On value + country living

I just walked back into the house after calling the Staley Fire Department to let them know Wes Hicks’ brown lab is running down Highway 64 towards the Chatham County Line. The only reason I know it’s Wes’ pup is because he’s wandered over to our farm before, and I called the number on his tag. It felt oddly good calling the fire department, where Wes’ cousin Ben is the chief, to let them know the pup is making a bee line towards Siler City, the opposite direction from his home. The knowing felt good. “Hi, um, I’m pretty sure Wes Hicks’ lab is running along highway 64 towards the Chatham line. I’m calling you all as it’s a small town and we all kinda know each other so I hope you can give Wes a call… or come out and catch the pup. The cars are slowing down and being mindful of him. He’s too far from me to grab and get the number on the tag to call myself.” I came back inside our house and grabbed Neyland’s face praying, “don’t you ever trot along the highway!” She licked my face and then kept on eating the grits I put in her bowl.

While we were out walking, just before the country evening drama, we sat a spell to sip wine and munch on grass next to the Tulsi in the garden.


As the herb’s sweet presence wafted over my being I had a rush of chaotic thoughts: “The volunteer zinnias Les loves are setting out new blooms. It looks happier after we weeded around it. Thank God for this $6.99 Torrontés from the coop. It’s damn good. I’m so grateful to drink out of beautiful vessels made by hands I know — ones that inspire me. I need to hurry up and finish Steve Martin’s Object of Beauty, and fiiiiiinally read Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein (a book I’ve been toting around with me since 2015– thank you Soph!– and have yet to sit down and read). The sun feels good on my skin. I’m sweating – everywhere. It’s early August. Time has flown by. It’s almost fall, I guess. I hope Les is enjoying his drawing session in town. I need to vacuum. I need to write. I want to write. Neyland, let’s harvest some herbs. Shit, the okra is getting long.”

Long yet tender

My stream of consciousness floated us over to the okra, and then Thai basil, and then Genovese basil, and then Brad’s Atomic Grape tomatoes, sage, and carrots for harvesting.

Then we fed the chickens, took out the compost, washed the bucket, and then called the fire department in futile hopes of getting highway pup home. He likely knows his way back better than any two legged being.


In munching on these evening musings, I acknowledge the deep value that’s been added to my life since moving out to the country. The independence to grow the food I want, with Mother Nature’s grace. The familiarity with neighbors and their narratives – “most of the Hicks still live on Hicks Farm Road.” I’ve met 3 of them. They’re mostly nice, except for the part of the road where the potholes abound. The ability to move intimately with the seasons – from redbud blossom to mimosa bloom, from dogwood flower to maypop vine. I ponder now whether to add carrots and okra to my ramen tonight, or eat left over grits seasoned with arroz con pollo peppers plus some sliced up tomatoes, without worry of reservations, parking, lines, or noise. I can hear the birds chirping now.  I see the sun setting by way of the orange glow of the black walnut leaves from the window panes in front of which I sit.

Georgia Lee Hussey understands “money, as all of our resources.” I look around, and value is everywhere.

Time to make some ramen.

— E



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