We moved to the country to embrace the simple life. Couple of city kids eschewing the fast pace ready to raise our family in a grass roots kinda way.
First, let’s discuss grass and it’s roots. Grass growing on an acre of land responds to the threat of weeds like a turtle when confronted by a couple of little boys. No hint of self preservation or fight, at all. It just withdraws right back into the ground, much like a turtle into it’s shell. Now the moment a tumbleweed rolls through our yard depositing New Mexico across our homestead, I race outside whispering soothing words to the grass while spraying/pulling the weeds that have already started taking root.
The weeds, y’all. Ermergersh. They have personality. Some I can pull without spraying anything. Others mock my gardening gloves. They snicker knowing I bought these gloves when we lived in town so I could plant flowers without having to touch any worms or snails. They know my gloves are meant for utility no more strenuous than catching butterflies, and these weeds have thorns as big as faces. After I spray these bullies with weed killer they do have the decency to turn brown, which lulls me into a sense of false security. The reality is brown is a weed’s Hulk-out color. When a weed turns brown be advised it has done so to put all it’s effort into growing more thorns. The weed killer is actually producing a Gamma radiation reaction that is causing the weed to develop nascent human intelligence without empathy. It is causing the weed to develop fangs and talons while the root system seeks out strongholds miles below the surface. I now approach this situation with tougher gloves, a shovel, and a blow torch.
We have also planted a garden. We filled it with organic soil, tilled it with the natural dirt and fertilizer. In it we planted corn, squash, watermelon, spinach, kale, beans, tomatoes, cantaloupe, zucchini, and peppers. We are watering it daily with a mist that mimics the gentle drops of a springtime drizzle. So far our garden has rewarded our efforts with a pretty sweet crop of grass. And not the kind people smoke in those hippie states. Our acre-turtle grass.
UGH. When we lived in the city, I would trap spiders under bowls and wait for the firefighter to come home and smash them and dispose of them properly. In the first couple of months of living out here, I learned how to get a shoe and smash them then cleaned the mess with a clorox wipe. Then it was bare hand and half a square of 1 ply toilet paper. Now I just take a picture of the dang thing, google to find out if it is dangerous or useful. If he is harmless and his web shows evidence that he is a productive member of our little society he gets a stay of execution.
I realized the other day that my new spider policy is catching on as our kiddos were catching the flies that had come in our house during the whirlwind weekend of gardening. I heard a good deal of squeals and cheers and a lot of shouts about how many they were catching, but I noticed they weren’t making any trips outside or to a trashcan to dispose of the flies. So I asked,( though at this point in motherhood I usually know better <sidebar: do not ask your child why there are three pairs of underwear in the trash. They will answer and their answer will test your “Never let them see they have shocked you” policy. >) “What are y’all doing with all the flies?”
“We’re feeding them to the spiders.”
What has happened to us??
I’ll tell you what. We are getting a kick out of discovering what all is happening in our world around us. As our first couple of veggies have started to emerge our kiddos are in awe that what was only a tiny seed a week ago has now pushed its way to the surface. A couple of scissortails are building their nest on our house. We enjoy watching the way they glide and dance on the wind and love to hear their song. It is adorable watching the daddy bring giant twigs as the momma throws them at his face and asks for something softer for their babies. I get that. I now know that there are lady bugs and asian beetles, which look exactly like lady bugs, but they bite and then your husband looks at you like you are the biggest pansy because you are saying a lady bug just bit you. (google it, people). Our boys have chased, caught, and cared for all kinds of nature. We watched a colt walk just after he was born and watched his sweet momma nudge him away as she gave us the stink eye until we left. We have watched dust devils start and are fascinated by the wildness of them and agree they are aptly named. We have laid down and stared up in awe looking at a night sky so full of stars that we were speechless with wonder. We have watched the seasons change in the night sky. We have watched a storm grow from a single cloud and build only to watch it pass us by. We share an ache with the farmers as we all pray for rain.
It is hard living out here, but it is teaching us so many life lessons daily. For myself, I am discovering a strength, and pride in HARD work that is never finished. And I am learning patience in a way I never had to. Nothing comes as quickly or as easily as I would like on land that must be worked.
P.S. Don’t worry, Laura. Hank and Clyde and their webs have been removed in honor of your visit. Er, I mean those nasty spiders. 😉
That is beautiful, and expresses much of what I think about living out in the country. We live almost in the country now, and hope to make all the way in the country in the next few years. I’m gonna have to save this post, to remind myself why I want to live in the country when the bugs get in the house, when live gets kinda gross, and nature kicks my butt. Thanks for this gentle kick in the pants getting me to really think about ‘why live in the country?”