped off the porch growling and barking, waiting to chase the first thing that moved, and the first thing that moved was the cat, so he took off chasing it into the back yard. As he returned to the front yard, and before we could distract him, he had seen the opossum, heading into the shadows of the front yard's oak trees. He proceeded to move in wide circles around the opossum, cutting it off from its escape route, scratching the ground around him with his back feet, and barking. Of course, we were calling him away, and using our most serious, come-here-now voices, which he answered back with his own, come-here-now voice. The yard was dark, the grass high and I didn't want to step off into it in case one of them came running towards me, which of course would have been the opossum first, trying to lose the dog.

As the dog and opossum moved deeper into the shadows of the front yard, I grew worried. Daniel lived his first three years in the city, he has no common sense when it come to these backwoods country creatures. I was yelling "Leave alone!", and Ray was yelling, "Come here!", and neither one of us was getting anywhere with Daniel. I'm not sure how the dog and the opossum came to a mutual agreement, but Daniel came scampering back onto the porch, with his ears laid back, head up high, and tail bowed. I was relieved when Daniel came out of the shadows and not the opossum. Thinking back, I'm sure the cat would have had better chances of disposing the opossum than Daniel would have. Dogs just have a way of heading nose long into the melee without thinking. We put out extra food for the other cat, I hope it isn't female.

Since we have had Daniel here in the country, he has had run ins with armadillos, stray cats, dogs, and of course, ticks and fleas. Before we lay him to rest beside my own sweet dachshund, Dixie, I'm sure that list will have grown considerably. I'm dreading it.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Art in Country Living

Yes, there is an art to country living. Many people have defined themselves with the art of country living. Farmers with their bountiful crops, crafters with their wildflowers, vine wreaths, homemakers with their homemade breads, jams, jellies, cakes, and quilts. Even country music artists, dedicate their lives to declaring their love of everything country. They say, life imitates art, and here, in the country, one can certainly find out how true that can be.

I was raised in the country and the country holds a special place in my heart. My children were raised in the country and if they chose to come back into it, I will be extremely pleased and relieved. The choice of living the country life is one that cannot be taken lightly, or done without a good dose of common sense. Country living is earned by right of passage amongst the briers of fruit bearing bushes, and the blisters and backaches from pulling weeds in your garden and flowerbeds.

OK, I can hear you thinking, “You might be a redneck if….” Rest assured that was twenty-four years ago, and it went like this, “You might be married to a redneck if…..” Oh, before you think I have a personal vendetta against rednecks, let me clear that up rather quickly! My oldest daughter is a redneck girl. She loves mudding, trucks, hunting, fishing, drinking, and sings shamelessly too loud with the country songs that blare from her radio. I love her dearly, and my country little pumpkin grandson, Braden, who is two and already has the endearing vernacular of a soon-to-be-redneck. There is not enough that I can about the joys of being a redneck, just more that I can say about not living with a redneck. Besides, it was being married to a redneck that kept me in the country life.

Here, the night air is prone to give your brood the croup, the trip into town can be an unthankful chore, and the heat of the mid-day tends to only exemplify any genetic gene pool defects that might be running in the family. Between all of these mundane trivial mishaps, is the canvas of blue skies and green grass, the wildflowers and the winds rustling through the live oaks, and whispering through the pines. This makes it all worthwhile, even with the added perils of the snakes, the poison oak and ivy, the fire ants, mosquitoes, wasps, ladybugs, mice, roaches, moles, opossums, armadillos, and garden eating deer.

Next time you have a chance to visit the country, stop in at a little country restaurant, and let all of your senses take in a good dose of country. Then, take the time to drive to the local flea market and browse through it, and see how popular the old farm tools, antiques and old everyday items country folks use, are even today. Make sure you think to take a little bit of country home with you, there you can unwrap it, and enjoy your little piece of country living.