A Country Mile

What exactly is a country mile? Is it a little like a bakers dozen? Or are there no measurements to a country mile at all.

A country mile sounds slow and gentle. A bit like “mostly”  I was thinking this when I looked at front garden thinking about getting out the sprinklers and watering it.  By the end of every day I am mostly done.

Out here you can see a storm coming from so far away that you have time to get the clothes in off the line before it hits.  The rain was welcome as the gardens were dry and there is no hay on the ground. Next week I will cut the hay.




And no, cows do not lie down when rain is coming.  And neither do the leaves on the trees turn upside down, though I have noticed that the maples sometimes droop lower and can show their undersides when it is humid and rainy.  And yesterday the humidity skyrocketed just before the storm.

verandah view

Had to use the “wide” on the wide angle to get this shot for you which has distorted my view somewhat. This is the view from my back door.


And this is the view from the front door.

Poor old Boo is sitting out on the verandah, not allowed inside because he went out to bark at the coyotes in the night and surprised a skunk.  So the skunk is safe and Boo is stinky.

He did NOT miss that by a country mile.  Today I drive the girls up to the airport and tomorrow I drive back up and collect my next two visitors.

Lady Astor’s milk production has finally dropped  back to normal now and is still clean and beautiful so I am taking her to Once A Day milking. She still has Bobby T with her.  Fingers crossed. To make sure her udder does not get pushed she is fed no grain at all and is on the good pasture for only half the day. Bobby T gets plenty.

Last night I went out about 10pm to walk about the animals. It is my favourite time out there. Though I love the early mornings too.  Last night I was walking across the field to see the cows and heard the swish swish of big feet pulling through the long grass and Aunty Del’s long red  head appeared out of the darkness. She is a stunning lead cow, another of the reasons why I brought her back to the home farm, and behind her the others were slowly swinging in. As i turned to walk with the cows up to the barn the calves galloped around and around us like fat humming bees, their tails held high, running as fast as they could, shooting in and out of the darkness like thundering arrows,  around and around their mothers and aunties and me until we reached the barn then they shot past us and into the light around the big doorways.  We win they laughed as they disappeared like high stepping fillies into the old building. As we caught up, moving at a more sedate pace,  we could hear the sleepy grunts of annoyed pigs calling out to the calves to keep it down some people are sleeping don’t you know.

Good morning. It is still raining, so they can spend the day on the concrete under the trees, off the sodden grass.

Poor Boo – he is looking at me through the door.  He does not understand why all the doors are closed to him. He can open doors so when this happens he is literally locked out.

Time for me to get busy we have chores to do before we head out to the airport.  Boo I will wash when we get home. It is better to leave a skunked do

I hope you have a lovely day.

Love celi

PS I have decided that from now on instead of eating with family on Memorial Day I will do something that makes me struggle and sweat and feel some hardship.  Probably alone. Many of these men and women died alone.  I think it would be a more appropriate way to commemorate a soldiers death than a cook-out with lots of tasty food.  Little Theo the pea chick died yesterday too. We were all terribly sad.  At least he died cupped warm in my hands right up against my belly. I had been able to warm him right up but he died anyway. But he was not alone.  I have always said that even a short life has as much value as a long one. Leaving some little treasure behind for our pockets. Some important memory. Some reason. c.

80 Comments on “A Country Mile

  1. I believe a country mile is a very long way – perhaps as much as ten miles or a distance unanticipated.
    Poor Boo 🙂

  2. So you did ‘nt have to water after all (except for washing Bo). Bye bye to the girls. I hope the new lot are as successful.

    A country mile is like a Cornish mile – a lot further than it says on the signpost!
    ViV xox

  3. A country mile reaches into ‘forever land’ . . . I oft say ‘I couldn’t do that in a country mile’ for something just remotely possible . . . 🙂 ! And I find myself happy to be living in a hollow in an undulating landscape ’cause I surely am not thrilled by the Prairies skies 🙂 !

      • Slightly incorrect, Celi – I do not like anything that is violent and unpredictable – probably the result of five years of growing up under indescribable war conditions. I may be many things but have never ever considered myself as a ‘poor thing’ 😀 !!

  4. I love that rainstorm photo where it looks like a plug has been pulled out of the cloud and the water is gushing out. Poor Theo, I’ll miss hearing about him.
    Miss C, I’m going into hospital tomorrow for 4-5 days to have my back screwed together again, so if I don’t comment, that’s why. I’ll be back soon.

    • Oh poor you, Kate. Seems you’re getting worked on a lot these days. Hope it all solves the problems. Will be thinking of you and wishing you well! ~ Mame 🙂

      • Hopefully this one should fix a lot of problems at once, and may even help the dodgy hip pain too. Can’t wait!

    • Excellent – that should do it. Good to know what you are dealing with and Good Luck! And yes. You will be back – you are a strong determined lass so you are.. c

    • Yes good luck to you, Kate. I always love reading your comments. They are quirky and on the money. All this despite your constant pain and suffering.

