The cows come home today. To their summer home that is. I’m not sure where they go for the winter. Some barn a few miles down the road, I presume. Doesn’t that make those cows sound fancy? A summer home and a winter home. Almost like the visitors of our nearby lake towns; residents of Chicago who build vacation homes along Lake Michigan.
When we moved to our home three years ago, our daughter was a preschooler. We don’t have any houses right by us out here, so we told her she would have cows for neighbors. Welcome home neighbors. We’ve been expecting you. For when the cows head to our (actual) neighbor’s pasture, the sounds of summer are complete.
I’ve noticed the farm waking up in all kinds of ways this spring. But perhaps none more than the sounds I hear outside. It starts with the spring peepers, of course. Early spring, we crack our windows just a little. Michigan stays cold well into March (OK, May) but we open up our homes to the fresh air when we can. I lie down in my bed at night and hear these critters assuring me warmer weather is coming. The frogs follow along after that. We have a pond on our property so their amphibian chorus rings large and true from the water’s edge. One of our favorite sounds are the sandhill cranes returning, although if they fly over the roof, their call can make our whole house rattle! If you haven't heard a fox scream, google it. Seriously chill-you-to-the-bone stuff. Mr. Owl who asks the question, "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for y'all?" From there, we’ve added kittens mewing, ducks quacking and chickens bawking. All the birds and their chattering return to our feeders. Nature’s symphony of sound. The soundtrack of home to me.
We got our piggies about a month early this year. They eat out of a big grain bin that has metal flaps to protect the feed from bugs, rain and such. So, every time they eat, they lift the metal flap, making a “hrumph” sound. Much like an individual who lives by train tracks, I’ve gotten used to that sound. For me, it’s a soothing thing to hear it and know these pigs are healthy and eating well. As they should be.
Our dogs started barking yesterday evening shortly after dinner. This isn’t unusual in any way. Out here, there’s a lot of wandering critters. More traffic these days than we would like as well. I looked out the window to see what had them on alert. Our neighbor was across the road shutting the gate that leads to the pasture. A few minutes later, he came up our driveway. When we went out to visit for a minute, he had a big grin on his face. “Listen,” he said. It was faint but I heard it. The well pump was going. It’s an old pump that offers up fresh water for the cows to drink. It’s something of a relic I guess. He’s had people tell him they’ll drive down our road sometimes just so they can listen to that well pump. We only hear it in the summer months. That’s when he delivered the news. The cows come home today.