February 27, 2016
It is an absolutely gorgeous day here in Northern California and I cannot help but be a wee bit smug as I sit here with my cup of coffee with the front door wide open to let in the warm spring sunshine and to better here the birds singing outside. Dandi the Tortoise will be waking up soon and his garden is overflowing with lush green plants waiting to welcome him home after a winter of hibernation. My daughter bought some humming-bird feeder solution and we are going to fill that today with DriDri’s help and hope the hummers show up so she can marvel at the flashing beauty of these gregarious and entertaining birds. My grandmother always had two feeders hanging outside her dining room window and I use to love to watch the hummingbirds squabble over who got to eat first! There’s always that one who tries to claim the entire thing and spends all his time trying to chase the others away…
While Dandi’s garden is looking good the rest of my front yard is not. Due to the severe drought that has had California in its death-like grip the past several years I chose to let our lawn go. Now it is dirt and weeds and looks like hell. My son may be able to get me a picket fence that a customer wants removed from a house he and his boss are renovating . If he does that I think I am going to look into making my front yard a play area for the littles. Because of the pool in the back the littles have nowhere to go outside except the front yard and they can’t play out there without constant supervision since we live just one house away from a very busy street. If it was fenced, however, they could go play on the jungle gym play structure and have tea parties out front and have a little more freedom. I’m not putting grass back in however. I want to look at putting in some drought resistant plants and some kind of kid-friendly ground cover. With maybe some landscaping to make it look nice. The backyard I am putting a fence across to split it in two so that the little dogs can have a piece of yard away from the pool and away from the big dogs. This way they can all go outside together and I have no worries about drowning or anything else!
This is when I miss my house in the country. I was raised country. Growing up we lived on the outskirts of a small town on a 1/3 of an acre. My dad had a few rows of almond trees with a small garden and a huge yard. I grew up playing outside with the dogs and riding my bike all over our little town. I rode ponies with my best friend at her house out in the country. It was a great time to grow up and I never thought anything of it. It was just how life was supposed to be.
When the girls were little we lived in a very small 2 bedroom house on 3 acres. It was a horrible little house and incredibly hot in the summer, but I loved the property because I could have critters. We had rabbits, chickens, pigs, horses, dogs–we even had a goat or two along the way. The very best part was the 4 foot high cyclone fence that enclosed the entire house. The girls could play outside all day if they wanted to and I had no worries. The gates locked and with the dogs in the yard no one could get near the house or them.
Here in town its very different. When we decided to purchase a home we looked for one with some acreage but land is prime property here in California and we finally had to settle for a house in town. I never dared let them be outside without me or their dad to watch them. When they got older and wanted to walk to the corner store I made them go together and timed them. They both had cell phones by the time they were in junior high since they started attending private school and were in a different town all day. I needed to be able to contact them any time and didn’t mind the cost to be sure they were safe.
I love my home and my neighborhood but I admit–I am a country girl at heart and nothing makes me happier than working outside with a little horse crap on my boots. And on days like today I wish I was back in the country. My heart longs to be back in the country and now that a new generation has begun I wish for it even more. I miss that carefree life style and the freedom that it brought to the kids. They always had fun and came inside at night dirty and disheveled and tanned and healthy. They slept well and ate well and always had something to do. Thank god I have the ranch to escape to when I need that break from the city! My youngest daughter and god-daughter have moved out there to help my girlfriend take care of the place, but the couch is always available to me whenever I need some solitude and good hard work to cleanse my soul. Rodeo weekend is fast approaching and I can’t wait to spend three days working my ass off in the dirt and cow manure!! Best weekend of the entire year in my book!
I’ve noticed that a lot of us here are ranch or country girls. Were you born to that life style or did you learn to love it? Not everyone is cut out for that kind of living! Do you love it or hate it? Or are you a city girl born and bred? Does it make a difference in what you write about? They always say write what you know!
I think I’m heading outside to enjoy this weather. Enjoy your weekend! I know I will!
(Dandi’s garden… Happy Spring!)