      • Thank you, and your comments are always kind and thoughtful :-). I’ll be back soon, and hopefully increasingly pain free!

    • The absolute best to you, Kate. I love your comments as well and I miss them when you are gone. Much love, your Gayle

    • At this point in my US east coast time, you might already be in your surgery. All the best, Kate, I really hope this is something that takes a lot of the pain out of your life. I know chronic pain, and it’s no fun.

      Looking forward to hearing from you on the other side! XOXOXO

      • No, surgery is tomorrow morning 7am Australian EST. I’m hoping for a significant reduction, but not miracles; a pain free life is probably out of reach, but it would be lovely to go for a walk or be able to spend a few hours in the kitchen! A night’s sleep, a quick needle in the arm, and it’ll be all over. I can DO this!

  5. Seems there are different definitions of a ‘country mile’ online but what really interested me even more than its meaning is that the first known use of it was in 1950! I recall my Dad using the expression when I was a kid and, my being born just shortly before 1950, he must have picked up on it when it was first introduced to the language.
    Oh dear, poor Boo. And seems, no matter what you do, he will continue to stink all summer every time he gets wet in the rain. And also, poor Theo. I am wondering what happened to the dear. Did those nasty chickens beat him up? A nice gentle reflection about bringing tbe cows home, thank you.
    Hope you have a lovely day too. ~ Mame 🙂

  6. Sorry about Theo. I was so enjoying his stories with the hens. I would not make a good farmer, I get upset just hearing about Theo.

  7. I’m sorry about Little Theo. He was so intrepid. I looked forward to hearing his adventures.
    I’m glad the little calves are healthy and vigorous and happy.

    I think your idea about Memorial Day is perfect. It has morphed into a celebration instead of a day of reflection and memory.

    • My earliest recollections of memorial day are the ones I gleaned from the wonderfully evocative book, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”. I’m sure you all have read it. I just finished reading it for the third or fourth time. What a wonderful read! Much love, Your Gayle

  8. Poor Theo- at least he knew love and comfort. and I bet Boo will be happy to get his bath! Lovely stormy photos!

  9. My family tradition inspires and requires a pre-Memoridal Day journey. This must take place Saturday or Sunday, in celebration of, or inspite of the weather. The goal is to visit relatives, tell them how the past year went, and plant flowers on their graves. I was alone for the first time this year, however my mother and sister were with me every step of the way, reminding me who gets what flowers and that grandmother loved pink. There are a dozen graves located in four country cemeteries. Some of these are located just outside of town. However one that comes to mind is found down a long dusty road. I’m sure at one time there was a town or at least a church nearby, but now, it only has cornfields to acompany the long dusty memories. For me, the hundred mile round trip always ends at the National Cemetery. The miles and miles of identical white stones both calm and stir my soul. This year at sunset, there was a young man in fatigues playing his bagpipes with amazing grace. Perfect end to a perfect day.

  10. I’m sure Theo was grateful to be warm. I’ve long thought the cook out with friends and family was an attempt to show gratitude for what we have thanks to the sacrifice of the fallen soldier. I can see your point, too, and perhaps it would be good to have a little of both. I managed to build some hefty blisters and sore muscles, alone, and it brought peace.

  11. Beautiful images (as always)! I really like your idea of celebrating Memorial Day with effort and hard work. That is a terrific tribute to those who have toiled for our freedoms.

  12. A country mile is definitely longer than 5,280 feet. Life in the country also tends to move slower through those miles because we often have a heavier load or a harder haul to make it down that mile.

  13. I was happily reading your post when I came to your p.s. Oh! Sure didn’t see that coming. I’m so sorry about little Theo. he had such a unique personality. So cute too. Well he couldn’t have picked a more comforting nest than your warm hands and heart, Cecilia. We should all be so lucky.

  14. I, too, was saddened to hear about the passing of young Theo. Though he was a small little tyke, his personality was huge and his determination to do things his way enormous. Bless his little soul. City girls get sad too. Much love especially to you Celi, who found his voice and brought it to us to warm our hearts and cause us to love that tiny creature. Your Gayle

    • I had visions of Theo in his adulthood, irked at his chickens for not being able to spread their glorious plumage as he could. I envisioned him urging them on, demonstrating for them time and again just how it was done, over and over and over. Now we’ll never know except for in my imagination. Poor sweet bird. He died in the hands of his beloved Celi, that frustrating woman who kept trying to separate him from his chooks, but who cared deeply for him nonetheless.

  15. As Mom would say, “Mercy Me! The events I missed.” Mom’s wake and burial has had me away for several days. They were lovely – as lovely as they can be. I feel I have walked 10 country miles – which I think is about 100 miles total since Monday the 23rd.

    I spent Memorial Day – 5 minutes of it – with my father who has sever dementia and is finally in a care facility. He has no clue what day it is and was so agitated by the visit that we couldn’t stay more than 5 minutes.

    He is a Korean Veteran, His brother a WWII veteran, His nephew a Vietnam veteran and His father was in WWI. Further back there were Ross’ in all of the wars. -> So I said prayers for them all and a few extra for Dad.

