Country Mouse City Mouse 9-13-10
Once upon a time there was a city boy. He knew that milk sprang eternal from a carton and there was no doubt that chicken came in thighs, legs, wings and breasts. A truck was for hauling your drum set, a plow cleared the streets from snow, herb was a guy’s name and a horse was a piece of equipment vaulted over in gym class. Nobody stepped beyond the urban walls unless it was a Boy Scout camping trip. Animals lived in the local zoo all except for the one pet dog. And this city boy had many cosmopolitan girlfriends, until … he found her and his life would never be the same. He found his girl next door. Well, more like a-half-a-dozen-miles-out-to-no-man’s-land-girl-next-door. She was a country girl.
There’s this theory and I think I’ve witnessed it a few times that couples that remain with one another over many years and grow old together start to look like each other. I wouldn’t say that the city boy and the country girl are looking like one another, (yet anyway), but there is ample evidence to suggest that the country girl had a huge influence on the city boy. Either that, or she just gets her way more than he does.
This month’s Country Mouse City Mouse is dedicated to my city boy husband who just celebrated his 47th birthday. I’m sure that if asked years ago what he imagined his life would be like 25 years in the future, he would have had no idea that he could own a chicken named Ms. Featherpants, would chase a one legged rooster in his backyard, can pickles, beets and make apple pies and that he and his 4-H’er son would be sitting at a swine auction vying for the best piglet. You’ve come a long way, baby.
This city boy has learned how to pick a hoof, put on a bridle, groom and ride horses (the real ones), adopted shelter dogs and a cat, bought live crickets for lizards and turtles, held vigil over baby rabbits, baby-sat pet birds, questioned why we own a pair of ducks (but didn’t bat an eye), managed medical triage of a hen-pecked chicken, cried over the death of our first dog and looks forward each year to the Stock Show. This Renaissance man keeps bees, (he made the mistake of telling me he’d like to), learned how to fish, makes wine, (learns what not to do when the fermenting explodes), plans and plants the garden each season, (still struggles with peas), grows grapes, (curses the grape-raiding squirrels), fusses over his pepper plants, collects eggs, and fills the freezer with home grown tomatoes and herbs, (the green ones, not the human ones).
When did the evolution from hard-core city boy turn to country boy in the city? There were signs. Perhaps talking to the horses, cuddling a chick, sharing his bed with a canine and feline, volunteering to take a chicken that needed a home, spending a lot of his paycheck on animal “groceries,” risking life and limb to capture a bee swarm, camping at a county fair, and turning seed catalogs into bathroom reading material. And just recently, when he found a baby robin unable to fly, perched the little guy on his shoulder and named him Chester.
Together we pore over farms for sale listings traveling back to Wisconsin or Eastern Colorado many times to see if it might be our dream farm. That was always my dream alone. I’m glad I have him to share it with now. Returning home to visit family, he suffers the rolling eyes, defends our farmette and land search and doesn’t even try to explain why he knows how to trim a chicken’s beak and what the gestational period of a Holland Lop is.
Once upon a time there was this country boy who lived in the city.