Category Archives: country

road kill blues

growing up we had cats.  with the exception of a few months we weren’t without a pet.  until 1998 our cats were outdoor/indoor cats.  when we got Oscar and leo in 1998 our kitties became indoor cats only.

I never had a pet get hit by a car.  we had to put a few to sleep because of illness and I lost count of all the fish that we had to flush because they were found floating upside down.  we also had a hamster pass (in his food bowl).  all that to say that I have had several pets pass away or die…but none from being road kill.

I know several of my friends that had pets get hit by cars (and it was just heartbreaking to go through that with them).  the saddest of all was gracie (Otis’ beagle aunt).  so now each time I see a pet on the side of the room it just makes me sad.  it makes me think about the owner that is at home without their furry child/friend/sibling/family member.  it makes me wonder why was the animal close to the road?  did the person who hit the animal stop?  did they cry?  it breaks my heart a little bit each time.

my ramble is to say that in charlotte and in Greeneville we see animals on the side of the road all the time.  it might be a bird, raccoon, opossum, deer, dog, cat, bunny, snakes (when we see those it kind of makes me want to back up to make sure they are dead).  it is a part of life and something that it still makes me a little sad, but it is something that I see all the time so I tend to not get upset as much.  when we first moved we hit a bunny (I think) and I sobbed all the way home and thought andy was going to have to pull over so that I could puke on the side of the road.  it broke my heart.

several months ago there was a boom of baby ground hogs.  I would see 4 little ones on the way to lunch and 1 huge one on the way to and from work.  he was so fat and would sit on the side of the road in the midst of kudzu and just watch the cars go by.  he was so big and dark brown that he stood out in the green long before i got to him.  the way he sat and the way he observed the world humanized him to me and made me laugh.  I looked forward to going home and would look for him in the lush green.  one day as I approached his usual sitting place I saw that he wasn’t in his normal spot but something caught my eye and I realized he was in the road.  he was gone.  I was alone in the car and I cried all the way home.  I don’t know why he meant so much to me (and while I write and ponder this…I don’t know that he was actually a “he”).  I don’t know why i was so delusional to think of the little critter as my friend.  I loved seeing him play and watch the world in his own world that was shared with mine.  I don’t know why he wondered into the road that day after years of watching cars go by and surly understanding how dangerous it was on that pavement, but he did.  he was gone and i was left mourning with the road kill blues.

furry happiness

we go to the farm to feed animals i have stated before that it is more for my benefit then it is for theirs.  they can eat grass and be happy with that, but who doesn’t want a little treat every now and then.  it doesn’t matter how bad of a day that i have had going to see the animals and ride around makes me happy.  some people go to happy hour and have liquid happiness i go to the farm for furry happiness.

i have enjoyed being able to go see the mountains and have enjoyed being “responsible” for animals.  pancake has come such a long way.  do i trust him yet – not at all, but i feel a lot more comfortable around him and he does me too.  i can now put my forehead on his and he crosses his eyes and looks at me but doesn’t jerk away like he has been shot.  he has gotten to the point where he always wants to run to us.  which is awesome but a little scary when he is flying down a hill and you are at the bottom. pancake also does this thing where he will just stick out his tongue after eating!

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pancake has always had personality (which was evident when he tried to take dad out and escape the horse trailer) but it is really starting to show in a fun way.  he loves treats.  sometimes he gets really excited and tries to eat your hand with them but he responds to ouch and stop and a firm hand on the forehead.  he tries to steal other animals treats also.  he also loves the camera.  i will get the camera out and he comes to see it.  he wants to smell it and lick it and see if it is a treat.  he loves having his picture taken even if it mean photobombing another picture!

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he still gets antsy around the horses but has gotten more bold and will come around them.  i recently learned that he slurps his water.  he will put his lips in a bucket of water and uses his lips like they are his personal straw.  it is really funny but could be a little annoying if he did it all the time around me.  (the horses also drink this way too).

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now that the weather is getting cooler all the animals are feeling a little frisky.  pancake is running circles around us and jack.  jack has gotten a lot more mobile since pancake has come to live at the farm.  jack runs and kicks and makes a weird heehaw noise.  it is a little more like a screech noise but still gets the point across.  jack also gets excited about treats.  he doesn’t bite as much as he lips.  he will take the treat from me but my hand ends up in his lips.  he really loves the caramel treats that we recently got.

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argyle is growing up so much.  we put the halter on his….and he lost it.  we are still looking in brush and on limbs to see where he got it caught..  he is almost taller than me.  he is fuzzy (with his baby/winter coat).  he loves for his butt to be rubbed.  he will let me rub his head and neck and then he turns so that we can get to his back and butt.  he also will still rub/lean up against me like a big dog.  he loves attention and treats and is getting a lot more bold with the big horses.

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the other horses are still crazy.  they love treats and being bullies to the other animals.  flag is getting a lot nicer and actually will listen to me (well sort of).  abbey and penny are still a little jumpy and bossy but they are sweet and get treats too.

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dinozzo…he is getting big!

