My, my, my. What a long and winding road my life has taken! This week I have been doing a lot of rather heavy-duty musing. This always happens when my environment gets quiet. As quiet as it can get with two dogs and three cats. And dump trucks. And cows next door. I was sitting at the dining room table watching the Joneses vacuum up the bird feeder, and started thinking about how this all began. This Homesteading Thing.
Was it the Easter chick, Peeper? Was it the lure of the pearl-capped snaps on my Western cowgirl shirt? My first riding lesson? I think, all these things. My formative years were spent in a housing development that had been carved out of a grid that had been carved out of farm land. One long road with many perpendicular streets jutting out of its western side. All of the streets dead-ended into a wooded area. To the north was Lake Erie, and to the south was a large expanse of farmland, bisected by a railroad track. There was an elderly couple who were clinging onto their little patch of farm - I was drawn to them like a moth to flames. It was to Mrs. Youngblood that I brought my exiled Easter pullet. She joined the Youngblood's flock and I was introduced to chickens and the magic of a freshly laid egg (that you had to hunt for!) She had a huge flower garden, as well as a large vegetable garden. Mr. Youngblood plowed with an ancient horse named Old Tom, who was a big old draft horse. Every once in a while he would let me sit on top of Old Tom while he plowed. It was the only time in my life I could do the Chinese splits naturally. Mrs. Youngblood would make homemade donuts and we would sit on the porch steps and she would name all the birds that flitted about her flowers. I wanted to live there. Unfortunately, as will happen, they got older and older, their barn caught fire and Mr. Youngblood was almost trapped in it. Their children intervened, carted them off to a retirement home, sold all the antiques and then the house and land. I remember hiding behind the chicken coop watching as their belongings were packed up. I threw rocks at their son. I was a terrible aim and had skinny arms, so no damage was done. I was just that mad.