Turn Left At The Cornfield

Learning how to hurry up and slow down.

On Reading…



Ah, Utopia where the alfalfa stays green year ‘round, where homesteaders aren’t chilled “to the bone” with the wind and cold, and where random nocturnal birds don’t attack the windows of one’s abode.

This writer and the resident woodsman are going through grandbaby girl withdrawal, and the symptoms aren’t pretty.  The smiles, and cute antics are recalled over and over, and the ailing duo wonder how she is doing throughout the day.  Her parents are quite capable of caring for her needs and wants, and, thankfully, share the latest accomplishments, but it just isn’t the same when the winning smile, giggles, and bath time go on without us.

The resident woodsman is in Bronco football withdrawal, but the highlight of the visit to the East was the Bronco outfit given to one sweet baby girl.  When this writer dressed her as a Bronco baby–our son, her dad, a Philadelphia Eagles fan–could only shake his head, in disgust. And several pictures were taken with her, her grandpa, and the rocking horse, in Bronco glory.

Loki has been doing his level best to entertain us with his newest antics and tricks.  He has discovered that he can sit on the recycle bins by the door between the garage and the house.  He has also discovered that he can jiggle the door knob by batting it with his paws; however, his four and a half pounds just doesn’t have the heft behind it like the one hundred and seventy pound, door-opening bloodhound in Ohio.

Mister Cat entertained all at the vet’s office with his interior decorating prowess in the kennel area.  His material of choice was a roll of paper towels left on the top of his kennel.  He unrolled the paper towel over the door and created a lovely, lacey festoon with only his teeth and claws. Not only does he work with cherry and other hardwoods as a famous woodworking cat, but also with other materials to decorate an otherwise bland environment.

The other night this writer heard a banging on the outside of one of the windows, and it wasn’t storming with ice and sleet.  After a few minutes, there was another louder thud on, seemingly, another window.  The sound repeated several times, until the homesteaders discovered that a large bird or, horrors, a bat was trying to come into the house, drawn by the lights.

After turning the outside lights on, the noise subsided and the bird, perhaps an owl flew to the rooftop over the deck.  In the morning, bravery returned to the residents, and they found evidence of blood and a struggle against one of the higher windows on the east side of the house.  Our mysterious visitor hasn’t returned, and we wonder if it was the owl we often spot around the homestead.

During the lulls in grandbaby watching, this writer read the book about Dewey Readsmore Books from Spencer, Iowa.  We had heard the librarian-author talking about her book, Dewey, on a recent NPR broadcast, and acquired the book whilst visiting our favorite bookstore in Ohio.  It is truly worth any reader’s while to read this entertaining book about this feline who started his career as a library cat in a book drop on a cold January night.

The book was also a testament to the tenacity of a town–that had to reinvent itself after fires, farm recessions, and other adversity—much like the history of any small town in rural Iowa, or for that matter, any town in the agrarian parts of our country.  Although one knows the end of the story, in a sense, it’s the journey of reading that is the most satisfying.  Reading about Dewey, the internationally famous library cat from a small town in Iowa was both an inspiring and rewarding venture.

Austin Phelps’ quote in the Farmer’s Almanac aptly illustrates our love of books and book stores, when he penned, “Wear the old coat and buy the new book.”  Although the homesteaders can use gift cards, online, to buy their hearts’ desire, there is nothing more satisfying than the adventure of perusing a book in a store dedicated to books, hefting the weight of the book, reading the flyleaves, and settling on a wonderful friend to bring home to enjoy the experience of becoming acquainted with the characters and, then, to become part of the book and the story.

In the past few days, the ice was hard on everyone, both man and beast. The road in front of the homestead could have been an awesome ice rink for any National Hockey League team, and was especially wicked at the wye south of the cemetery. This writer is a bit confused about the forecasts for freezing rain and for ice storms, and really doesn’t understand the distinction.  If rain freezes, doesn’t it create ice?  If it rains, doesn’t it storm?  So, with that reasoning, if a freezing rain storm comes, isn’t freezing rain an ice storm? Ah, another confusing aspect of the English language.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower once wrote, “…Don’t be afraid to go to your library and read every book.”

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.”

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