Real Living

By now you know I highly value simplicity…I cherish the dailiness of life-happenings, those moments that busy life and our fast-paced culture so often steal without much notice on our part. If we do notice, we shrug and keep spiraling along, feeling we have little choice in the matter.

I love our shaded corner of country life…and I don’t mind admitting that I protect it fiercely. Sometimes you just can’t cut the grass each weekend, and sometimes you’ve got to let the dust settle inside. Or say no to 4H, as we’re contemplating doing.

These things just can’t compare to:

Lazy summer afternoons spent outside reading together in the hammock or alongside the sandbox while little sister happily builds bucket-castles and moats. Hiking the back hill to the very tip-top of our world and picnicking on the flat slab of limestone there. Pointing out meadowlarks and mosquito hawks, grazing horses at the nearby pond, the small town’s water tower ten miles away…on the way home collecting the perfect rocks for our garden, and wildflowers to press. We upend a rock, capture a baby skink and admire his neon blue tail.

In the fall we splash our four-wheeler down the creek bed, wade around catching salamanders, making miniature rock ledged pools to store them in…an old quart jar becomes home a few minnows…we watch them grow. One day we’ll catch a tadpole and bring him home. Can’t go home without rock-skipping lessons from daddy. We decide it’s time to burn the brush pile and as the flames flicker down we get out the marshmallows and hot dogs…

Winter means Swiss Miss hot chocolate every single day and afternoon tea parties. Pulling out the sleeper sofa, piling it with pillows and blankets and firing the fireplace. Movies and popcorn and Horse-o-poly. Snow ice cream with caramel sauce and peanuts. Making shadow animals on the walls. Playing fox and geese in the three inch snowfall, bodies sweating, noses and fingers burning with cold. Back porch swamped with drying boots, gloves, coveralls, hats and scarves. Kitchen full of red cheeks, huge smiles, and contagious giggles. Kettle whistling on the stove top. Cherry pie cooling on the counter.

Spring scents the air with lilacs and honeysuckle. Farm babies wobble into our hearts, neighbors burn pastures all around us. Fishing poles come out on damp evenings after rainy days. Crickets and toads beckon to us as we trudge our way to the pond, knee-deep bluestem tickling our calves, tackle box banging against my thigh. Night shadows, watercolor sunsets, bug spray. Catching fireflies. Falling into bed bone-tired and gloriously happy.

I’m not envious when I hear my friends going on about all the sports their kids participate in. How cell phones and DVDs enhance their many hours in the car. Busy living the American Dream.

Real life, real noise, time to soak it in. To be silly or serious. That is wealth, that is freedom. To me.

19 thoughts on “Real Living”

  1. I am enchanted. I really am.
    You brought me back to the memories from my childhood, to the summer holidays spent at my grandparents’ every year, to my “Ann from Green Gables” books….

  2. A hearty “AMEN” to your thoughts and weaving of your country life. The things you spoke of are what makes up life. Not the computer, t.v. or endless sports and getting your children to them. I grieve for the ‘American Dream’ of having it all…because we have lost what mattered the most…God and Family. Keep up the good work with your family!

  3. Thank you both. And there’s nothing more romantic than the pull of the dunes of Prince Edward Island…I loved those movies too. :)

    I have such great memories of childhood…growing up for the most part in the city with summers visiting my grandparents in the country. Both places held enchantment *I think* because I had hours of playtime, imagination free-for-all. TV was something my dad watched the evening news on, nothing more. I just love watching my girls come alive to books…and am glad that we have the privacy and peace of country life. I know that home life can be sweet even in the city though, we all find a way to make our oasis soul-quenching, wherever God places us.

  4. Country life sounds just heavenly. I could just picture myself and boys frolicking in a stream or pond. How wonderfully slow paced life must be. Ahhhh…the peace.

  5. Your home sounds wonderful! Um, we’ll be out to visit next week, OK? I’d like to frolic, too.

  6. Mary, nope! I live in the city and the closest thing we have to “frolic in” are mud puddles after it rains! lol!

    We do, however, drive about 2-1/2 hours to a place where there is a huge lake and we have so much fun playing in the sand and swimming. But with gas prices as high as they are, we didn’t go at all last year.

  7. Georgiana, I wish you could come visit…I’d take you through the tall grass and hills to the best little creek ever, it’s shaded in spots, sunny in others and has the best gravel bed in one place so the water is really clear…and no poison ivy! (Can you tell I’m allergic? lol)

    Leticia, you come over too…:) Seriously, we’ve visited your state before and were awed by how gorgeous it is! I can’t imagine being there and being so far from the countryside…how hard!

