Travel and Adventure
Sometimes we don’t need to travel very far for an adventure, as adventure is more of an attitude and outlook on life. Not always a ‘mountain top experience”, but more often than not a “down to earth” path we may have been walking. Seems when we look back, what we thought was a trial and trouble at the time, has made us more interesting– and simply become a part of who we are.
Years ago I traveled to live on a ranch in the country, 18 miles from the nearest (small) town. If I happened to be giving directions to someone on how to find me, I’d say “after you pass our mail box (three more miles to go), you begin to see Indians and covered wagons…” When you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into, it’s best to approach it as an adventure–that description seems to cover all sorts of mistakes, failures and successes.
Life in the country was like living on another planet; the world could have come to an end, and things wouldn’t have changed a whit. Animals need to be fed and watered no matter what day of the week, what sort of weather, whatever holiday it might be or how you happened to be feeling when the sun came up. If you’re new to that particular neck of the woods, all sorts of information about you has already been discussed amongst the neighbors–most not true; I say, let ’em believe it… it adds to the adventure and the mystique.
It would have behooved me to have taken “Farming 101”, but I survived and thrived in spite of it. We raised chickens, and even though they once escaped from the barn in a snowstorm, and we lost some by way of coyotes, that spring, we still dined on fried chicken–after I helped cleaned them (referred to as “dressing”) wearing rubber gloves. I named the sheep, and in March, I was in charge of lambing– which usually goes smoothly unless Mama gives birth to more than two lambs, or if a lamb can’t figure out how to eat…
On that very concrete step where you see me standing, one warm summer day I stepped out on a long, black Bull snake and it felt like stepping on a rubber water hose. As that snake hissed, I jumped back inside the house so fast, I pulled the inside hook off the door. I kept a loaded 22 rifle on the kitchen table–it was light-weight and easy to shoot–and one night found myself holding it as a stranger drove up the drive–my knees literally knocking and shaking …
A heavy wet snow and high winds would take out our power; best get in plenty of firewood and fill buckets with water for drinking and filling the toilet. I cooked on the wood stove with a cast iron skillet, and with no electricity to be had, I delved into my book stash and worked on perfecting my art work. Early sundown meant early bedtime with only the sound of the fire popping in the wood stove, and the wind and coyotes howling outside.
But my “backyard” was big enough to keep me occupied. A “section and a half” –a section being a square mile–was my place to roam and discover. Not big by farming standards, but big enough that the nearest neighbors were a good five miles away–we liked that. Summer meant the cattle showed up, the alfalfa was growing, a garden full of vegetables was devoured ( I got on a carrot, fresh tomato, and eggplant eating kick), the cherry tree was loaded and ripe, and wheat was harvested. Early morning found me on the screened in porch sipping coffee and watching the barn swallows swooping in to construct their mud nests. Deer often ventured out with spotted twin fawns and one evening I spied a Bobcat was just a few feet from the house. Eastern Blue Birds flashed by in a streak of brilliant blue, and we could see the sky changing and weather coming in from miles away–you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing…
We picked and shared apples from the 80 year-old plus apple tree–the name of the variety having been long forgotten. I sliced, diced, and made applesauce to freeze for the coming winter–another way to preserve a way of life on a ranch. And my most favorite memory… sleeping next to an open window during a light, autumn rain. A gentle breeze across my face, the fresh, cool air lightly stirring the window curtains.
The past, my past. An adventure. I didn’t travel far, I didn’t need to. Some year-round, all-encompassing, life advice: embrace adventure… you never know where it will take you or what you will learn.
Joy Richter 2012 ©copyright 2012 J.R.LIGGETT LTD