Turn Left At The Cornfield

Learning how to hurry up and slow down.

I Never Have Any Fun…



Ah, Utopia, where a barn door is fixed; where a cat drives; and a dog is confined to quarters.

In just the past few days, temperatures have dropped thirty degrees.  Just last week, cleaning the barn required work breaks to cool down on the porch while drinking copious amounts of water.  Today, the homesteaders had to bite the bullet and turn the furnace on, since it seemed warmer on the porch than in the house.  During summer’s hot and humid days, having the house cooler than the outside was deemed a good thing, but that time has passed.

The woodsman is happy.  In the past few weeks, the barn has been cleaned, woodworking lumber has been neatly stacked in “Pa’s Woodshed,” the old geothermal unit was torn apart to recycle at the scrap yard, and the hanging-by-a-nail barn door was rehung with new hinges.  It is actually square and plumb in the opening, for the first time in memory.

It seems that the past ten years spent on the homestead have included a lot of clean up and clean out chores, since the barn, machine shed, and the old garage were favored dumping spots for over thirty years. Finally, the pickup bed of the “hoopty” truck has been cleared of such treasures as old furniture parts, a couple of tables, and a very large odd piece of wood that has stumped everyone who has seen it.

The wooden piece has a definite curve that it too wide for someone to straddle, ruling out a bench or form where someone could sit; it has four very large bolt-like screws at either end, and has mysterious, evenly-spaced lines on the top.  It looks like there was another equally large piece of wood glued and, perhaps, screwed into the bottom.  The bolt-like screws could have been how some legs were, once, affixed to form a table or bench.  Nevertheless, the unknown piece was resurrected from the pickup bed, and is an interesting conversation starter.

Several projects are underway in the garage, for those inclement days when the woodsman wants to work on something.  There is an old rocking chair missing several back spindles that has been in the family for a long time, probably from the late 1800s, and a few other repairs that need to be made on old table and chairs made by the woodsman’s father.

Cleaning the barn yielded other interesting finds, which included an old chicken coop or market carrier made from oak, with an interesting closure fitting; two galvanized buckets or basket-like containers with sturdy handles; and a lot a rusted farm junk the writer is trying to make into a sculpture or something memorable. The rusted, “busted” stuff includes what may have been a trailer hitch, interesting chains, and miscellany that may just make a trip to the local scrap yard, if the woodsman were in charge of disposition of the “farmbilia.”

While the humans worked and took the geothermal unit apart, and, later, hung the barn walk door, the cat found ways to maneuver himself into the driver’s seat of the truck.  The first time, after spying the open truck window, Sir Fur stepped around the metal junk in the full pickup bed; climbed up on the truck roof; slipped through the open window;  hopped right into the driver’s seat; and stretched out to take a nap in a very cozy and comfy seat.

The second time, he took full advantage of open doors on the driver’s side of the pickup  since the humans were using the floor of the cab as a tool box.  He crawled up and made himself comfortable before the woodsman saw him scratching the seats with his rapier-like claws.  Needless, Sir Cat was evicted without any prior notice.

Murphy was an arithmetic dog–putting down three and carrying one–with a very sore and infected foot.  It is unknown if she injured her foot when she had the skunk cornered in the machine shed; or while she inspected the perimeter for unknown trespassing varmints, but her foot was definitely sore and swollen, slowing her normally rambunctious self, considerably.

As anyone who is owned by four-legged creatures knows, the worst thing a veterinarian can prescribe is an antibiotic pill.  Dogs and cats are especially suspicious when their humans veer from normal behavior, like when the dog or cat is offered a treat at unusual times, or when they are offered something they are never allowed to eat, not once but twice a day.  Murphy was no different.  The woodsman tried to give her a pill hidden in a Pupperoni, and the pill was immediately rejected and ejected from the side of her mouth.

Being quite careful to avoid those sharp, pointy teeth, since having five digits per hand is preferable, the next step was to shove the pill into her mouth, and to rub her throat while firmly holding her mouth closed.  This tactic usually requires two brave souls, since being timid will result in human injury.

In addition to having the wonderful fun of getting her to take the pill, her foot had to be cleaned with some medication that burned and hurt when the writer carefully rubbed the pad between Murph’s toes and over the pads.  The first time, the woodsman forgot his gloves and his paws needed medical attention, afterward.   Fortunately, no biting and clawing was involved with that treatment.

Now, the dog pretends that the woodsman hasn’t doctored her treats with the pill, and for her good behavior, she gets another piece of a Pupperoni.  The woodsman knows that she knows, and the compromise seems to be working for both man and beast.

Until her foot is healed, Murpho isn’t allowed outside without parental supervision.  Out of boredom, she hauls her blanket off the sleeping pew, and sleeps during the day when everyone else gets to play outside.

At this time of year, there are nights that are as dark as the inside of a cow, which are preferable to having a full, big, bright, harvest, super moon, since all of the four-footed wildlife in the area, enticed to wander around the garage and house area in the middle of the night, do not allow “sleeping dogs to lie.” The homesteading dog, cat, and humans could get a full night’s sleep, if deer, raccoons, woodchucks, and others did their walkabouts during the day, and slept at night.

Murphy has become super vigilant and alert during the wee hours of the night, and, like an early warning system, she alerts everyone asleep on the homestead about every wildlife incursions with incessant and constant barking, during the wee hours of the night.

Properly trained, a man can be dog’s best friend. ~Corey Ford

Author: Prairie Writer

No one could have predicted that a fourth generation native Coloradoan, in love with the mountains, would migrate east to the Southeast corner of Iowa; and fall in love with rolling hills and fields. Ten years ago, my husband, the woodsman, and I moved to the 200-acre farm he had inherited in the early 1990s; where we built our dream house over a span of five or six years. One of my hobbies is teaching! Although I retired over ten years ago from being a full-time geography teacher, the teaching bug continues to flow through my veins. I have found the perfect way to teach—substituting—where I enjoy teaching something different every day I’m called. My other hobbies include reading any and every thing; planning and planting our flower gardens; sewing; being “crafty” and creative; finishing furniture pieces crafted by the woodsman; and writing. I was the editor for a pictorial book about Van Buren County, the first year we lived in Iowa. Additionally, I wrote two weekly columns for the local newspaper for eight years. Now, I look forward to writing regular posts about living in the country with a cat, a dog, and a woodsman in my blog, “Turn Left At The Cornfield.”


  1. Finally had a few moments today to catch up with your blog….enjoyed reading
    each post thus far…..Keep writing….you have a wonderful way with words and
    I can always picture what you are describing….and I am also enjoying the
    beautiful pictures accompanying each post. And since you talked about the
    various moons we have enjoyed….I still have your two pictures on the wall in my upstairs hallway …

  2. I’m waiting!

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