Sometimes I get a chuckle from facebook status messages. One of those messages made me laugh out loud this morning:
“If someone in Fairview is missing a goat it’s in my yard!!”
I laughed and then I smiled with a great memory from when my children were young. We lived “out in the country” if you want to call it that. We sat on 13 acres and I had wildlife at my kitchen door daily. It was wonderful. We used to watch a snapping turtle climb out of our pond and creep up to the top of hill by our house and work for hours digging a hole to deposit her eggs. She did this every year. I had no idea that a snapping turtle finds the highest point she can for her egg delivery. I went out one year and dug a hole parallel to where she was working to no avail. She would look over at me like “What the hell, lady.” As soon as I went back in the house, she moved over and continued where I started digging for her. My children loved it and I felt like an awesome mom and general turtle helper.
Well, every Christmas season, which is right after Thanksgiving in my household, I would bring out the air popper and make popcorn for our Christmas tree. I learned over the years to let the popcorn sit out for a few days for easier stringing. It just sucks to try to push a needle through fresh popcorn.It was hard not to curse in front of my children. “Oh….sugar” just didn’t make it. Some of those needle-through-my fingers needed a full f-bomb rant. It wasn’t until after the internet was invented (thanks Al Gore) that I was able to read advice on proper popcorn stringing. Some years I would feel more energetic with my popcorn stringing and completely loop around the tree. Other years, not so much. I would faux string it, which means cheating and only showing the popcorn string where people can see the tree.
After Christmas was over and the tree was taken down, I would slide the popcorn off the thread and put it in a large stainless steel bowl.
“Kids, I’m going to put the popcorn out on the mound so the birds can have a Christmas treat.”
Am I an awesome wildlife lady or what? The mound I am referring to was a place underneath a hickory tree near our pavilion. When we leveled the yard after we built our home, I wanted to save the hickory, so we left a little hill area in front of the tree. We placed a large granite stone at the base of the tree. This is where I would lay out goodies for the birds and squirrels. And after Christmas, it was where I put the popcorn.
So, one day I had the kids put on their coats and I took that stainless steel bowl outside and explained to the kids what kind of birds may want to eat the popcorn.
“Let’s keep an eye out, because we may see blue jays…..and crows…..and..maybe a bird we haven’t seen on the mound before.”
It was starting to snow, which was great while decorating the tree. It really puts you in the mood. My daughter loved to help put the ornaments on the tree and it wasn’t too long when she too, would stand back after carefully deciding where to put a particular ornament. My son was generally waiting for me to put together my little Christmas village of buildings and people as he loved putting a little boy headfirst down into the well or laying him on the white ground with a horse drawn sleigh getting ready to run over him. To be honest, I loved walking into the kitchen to see what he moved around next.
A few hours after I put the popcorn out on the mound, my daughter ran into the Hearth room with a big smile on her face.
“Mommy, there’s a cow eating the popcorn!” Cackling is always a great laugh, and Alex was doing her share of cackling.
Whaat? We walked over to the kitchen french door and lo and behold, there indeed was a cow munching on our popcorn. It was a big solid black cow and it was loving the popcorn. This was the year I made a large popcorn garland for the Christmas tree, so there was a heap of popcorn on the mound. Popcorn was coming out of both sides of his mouth. The cackling from Little One continued. Adam took a break from putting a dog on a roof in the village to join us at the door.
“Mommy, you never said a cow would come to the mound,” she managed to say between her wonderful laugh. Adam stood there watching the cow munching like it hadn’t been fed in a while. It was a funny sight, especially since the most we were expecting were blue jays or crows.
We stood there for a long while, actually stunned that there was a cow in our yard. Our neighbors had cows, but they lived down over the hill and were far away from us. I knew it had to belong to them. The cow must have slipped through a broken barb-wired fence and trotted away and decided to visit us, I guess.
After I made the call and our neighbor came to retrieve the popcorn munching cow, we continued to decorate the tree and my son continued messing with the village, placing the little Christmas town on alert for the boy lost after jumping off a bridge.
It was a wonderful, wonderful memory and I thank my facebook friend who found a goat in her yard this morning.
It made me cackle.