Neither of us were “country folk” when we decided to make the move away from the city and into the wilds of the county. Raised in the suburbs, minutes from the nearest grocery store, hardware store and Starbucks, we knew not the want of a fast food burger. We were ready to try something new and decided to move away from the sound of traffic and sprinklers to a spot in the woods where the silences of nature filled the air.
That brings me to my list. This list, which I will slowly add to as time goes by, is all the things we didn’t know before we moved to the country, including the things we thought we knew but had wrong. The things we wished someone had told us and the things we were glad to discover on our own.
The first thing on my list is the sound of the country. I had imagined standing on my front porch listening to the breeze in the tree tops, the chirps of birds all around and a general peace and silence in the sounds that would surround me. Little did I know, the country is far from quiet.
Let’s start with nature itself. Having a pond on the property means that we have frogs; while it may sound enchanting in a animated film to have a frog singing by the waterside, the communal roar of a hoard of amphibians can be quite intense. Then there are the cicadas, another sound glamorized by the film industry. Their shrill chirps cut through even the croaking of the toads to invade the ear holes.
I include as part of nature a factor that we brought on ourselves: the chickens and the ducks. The ducks produce a constant racket that sometimes brings a smile to my face, at other times makes me question why any animal would ever need to produce a sound that can so easily be heard by every predator for miles around. With chickens of course, we have Mr. Rooster. The crowing at the break of ever dawn was expected, but the howls throughout the day baffle the mind and intrude on my ears.
We have two types of hens: those that quietly step into the nesting box, drop an egg in the straw and head right back outside like it’s no big deal, and those that hunker down in the box and scream bloody murder for the next fifteen minutes, letting everyone know that an egg is coming. They noisily herald the biggest event the county has ever seen is happening right now and everybody needs to know about it. “AN EGG IS COMING, YOU GUYS! AN EGG IS COMING!” After the egg has ceremoniously been laid, these particular chickens poke their heads out of their coop and proclaim to the world of their great accolmplishment. “I DID IT! I LAID THE BEST EGG EVER, BETTER THAN ALL OF THE OTHERS EVER LAID!”
Of ourse, while these chickens are loud and obnoxious in a funny sort of way, I have no idea what sound I would make if I had to pass an egg everyday.
Another sound that unexpectedly breaks the peacefulness is the echo of gunfire. I know every American has the right to bear arms, and considering the fact that we saw an actual bear crossing the road the first week we moved out here, I think it may be a necessity for country life. It is the oh so frequent sounds of gunfire that perplexes me. Okay, hunting season is one thing. I get that; harvesting animals for food is part of what we wanted to experience to get closer to our food. It is the weekend blast-fest that we sometimes hear that I don’t understand. There are times we can hear, what I assume is target practice on a backyard range or something like that, no problem, but the number of rounds of ammunition sometimes baffles me. I’m sure that it is good time being had, but don’t those bullets cost money? Anyways lets just say it is another sound that I wasn’t shown in the version of the country previously put before me.
At this point let me say I do love it out here, and this list I will be building on is not a reason why others should not try leaving the city for the country, it is just things I wish I would have known. Now where are my ear plugs I want to fish in peace. Damn frogs.