One of the most idyllic images of country life features rolling fields of wheat and corn and a picturesque red barn. Cows contentedly chew cud, while a colorful rooster, perched on a fencepost, releases a crow to greet the rising sun. Many people wishing to leave the urban and suburban rat race envision this type of pastoral environment when they make plans to move to the country.
And then they arrive and the reality of rural life shatters that pretty dream.
Okay, so it’s not really so horrible out here in ag land. When my husband Jae and I decided to leave the city for rural life, we knew what we were getting into: Hard well water. Combines, tractors, and other large farm equipment on the road. Lots and lots of insects.
For us, the trade-offs—peace and quiet, plenty of property, no nearby neighbors, no HOA—far outweighed the negatives. We came in with our eyes and ears open.
Not everyone does, however. “Does your rooster crow all day long?” is the question I was asked by our former neighbors to the north, the Smiths. A retired couple, the Smiths had moved from urban Florida to the lot adjacent to ours.
We still have no idea why they left their sunny southern city to live in the Michigan boonies. I’m guessing that the “idyllic country life” thing had something to do with it.
They built a beautiful home and carefully landscaped around it. Then they moved in, ready to relax and enjoy their golden years near some of the state’s largest forests and wilderness areas.
Jae and I welcomed them to our neck of the woods (literally), then watched as they battled to maintain a manicured lawn and otherwise tried to establish suburbia on their seven acres. The Smiths’ efforts were a common topic of discussion. But we chose to remain silent and keep our commentary to ourselves.
Something to Crow About
Our roosters, however, did not. Jae and I consider cock-a-doodle-doo to be the unofficial song of the rural zone. It’s background music. We barely pay attention to it.
The crowing most certainly bothered the Smiths, however. My guess is that they truly believed a rooster will only crow to greet the rising sun. They seemed quite perplexed as to why crowing came from our property well past sunrise.
Mr. Smith stopped me one day while I was gardening to ask his question. I politely informed him that yes, our roosters—at that point in time, more than a dozen of them—crowed all day long. It was a common country myth, I explained, that a rooster will only crow at dawn.
Mr. Smith’s eyebrows shot up into his hairline at my reply. “Oh,” he said, then he turned and walked back to his property, undoubtedly to inform Mrs. Smith that our pesky roosters—more than one!—would be disrupting their peace round the clock….