Sunday, February 07, 2010

A New Neighbor - lessons in country living

Since I moved to rural Illinois, to what can only be described as “the country” there have been a few moments in which the reality of this move have dawned on me. Moments when I say “holy crap, I'm living in the woods 15 miles from the nearest town surrounded by deer and coyotes. What is a city born-and-bred girl like me doing in a woodland cabin?”
The first of these moments was the day I turned onto route IL-29 during corn harvesting season only to find myself stuck behind two huge pieces of farm machinery driving down the highway at a whopping 20mph. I spent the next 4 miles trying to pass them. You don't pass like that in the city. There aren't even one-lane highways around Chicago OR Kalamazoo!

The second came during deer-hunting season. Again, no deer hunting in the suburbs of Chicago or the student ghetto of Kalamazoo, Michigan. I'm sitting on a horse; a gun goes off in the woods. I practically fall off the horse while the horse—the highly anxious, incredibly wired Saddlebred horse—does not move. He's not afraid of the guns in the woods, why should he be?

Since then I've come in contact with more deer than I've seen in my entire life before the age of 23. I've dragged my too-brave (or too-stupid) dog into the house against his will when the pack of coyotes gets a little close to the house. I've driven 40 miles to get to the closest Chase bank, and found the best burritos you can imagine.

All in all, I'd say the transition from city to country has been surprisingly easy. Until the other morning when I looked outside and saw him. My car was being carjacked, so it appeared. A dark, large figure lurked next to my car, shielded by the trees. Imagine my surprise – there are three houses on my street so I don't often see random strangers!

The cats were going wild with the thought of a stranger at their doorstep and I couldn't blame them. Still in my pyjamas I grabbed a blanket to wrap around my shoulders, and threw on my shoes. I ran outside into the snow, a cup of coffee in my hand and came face to face with...

..the biggest wild turkey I have ever seen. Three feet of ugly feathers and weird dangly bits stood next to the car, looking conspiratorial and evil. The cats were now throwing themselves against the glass doors in excitement as the turkey and I faced off. Me, coffee in hand, speechless. Turkey, standing by the car looking ugly as sin, also speechless. Without a word he ran off and bolted into the woods. So much for the car-jacking.

I have a certain prejudice against wild turkeys, having had a run in with one as a small child. I've been tracking this bastard for days now,hoping to get a shot to prove his ugliness. I'll walk outside and he'll pop his head out of the woods and glare at me. I'll take the dogs out and find wild turkey footprints by my doorsteps. The other morning I even caught him looking in at me while I drank my coffee!

He must be stopped. I think I have officially moved to the country.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

hahaha i had a good laugh at this! i live sort of in the country as well. last week i was walking my dog in the woods and i hear a lot of barking and look up to see my red neck neighbor's giant hunting dogs on the rampage after a poor little fox. i hope he got away! oh and p.s. there's a brewery in asheville, nc ...highland brewery. they make gaelic ale. anyway they just came out with a new beer called cold mountain and its glorious! if you can get it up there you should def give it a try!