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we love to take my camera (in part for the animals but also for the mountains).  you never know what you will capture.  (all of the pictures are from the last several weeks).

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my dose of furry happiness.

the country: a beautiful thing

growing up we took a lot of family vacations.  i say a lot but i have no idea how many we really took because when you are younger things seem more often.  i know that we travelled all over and i am amazed at some of the places my parents have told me i have been but i don’t really remember.  some of the memories i have of those vacations are of me and will running through museums trying to get through them as quickly as we could so we could move on.  i remember waiting on my parents (who according to my younger self) were the slowest people in the world.  it was a race to get back to the hotel/camp ground to go swimming in the pool.  ah the joys of family vacations as a child.  when we loaded up for vacations as teenagers it was more of the same, but instead of running to the end, it was more avoid and hide from my parents (who according to my teenager self) were the most embarrassing humans alive.  it was a slow form of torture.  looking back i realize that it was actually (dare i say) fun.  now looking back it makes me a little sad.  not only because of the carefree vacations but because i missed out on a lot of things because i was too hurried to really look at the things in the museum or appreciate the sites.  i was too busy making fun of things that we had to do to really absorb it and the history.  as a teenager i was so annoyed that i wasn’t with my friends that i missed out on a lot of great experiences.  i might have been physically there and going through motions but i didn’t really “get” it – whatever “it” was.  this is true for our trip to washington dc, the nasa space center in fl, countless museums across the south, the cherokee reenactments etc. 

that rambling leads me to this:

i grew up in the city, yes i spent time in the country visiting family on some weekends and in the summer but let’s face it…i’m a city girl.  there are times i pretend that i am a country girl…like when we go feed the animals and i move a branch out of the tractor path and act like the world stood still until those tasks were accomplished.  i pretend that i know what i am doing when i grab the horse’s halter to put fly medicine on her face – but in reality i am thinking “please don’t pull me through the fence.”   i pretend that i trust pancake when i think he is really plotting against me (especially when he flattens his ears).  i pretend that pancake has come a great ways and it is all because i am a self-proclaimed donkey whisperer.  i pretend that if it wasn’t for me and andy, argyle would be so skittish around humans that he would be considered for the rodeo.  i pretend that when argyle goes to his new home (whenever that might be) that i won’t miss him because he is just a horse when i actually think that i love him and there is a great possibility that i will cry when i drive up and he isn’t standing in the field with his lanky legs running to the fence to greet us.  

i pretend that i have always enjoyed doing these things…but i haven’t.  i can remember when i was growing up and was “forced” to come to tn with my family.  it was a time when i was starting to really have a social life outside of neighbors and family friends but wasn’t old enough to stay at home so my parents did the responsible thing and took me with them.  i drug my feet the entire time.  i longed to be with my friends in the city and hated that i was missing all of the latest things.  i was worried that my best friends would replace me in the 72 hours that i was out of their sight.  i missed the beauty in feeding animals with my grandmother.  i missed the knowledge in riding around town with my grandfather making deliveries and picking up boxes.  i missed the freedom in running through a tobacco field looking for tobacco worms.  i missed the experience of riding on the tractor around the farm.  i missed the familiarity of walking through the barn yard with the cows.  i missed the understanding of why we picked and shelled beans and cut up apples.  i will take a moment to make it clear that i did all of those things and for the most part i plastered a smile on my face but it isn’t until now – years later – that i fully grasp what i was missing out on by not truly living in the moment.  i didn’t take advantage of the situations and now that we are living here there are things i wish i could do again and wish that andy could experience because they really were life changing things – if i had only let them be.  no one in my family grows tobacco anymore and when we pass a field i am reminded of running through the rows and looking for worms.  it makes me sad that andy may never see one and get to step on it.  we won’t be able to walk into a barn and smell the dried tobacco.  i missed out – i took for granted those experiences because i wanted to be somewhere else.

i have been thinking a lot about all of this in the past year and have come to the conclusion that if i would have moved to tn earlier in my life (or if i was born and raised here) i would not be as appreciative as i am today to be doing the things i am doing.  if i lived here when i was in high school i would have applied to college and moved far away because i wouldn’t have appreciated the experiences that this little town has to offer.  i would have been the first of my class to skip town and get on with my life.  i would fled and never looked back and honestly would have never realized what i was walking away from. 

it took moving to the country to realize how much i took for granted and still take for granted.  i feel like i am more aware now (as compared to when i was younger).  i see the outline of the mountains in the morning sun and notice the way the sun highlights the ridges.  i see the clouds casting shadows in the valleys.  i laugh when argyle leans into me to be rubbed like a big dog.  i practice tough love when i take the feed buckets away from jack and pancake.  i practice tolerance when the horses try to steal each others sweet feed.  i sit in awe listening to the creek at night in the cool mountain breeze.  i enjoy riding around the farm looking for baby cows and wild turkeys.  i do all of these things now with a true appreciation and it isn’t because i am a farmer or a country girl, but because i don’t want these experiences to pass me by again. 

living here in the country with a second chance: it’s a beautiful thing.