Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Life on the Farm Ain't Kinda Laid Back

Well, life on the farm is kinda laid back,
Ain't much an ol' country boy like me can't hack,
It's early to rise, early in the sack,
Thank God I'm a country boy.

Well, a simple kinda life never did me no harm,
A raisin' me a family and working on the farm,
My days are all filled with an easy country charm,
Thank God I'm a country boy.

When John Denver penned these now famous words to his song "Country Boy" he had, apparently, never spent time out at my mother's place.

She and my step-father live in the country. They moved there when they married. I was nineteen and on my own for years. This was their exclusive hideaway. They intended it to be just the two of them and a variety of animals for food and companionship. And they achieved their goal. It just wasn't exactly from the pages of "Country Living" magazine.

I started thinking about it when I saw two dead opossums on the road this morning. 'Possums and city life don't mix well but two is a lot in one day. I wondered if they were escaping my mom's place.

Critters come and critters go and my mother has never been incredibly sentimental about separation. In the fifteen years I lived at home we moved fourteen times. Animals came and went as the wind blew. If they were a problem, they were gone. If we couldn't have them at the next place, they moved on and so did we. She was well suited for the life-and-death decision making that sometimes comes with country life.

It served her well.......I guess.

One country-charming, pastoral day, she awoke to find a coyote had broken in to the hen house. Feathers and squawking chickens were fluttering everywhere. One old girl had gotten the worst of it and the outlook was decidedly Colonel Sanders, if you know what I mean. Mom grabbed her up and, with the expertise of a washer woman, wrung her neck and dispatched her to that big frying pan in the sky. Round One.

Several hours later one of the ducks was looking decidedly dejected. She moped and laid and leaned. Mom was resolved that the suffering could not continue and the most likely issue was an impacted egg. With shovel in hand, her make-shift guillotine forever separated Ducky's mind from her problem, so to speak. My mother proceeded to perform an autopsy. Yep. Egg impaction. Round Two.

As the evening wore on, she and my step-dad turned in for the night. They were awoken by a beastly ruckus in the backyard. The dogs had cornered a 'possum and had gone completely hoodlum with it, bullying it and tossing it to and fro. By the time my mother showed up, well, the grim reaper even paid attention and started taking notes. She felt a .22 would make the quickest work of it but it was the middle of the night and that might alarm the neighbors. She surveyed the yard for options and landed on it: a barbeque skewer. I'll spare you the details but suffice it to say, chicken-neck-wringing and duck-head-detachment are practically children's bedtime stories in comparison. At least the poor thing was long gone when she went back to bed and left it for the dogs. Round three.

All I have to say is this: Whenever I'm not feeling well, I steer far clear of my mother's place. I'd advise you to do the same.

Copyright 2009


  1. LOL! But grimacing a little, too! My imagination had no problem conjuring up pictures to go with your stories. They'll probably end up in one of my dreams tonight! Along with Tatersmama's bush fires! Don't expect I'll be very rested come tomorrow!

  2. Wow! Remind me to steer clear of her place! My poor crippled critters would have an ill fate there!

  3. Well, grim as it sounded, at least you had me chuckling...
    (I said "chuckling" - not CHUCKING although that was a real possibility with the skewer incident)
    Where does your mother live? I just want to know so that I can avoid the area in future... LOL!

  4. eek i wont be adding this to my holiday wish list ;)

  5. Oh nasty...... gross......sick....



  6. I live in downtown Lakeland. We have possums in the neighborhood on occasion, matter of fact they have lived under my house and gotten in the attic. My dogs Blitz and Cosmo have killed several and I hate that. Some are buried in the yard. They eat the cat food at night that I put out. Little babies have been on my front porch and when I open the door they climb up the railing and stay very still, hoping I don't see them. Ecept for that tail I think they are kinda cute. I won't be moving near your Mom anytime soon! I love all my critters!

  7. Geees... makes me wonder what hardened her so and what her childhood was like.
    I think I would have said 'to heck with the neighbors' and tried doing things quickly for the possum's sake.

  8. I, for one, think this is AWESOME! I wish I could be like that. I think I probably could, if I could get around the fact that I don't like touching any living things beyond other humans (when appropriate, obviously) and maybe patting a dog or a horse here or there. Even cats really kind of creep me out. So, the shovel/bbq skewer part wouldn't really bother me too much. But the hand holding the squirming animal I was dispatching...blech.

  9. Makes me wonder too, what she went through to be like that. Or at least I hope something turned her into that kind of uncaring creature. It would really be bad to think she was born like that.

    I'm getting an even clearer picture of your childhood.

  10. Oh my, you crack me up once again. I'm sorry, but possums are just nasty little creatures. I could shoot one, but I don't think I could skewer it. Eeeew. We've actually had a few living in the vines along our back wall. They stink!

    So one of the first times I brought Sean home to meet my parents my dad saw a possum out in the yard and grabbed his 357 magnum ... scared the you-know-what out of my eventual husband. I can't believe he stuck around and actually joined the family after that!

  11. Well, BZ and my dear commenting friends, my mother's life, as well as the lives of the children she bore and the man she married, (and a few of our closest friends) could all fill volumes. One day they will, I hope, especially for my sister who deserves to have her story told and went to be with the Lord as a teenager. I have outlines but they're not comedies. Consequently, I don't like to work at them as much.

    I write a lot of humor (though this one was admittedly darker) because I try to find humor in everything I can. It's absolutely the most incredible healing medicine God ever gave me and helps me to find meaning. My sister was a riot. You would have LOVED her. I'm planning a post about her on March 2nd, her birthday.

    Sometimes the tough survive but only the strong help others to survive as well. Whoa. That got heavy.

    I guess we'd all shudder if we had followed some of those prairie women around. My mom would have made it, I can tell you. She and the man she married, my father, had two of the strongest survival instincts I've ever come across.

  12. Oh my - I laughed! I'll definitely be steering clear of your mum's place!

    Still, if you live in the country, you have to be a bit less sentimental about things... I guess...

  13. Just popped over here from Ree's place from a comment you left on her website. This looks like a cool place to hang out too!

  14. Thank you Robin, took me right back while as a child at my grandparent's farm in Colorado. When the day came for Col. Sanders to visit, as you call it, Grandma picked out her victims, chopped off the heads and we kids had the time of our lives watching those birds run to and fro, thinking it was the funniest thing ever. I think back about that and ponder wow, my Grandma was a tough woman, don't think I could be a wringer!!!! Keep up the good work.

  15. Wow - it takes guts to be able to do that. Not for us city-folks, I tell ya!

  16. Oh Robynn - my sides are still splitting with laughter on this one!
    Where do you come up with this stuff?
    I guess that a warped mind, leads to good posting!

  17. This sounds like a story from my Grandmothers farm.
    She also did what needed to be done. And I definitely stayed outta the way.
    Love that picture. That opossum looks like he's ready to attack instead of play opossum.

  18. When I was a child, it was just part of country life to take care of business. We had fresh chicken, pork, and even rabbit.
    One thing though, they made sure I was in the house and didn't know what was going on when the business was taking place.
    I made pets out of all the animals.
    I can handle a lot of things, but not that part of country life, to this day.
    Great post.
    I think I am related to your Mother, on my Daddy's side. lol..

  19. Oh wow! Tough lady, I don't like opossums either, but I'd be running away from it.

  20. Robynn,
    You are too funny girl! I would like to meet your mother. She sounds like a fascinating character. Thanks again for the comic relief. We are having major wind storms in the area (some up to 70mph) and our power is out again. I am at my husband's store. Could not cope with the darkness anymore. Your blog was a bright spot in my day. Thanks!