  8. Mary, I throroughly enjoyed your description of your life in the country. I agree, there is nothing better. The hours that can be spent doing “nothing”….watching nature and enjoying life are priceless. Thanks for visiting my Barn House. I think we should be friends.

  9. Ahhh Mary, you are just too sweet! We do live in the city limits, but we are a small drive away to our local lake, but no one is allowed to swim or play in it. However, the boys and I love going out to an awesome park.

  10. Ah, see, we have no awesome parks here in the vicinity…when we do come across one in our travels we always stop! I have great memories of a park in Austin in my growing up years…met some good friends there on hot summer evenings. :)

  11. You are living as humans were intended to live; close to the earth and in love with it! A very large (and loving) German shepherd lies at my feet much of the time when I’m online and is always with whichever of the family happens to be “working” or otherwise doing something active. Children who are able to have pets, hunt for those cleverly colored skinks (I’ve only seen one adolescent one with the neon blue tail–two years ago when we lived up near the Dairy Capital of Michigan). Are there dogs in your family? Or other animals…are the horses yours? My dog has the same name as my first horse did back in ’57. I think it’s just natural for humans to be ‘farmers’ at heart!
    n.kateus dogbeds.powerforpaws.com

  12. Hi Grandma Noni, yes we do have pets, sometimes more varieties than others! Currently we have several horses, two ponies, a nice collection of Border Collie dogs, and a calico cat that has adopted our property, but won’t let us near him! We’ve had pygmy goats in the past, chickens, and baby calves…they really add a lot to our lives, giving my girls much incentive for being outdoors, having chores, etc. I’m so glad we’re able to live in the country. Sometimes I regret having such a big feed bill for all these animals, but though our pockets may not be rich, our lives sure are!

    From a fellow farmer at heart! πŸ˜‰ Mary

  13. I agree with everyone’s sentiments here! I have really started to realise how much I love this lifestyle since starting my own family…and Grandma Noni-I used to have one of those blue-tailed skinks! LOL I forgot about him…my old neighbor was a logger and would work out in the bush and he would always bring me back little creatures…mostly I would get to keep them for a week and then he would bring them back out to their home. I loved it! Although once he brought me a rare “moth-bird” not knowing I was deathly afraid of moths (even butterflies give me the shudders which is ridiculous I know…from afar they are beautiful!). This “moth-bird” is a massive moth with huge tufts of fur/feathers on the top of it making it look huge. I was too polite to let on how terrified I was of it so I said thank you and, holding it as far away from me as possible, took it home. Apparently something happens to it at night (I don’t know what) but he said keep it for the night to see but make sure to bring it back first thing in the morning since it was so rare and needed to be returned to it’s environment…the thing flew off of me just as I made it to my house. And there was no way I was running after it to catch it, scared as I was of it! I called my brother to help me look for it but we couldn’t find it…still don’t know what it’s supposed to do at night though.

  14. My daughter’s home is surrounded by flowers so it’s common to see hummingbirds come to feed in the blossoms. However, one evening we noticed a couple of ‘hummingbirds’ that were unusually ‘tame’ and who did not seem to mind us being just a couple of feet away. Strange as it was, these were not birds at all but a rather rare type of moth called (big surprise) hummingbird moths. One was the colors of a female rubythroat; the other was the similar bright green all over just as one of the green hummers! Very unusual and interesting.

  15. Hummingbirds are incredibly fascinating! I’ve never heard of a hummingbird moth! And forgive my ignorance, but I never knew moths ever had bright colors. That is interesting.

    We’ve got skinks all over the place here. They’re about as much fun to catch as fireflies!

    Geri, I wish I knew what happened to the moth at night! What a cool neighbor to enjoy bringing you forest treasures! My dh is like that, he loves finding baby bunnies, chipmunks, etc, and bringing them home in a pocket to show the girls.

  16. No I’m not sure about the hummingbird moth…this “moth-bird” was just a grayish-brown…ugh! I can’t even stand thinking about the thing! That is interesting though that there are such things as a hummingbird moth! There are so many interesting creatures out there…although as neat looking as that hummingbird moth is, I would probably still be terrified of it haha.

  17. Well, hey, at least you can laugh about it, and you even touched it as a child, which is really overcoming! We all have our own particular limits!

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