    So Sad about the little chick – but a short good life is a life well lived. Poor BOO!!!!!!!

  16. Wonderful photos of the oncoming rain. We see that coming in over the sea when we are in Devon, then we rush back or get caught in it. Usually we get wet! Sorry about Theo.

  17. I think country miles are measured with elastic…..and then streeeeeeeeetched! Love seeing that storm coming, it’s the same for us in Spain. We can see it coming down through the gorge. Such a shame about the little pea chick. …and stinky Boo too 😕

      • Friends have used this solution: quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, one cup baking soda, and a teaspoon of liquid dish soap. Rub the solution into the fur, getting as close to the skin as possible, and rinse thoroughly; keep in mind that hydrogen peroxide can bleach your pet’s hair if left in too long, so don’t skimp on the water when rinsing. Follow the treatment with a regular bath using everyday dog shampoo.

        I would think bleach would be hard on the skin….

        • I have heard that tomatoes also work well for getting rid of skunk smell! Mythbusters did an episode years ago about getting rid of skunk smell, I can’t seem to find it, but their results showed that the commercial sprays you can buy didn’t work as well as some of the home remedies. Thankfully I have never smelt skunk, not having any here in NZ! Poor Boo, hopefully your bath unsmelled him enough so he can come back inside!

          Also sorry about Theo. He seemed like such a big part of the Farmy already. All your animals seem to have so much personality, but maybe it is just that you care enough about them to watch them and tell us of their little ways and habits.

          • Tomato does not work – I have tried every single home remedy and have devised my own- wait-then Skunk Off.It works.You never want to smell skunk – it is unbelievably awful..

            • Reminds me of the time my daughter and I found one of our cats had tangled with a skunk. We too had heard tomato juice might help … didn’t have any … but we DID have spaghetti sauce. Oh my … sure was not a pretty scene when the piano teacher hesitantly stuck her head into the bathroom to see what the heck was going on. Chunky spaghetti sauce all over the shower walls and us! I think her first thought was that we were killing the cat!!

  18. My niece was telling me not an hour ago that hydrogen peroxide is good for pet stains on rugs–and it doesn’t bleach the rug! I can hardly believe it, but just might try it cause I hate my old rug anyway.

    • I’ll bet your cousin was referring to hydrogen peroxide 3%… available at the pharmacy. It can also be used as a mouth wash to kill germs after surgeries, so I expect it won’t damage carpets…. or dogs, for that matter — Just be careful to get the 3% one. Good luck!

  19. So sorry to hear about Theo. I, too, enjoyed his adventures. I’m glad he had you with him.

    I read something the other day with the opposite view of your Memorial Day thoughts. This soldier took umbrage with the common meme going around this time of year that Memorial Day should be a solemn day of remembrance and that it somehow dishonors it to spend it with family doing happy things. From his point of view, those young men and women died so that you could spend happy time with family. He said it honors them to live you life, to be free, to be happy. And yes, to remember them, too. I think you can do both and I came away from his article thinking that there are always people who will tell us to punish ourselves for someone else’s loss. But when I think of the people I have lost, I cannot think of any of them who would recommend that I be particularly sad or refuse to join in family traditions (unless I just didn’t want to go!) on some particular day of the year.

    Anyway, how you choose to honor the day is up to you – just a thought from the other side.

  20. So sorry to hear about Theo, and Boo as well. Being a farmer means meeting life and death on a fairly regular basis, and finding as much meaning in that life as you can, no matter how long it has been. You cherish all the lives in your keeping to the best of your ability, and even better, you share that in great detail with all of us. Thank you!

  21. I was looking forward to watching Theo grow , now I am sad. I am so sorry that he didn’t make it.

  22. What days, and nights, you have… you work hard and deal with all manner of things good and bad. You should commemorate Memorial Day however you want to. On ANZAC Day we do both. We go the dawn & afternoon services to honour & reflect, then we have a drink at the pub and mingle with our community, some of whom play 2-Up which we don’t. Other’s prefer to spend the day quietly, alone. Or to make merry. It’s one of the many freedoms fought for… to choose. Sorry to hear about Theo, creatures are so very fragile.

  23. Is a country mile like a New York minute? So many unusual, fun, thoughtful expressions a? Poor dear Theo…but he was loved to death…not such a bad way to go, really. But you are right C. every little life is dear, no matter how long or short that life may be. xoxo

  24. Reblogged this on christoff2016 and commented:
    i enjoyed this article as it made me realise that small things in life can be very benificial. it also showed me that simple things can make your life a lot easier and if you enjoy it then i believe it is very healthy and good.

  25. Btw, I loved your description of walking amongst the animals at night. It’s the best time, and bored as you might be of goings out again, it never fails to soothe.

  26. It’s always sad to lose a farmy member, whether they just arrived or have been there a long time. Through your words they wriggle their way into our hearts.

  27. It looks like your back door looks out on a New Zealand/Australian lushness … while your front door looks out on the American prairie.

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