Tag Archives: country living

The Ladybug Song

In my ongoing effort to become a world famous author, songwriter and creator of content for children, I decided to write another song and figured you can’t lose with ladybugs. Everyone loves ladybugs and if you look at the number of published children’s books about our little spotted wing friends, writing about ladybugs is a sure thing.

So please take a listen and let me know what you think. It’s a cute little song, soothing and melodic with a great denouement at the end. See that big word I just used there? Only world famous authors and songwriters can use big words like denouement.

Thanks for listening, I hope you enjoy it… make sure you listen to the whole song though… you know, so you don’t miss the denouement! 😉

What do you mean you sense sarcasm in my voice?!?

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A Moment in Time

I’m sitting outside. It’s about 9:00 pm on Saturday night. A plastic cup of cheap wine by my side. The old boom box radio sings to me from just outside the barn. “Grassroots”, a bluegrass and roots music program is playing on NPR. We listen to it almost every Saturday night and again on Sunday mornings. A warm fire is burning in the firepit.

Nothing out of the ordinary except the usual heat of your average summer night has been pushed out by a cold spell. The temperature is in the 50’s and I sit here in long pants, a sweatshirt and stare beyond the fire to our apple tree, full of small yellow apples. I imagine the tree is wondering if it has somehow fallen behind and missed its growth season. I’m happy to see apples though, as the last two years have been very sparse.

Three of my four goats are grazing away, happy to have some human companionship outside but on this occasion not hovering around looking for their heads to be  scratched. Goats are extraordinarily affectionate creatures and it occurred to me today that I could never have imagined “farm animals” bringing me so much joy. Goat number four, Heath, is inside their barn. He is getting old and doesn’t get out as much as he used to. Like any animal, none of them will live forever and that thought saddens me, yet I am grounded knowing that we are providing them a comfortable lifestyle.

The corn field across Brown Road is being irrigated. I was annoyed this morning when the farm equipment woke me up, but now I’m soothed hearing the sound of water soaking the stalks. I hear the fsh, fsh, fsh, fsh, as the gigantic, prehistoric looking irrgation sprinkler fires out spray after spray of water, as if it is trying to keep beat with the upright bass that anchors the latest bluegrass tune on the radio.

Jonathan is inside. The girls tonight, out of town at a softball tournament. It seems like that’s the stage of life we are in, with something going on every weekend. “Divide and conquer” we like to say. You go here, I’ll go there and both kids will be happy having a parent around. He’ll come out  soon enough though and we’ll cook hobo pies on the fire before calling it quits for the night.

Though the girls are away, I’m happy to be home.  It’s peaceful tonight, a little rare, quiet, alone time. I worked around the yard a lot today, until my 45 year old back told me enough was enough. There’s something about physical work though that is rewarding. Sometimes I think it’s what we were supposed to do, before technology took it all away.

In contrast, I sit here and type on an iPad and wonder what I would do without it. The bright screen, the fire and the two security lights the only thing interrupting the total blackness of the night. Soon the bats will be out, circling the lights and getting their fill of insects.  Later tonight the coyotes will stand around in a circle, far away, but close enough that we’ll hear them howl and laugh as if celebrating a reunion of old friends. It’s dark now and everything around me has become a scene of outlines and shadows. The radio seems louder as if somehow it is disturbing the night solitude. But there’s nothing to disturb here, no one around, just me and the goats and the bats and lots of crickets and likely lots of other wildlife that I can’t see or hear.

The fire is dying now, so I will go put more wood on. Because this may be just a moment in time. But if I have any say in the matter, I’d like it to last just a little bit longer.

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I need a new slogan!

I’ve decided I need a new slogan.

If you look up at the top of the page you’ll see my header. Now I’m not sure I’m interested in changing the whole header. It’s been around for a few years but I still think it’s pretty good. Instead, if you read the fine print at the bottom, you’ll see it says:

Stories about country living, old houses, dirt roads, raising kids and other amusing and inspirational anecdotes!

Lame…

Sure, that’s probably what it was about three years or so ago when this whole adventure started. Sometimes it’s still about some of those topics. On the other hand, sometimes that slogan fits about as well as the pair of designer jeans I just had to retire because I couldn’t get the button fastened.

Yeah… can you say… New Years Resolution?!?

Anyhow, as you know I could go out and hire my marketing agency, the creative types that produced this fabulous radio advertisement and these extra-fabulous t-shirt designs.  But frankly they are very expensive.  So I am looking for some advice, guidance and feedback on what this blog is really about.

Plus, I have recently become the proud new owner of the domain name; http://www.brownroadchronicles.com, so I feel like I’m a lot more important and successful than I usually think I am.

Now, a disclaimer: this is NOT A CONTEST. You will not win a pair of fuzzy dice or a bar of goats-milk soap or a Brown Road Chronicles t-shirt. I’m sorry! I don’t have the organizational capacity to run a contest.  Some of you are very good at running contests and giveaways. I’m very good at not running contests.  I’m just looking for some input even if you say “that’s a great slogan, don’t change it!” I may not use any of the ideas, but if you participate you will have my eternal love and gratitude which many of you have already… and what better prize is there?

So, there you have it!

Please keep it clean… this is a family site!

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Meet Holly and Ella

The latest addition to the Brown Road family!

These are pygmy goats that we adopted from some 4-H’ers that weren’t able to keep them.  They’re the cutest damn things!

Holly is all black, Ella is the one with the white hat.

Guess I’m gonna have to design some new t-shirts….

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My New Radio Advertisement

The State of Michigan tourism department, “Pure Michigan”, has for several years been running a highly successful and award-winning radio advertising campaign promoting all of the wonderful places that people can visit in the state. The voice-over artist is Tim Allen, of television and film fame, who was a long-time Michigan resident.

