Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

A Little Life.

Posted on | February 22, 2017 | 2 Comments

Last night a patient asked me where I lived and when I answered, she looked at me quizzically.  She repeated the name of my town to her husband and he also looked at me blankly.  I live about 17 miles from them.  In the same county.  Granted they live in the larger, neighboring town—a town with a population of about 60,000 people including the many university students living in a dorm or off-campus apartment.  But, really, 17 miles isn’t that far away.  I had to chuckle to myself.  Because it wasn’t the first time I’ve gotten that blank stare.

I usually volunteer at my friend’s fiber farm each spring during the county’s annual farm tour.  People get out of their cars with backpacks and water bottles, stretch their arms and legs, and ooh and aah at the fields and farm animals.

“It’s so beautiful out here!”  they say.

“I just can’t believe this scenery!”  they say.

“Look at the sheep!”  they say.  (While pointing at the Angora goats.)

Then they sign in at the farm table and I see that they live in the city just outside of the neighboring town.  The city with about 245,000 people.  And about 20 miles away.

It makes me laugh.

I wouldn’t even dream of mentioning the name of my town when I am in the state capital (a whopping 40 miles away) and expect any recognition.

Oh, I realize I live in small town.  I live a little life.

And today was such a great day in my little life in my small town—I got home late from work so The Other Half had to pack the kids’ lunches.

Image result for nelson muntz ha ha

I had so many scraps in the scrap bucket that I didn’t have to feed the chickens any grain.

angry chicken

My teenagers left for high school 5 minutes earlier than they left the day before, which means they are almost leaving on time.  Almost.

Image result for general lee speeding away

I met a friend for a hike then carried my sweaty self down the road to the school to pick up one kid’s report card and meet with another kid’s counselor to start planning fall semester.  But it’s OK because now there are a lot of pinterest hacks for “Second Day Hair.”  You know, greasy hair that has survived a 24 hour shift and an hour hike and then gone to meet with school staff as if showers are just for the 1%.  It looks something like this:

By the time I got home, the grader had arrived to do the driveway.  The grader!  With a dump truck full of gravel! O joyous day!  There is nothing like a new gravel driveway in the country.  No hump!  No ruts!  No weeds in the middle!

Image result for goat smiling

Once inside the house I got down to important business paperwork.  I called the local propane company, complained about the tank rental fee, and got it waived for the year.  Called the insurance agent about the homeowner’s insurance bill and he said we didn’t owe any money this year because it was covered by escrow and then I talked to the bank who said I better pay the insurance company because the bank did not have any money in an escrow account for that.  There went the savings on the propane tank rental.  (Easy come, easy go in a little life.)  Then I filled out the annoying mandatory survey from my auto insurance company about how many vehicles we have and how many miles we drive them each year.  Fudged it because how do I know how many miles I drive the farm truck every year? I don’t even know if I am supposed to be paying my homeowner’s insurance or if the bank is paying it.  (Although, in my defense, neither does my insurance agent.)  I wrapped up my paperwork by booking a 2 day spring break trip to Great Wolf Lodge for the kids because my best friend got us this unbelievable rate and we are going together so our kids can play with each other and she and I can sit and talk.  Even my oldest kid was excited about that.  I am thinking of selling that as an advertisement to the Great Wolf Lodge people:

With paperwork out of the way, I opened all the windows to let in the fresh 65 degree air and then I headed outdoors.  I refilled the bird feeders and scrubbed and refilled the dogs’ patio water bucket.  I turned the gourds on the deck and reraked the stone walkway.  Because someone borrowed a massive, extremely powerful leaf blower to prepare the driveway for grading and blew all the driveway leaves onto my nicely raked walkway.  Have you ever noticed how much men crave power in an inverse proportion to how well they can handle power?  I mean, besides on the news lately….

I went to the barn and trimmed Oliver’s hooves.  Then I used some scrap roofing to block off the chicken’s most recent hole through the fence into the front yard.  Next I went into the greenhouse and filled a million planters with growing medium in preparation for spring planting.  Because with every day over 60 degrees it gets harder and harder to convince myself that it’s too early to start growing things in the greenhouse.

Image result for meme, gardener waiting for spring

As if my day wasn’t fabulous enough, I returned inside to discover that we had enough leftovers in the fridge for dinner: chicken tenders, chili hot dogs, mac and cheese, homemade bibimbap, and spinach and feta ravioli.  So all I had to cook was some dessert.  Because a spoonful of sugar makes the leftovers goes down. I didn’t even have to worry about soccer and basketball practice because a friend was coming to take the boys and bring them back home for me.  Which left me enough time to write a blog post and watch an episode on Longmire in peace and quiet.

I know, I know.  What a provincial little life.  Exactly what’d you expect in a town that you’ve never heard of, even though you live close by.  But if city people are so cosmopolitan, how come they don’t even know the names of the towns that lay 15-20 miles outside the city borders?  After all, my family spends time in the capital at the mile long food truck rodeos and the natural science museum and the art museum and the carousel at the city park.  My kids go to the city to see baseball games and the gardens at the university and the gay pride parade.  We eat Indian food in the neighboring town and browse record stores and vintage clothing stores and spends hours hanging out in coffee shops.  One of the things I love about my small town is being close to the neighboring town, and the city next door, and the capital.

Too bad other people don’t get out here to see the historic speedway race track—-one of the first NASCAR tracks to open in 1947.  Or the Revolutionary War Living History Days.  Or the 4th of July parade that’s kicked off every year by a flyover of a bi-plane.  The dairy farm with an ice cream store on site.  The model railroad set up to depict the small town as it was in 1855.  The nighttime Christmas parade where we line up along the railroad tracks that run through town to watch 2 hours of floats and bands. Hike up to the top of the quarry.  Pick Your Own strawberries or blueberries or lavender.  Hog Day.  Dogwood Festival.   Just little towns with little people living little lives.

But that’s OK.

I love my little life.  Besides, without me, who would scrub the water bucket?

Keep the chickens out of the front yard?

Turn the gourds?

Make the grader feel special?

Trim goat hooves?

Air the teenage boy smell out of the bathroom?

Grow way too much in the greenhouse?

Save the sage, parsley, and rosemary along the walkway from the leaf blower?

Make leftover night more bearable?

That’s important stuff.  The little things are the big things around here.

Like showers.  A shower is a little thing that makes a big difference.  So I’d better go get one.  Because pinterest’s only suggestion for “Third Day Hair” is to take a shower already.


2 Responses to “A Little Life.”

  1. Dari Bartz
    February 23rd, 2017 @ 6:07 am

    Love the life we lead!

  2. Tanya
    February 23rd, 2017 @ 3:11 pm

    The Great Wolf Lodge is going to be awesome.

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