So far, this winter has been unusually laden with snow that doesn't go away between snowstorms. What we have here is an "old school" winter. Of all the winters my husband and I have seen together, most of them have been dry, mild, and unusually un-winter like. After the most recent big snows we've received, this year reminds me of the winters of my childhood.
Now that my time is in less demand as a parent, I notice more. Our adopted dog Walter has changed my outlook and attitude on everyday life. Dogs like Walter are positive living examples of how to interact with and respond to the world. They know how to stop and smell the fresh air and take notice of what they smell. They feel the sun and wind on their face and savor the sensation. Our canine companions acknowledge the small stuff. We humans forget to do these kinds of things.
Even though country folks are disconnected from some amenities available to city and town life, there are many things to be grateful for. The sight of clear blue skies and sparsely inhabited wide open spaces. I live where there’s lots of open space and fresh, clean air, but I’ll still manage to find the one fresh cowpie within an acre to step in.
The process of "gettin' a cow in" is no easy task, and is 87 percent of a cattlemen's most famous cow-related stories. "Gettin' a cow in," refers to herding the animal into the barn during the calving process, and it's for the cow's sake, or for her calf. Our options during this are simple: push, pull or both — whatever will get the job done.
Have you ever noticed that the equipment you buy these days comes with a manual that's almost as thick as the manual for understanding women? Manuals have come a long way due to man's penchant for using his machinery, implements and power tools for purposes they weren't invented for.
After 24 years away from 4 a.m. test cramming by the light of my college desk lamp, nothing's changed about my old, ingrained habits. I still put off getting down to business on important stuff I'm unsure about.
Let us consider what it means to "keep up with the Joneses" when you live in the rural countryside. The popular meaning is matching or attempting to match the kind of lifestyle the neighbors have — in other words, the kind where everything's still on credit. The Joneses in farm and ranch country go by a different measuring stick. Urban residents live in close proximity to neighbors whose lifestyle can be studied easily and may be envied: a new pickup, fifth-wheel camper, boat, Harley, snowmobile or some other credit pit.
The country is a beautiful place to live and there are reasons the country is a rural, unpopulated and sometimes merciless place. People new to country living fall in love with the lifestyle, until a big snowstorm hits, making them homebound because they're snowed in.
Any time my husband casually mentions an idea that sounds a little outlandish, it is always best if I pay attention, allow his idea to sink in and then accept it, because it's going to happen. He's the kind of guy who follows through on stuff if I question it. The ideas I'm talking about are projects like erecting a 4-by-8-foot enclosed tree stand 20 feet up in the air or putting a bikini clad mannequin lady in a paddleboat on our dam (he saw the idea on someone else's dam).
It's always been my parenting philosophy to raise my kids to think for themselves and become independent individuals. Now a part of me has changed my mind about that parenting theory. It's not that fun for me anymore. I recently went down to our willow tree to clean up debris gathered around it after some heavy rains. I piled up the big branches then began raking up the smaller twigs. My eyes were drawn overhead to the tree swing (it hit me on the head).