So after hearing these radio ads over and over again, I thought, what better way to get more readers than to produce a radio ad promoting my own blog, The Brown Road Chronicles.

I’ve been working very hard on this, please take a listen, it’s hosted on Sound Cloud, hope the link works. Maybe soon you’ll hear this on a radio station near you!

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O’ Beautiful Corn

O’ Beautiful Corn, you grow so high.
Up to our knees by Fourth of July.
Up to our chest in August late.
Just in time for harvest date.

O’ Beautiful Corn, grown from the lands.
We buy you from the local stands.
A dozen ears won’t cost a lot.
Shall be enough to fill our pot.

O’ Beautiful Corn, in husks of green.
We peel them to reveal your sheen.
A job, our children we employ.
One of the jobs they do enjoy.

O’ Beautiful Corn, you precious food.
You always put me in the mood.
For friends and fun and barbeques.
And summer meals we can’t refuse.

O’ Beautiful Corn of shining Maize.
Your fresh picked taste on summer days.
Soaked in butter, sprinkled with salt.
Your goodness we should all exalt.

O’ Beautiful Corn, your cobs we strip.
With our teeth we tear and rip.
Like a typewriter moving ‘cross the page
That’s how it’s done at any age.

But Beautiful Corn, we must confess.
There’s a question we can only guess,
has been asked by people o’er and again,
even the pilgrims way back when.

See, Beautiful Corn, we are distressed.
Why your kernels, we cannot digest.
Every other food we turn to poo.
Why can’t we do the same with you?

The End (pun intended)! 🙂

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The Monkey Money Collector

It’s county fair week around us.  Ah, yes, the county fair, where idyllic rural farm life meets the crazed mania of the Midway, where you can watch a tractor pull, dance to some bluegrass music and win your kid a giant stuffed animal, where you can dine on delicious but overpriced Italian sausage sandwiches, corn dogs, caramel apples and elephant ears, all delivered fresh from portable trailer restaurants, where you can walk through barns full of horses and cows and cattle and pigs and goats and sheep and rabbits all raised by proud 4-H kids, where you can see giant alligators and other reptiles and where you can “people watch” folks from all walks of life.  It’s the county fair and it’s an all-American tradition.

We have been attending the same county fair for the 16 years that we have lived in our house. We don’t make it every year, but we have most.  Sometimes, like this year we will go twice.  A friend of my daughters was showing her horse in the riding competitions and we spent Sunday afternoon watching her and walking through the barns and looking at the animals. We hope our daughter will be riding in these same competitions next year. Later this week we will go back for an evening and ride the rides and eat cotton candy and elephant ears.

At this particular fair, as people walk the main pathway from the barns over to the midway and back, somewhere in the middle, just past the grandstand, they have typically come upon a large congregation of people standing in a half circle and watching something. Often there are kids in the front row and adults squatting down.  From the back it’s tough to see what is going on, to see what all these spectators are riveted on.  Pushing through, however, one can finally witness the strange event that has drawn this crowd of onlookers.

There, facing the crowd is a tall, gangly and scraggly looking man, dressed in an old tattered suit that has seen better days. The man looks tired as if Fair life has worn him down. He doesn’t say a word. He doesn’t smile or perform any tricks. He doesn’t speak or show any emotion, he just stands there… for he is not the performer.  In front of this man, on a thin string-like leash is a monkey, dressed as well, in a charming little vest and shorts and a hat with a string around his chin, and he is working this crowd of kids and adults hard. But he is not juggling, he is not opening and eating a banana, he is not riding a unicycle… nothing like that. He is collecting coins from the spectators.  The people in the front row are reaching into their pockets and grabbing coins and holding them towards the monkey who walks up to them and takes the coins and returns them back to the man in the suit.  Parents are handing coins to their children so that they too can experience this monkey taking coins from their hands. One after another after another, coin after coin after coin.  It’s cute and adorable and weird and sick and twisted… and absolutely brilliant!

It’s the Monkey Money Collector…

One year while at the fair, after seeing this Monkey Money Collector do his thing, I succumbed to my urges to participate in this bizarre spectacle and I grabbed a quarter out of my pocket and squatted down with anticipation. There we were, that cute little monkey and me, facing each other amongst this crowd of people. I smiled and held my hand out and the monkey saw the bright, shiny quarter. With a gleam in his eye he came running over to me and with his tiny little monkey hand he grabbed the quarter from me. Then he ran back to his owner and gave him the quarter.  Just like that, with only seconds of time having ticked off the clock, I was 25 cents poorer and the man in the suit was 25 cents richer.  He quickly left me and moved onto the next participant. I don’t quite remember, but I’m pretty sure I then handed coins to my kids who in turn gave them to the monkey.

I have to admit, as amusing as the whole concept is to me of training a monkey to take money from people, I have always felt sorry for this little fellow, as I tend to with any animal that I see out of its normal habitat. In hindsight, I suppose he probably has a good life with the strange, un-emotional man who is his keeper.  I’d venture to guess, as well, that this man and his monkey are not living the high-life somewhere, off of the income earned at the county fairs they worked.  But capitalism works in strange ways and somewhere, deep down inside, I hope that they have a decent life.

As my family and I walked through the fair on Sunday, I didn’t see the Monkey Money Collector and I wondered why they weren’t there.  Maybe they just weren’t working this day, or maybe one of them has passed away… or maybe they have retired to a tropical island somewhere! If they are there when we attend later this week, perhaps I’ll search my pockets for a shiny new quarter.

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