Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dogs and country living.

Today I am going to deviate from my normal topic of gardening and talk about one of my favorite writers, Jon Katz, author of numerous books about his group of dogs, country living, and the trials and tribulations of working an old farm. The farm is located in upstate NY, the place he escaped to from the rat-race of city living. My favorite of his books is “The Dogs of Bedlam Farm,” the story of his three border collies and how they helped him adapt to life in the country and run the sheep farm he purchased on a whim. Katz also writes a wonderful blog about the farm, his dogs, and the other animals that live there. You can find his blog at

Escaping to the country and leaving city life behind has always been one of my fantasies. I love daydreaming about owning a small farm--a place where I can go crazy planting any tree or plant that tickles my fancy. I dream of a place with wide-open spaces where neighbors don’t crowd me, where I can have a barn and keep horses, donkeys, or any animal looking for a comfortable retirement home. I yearn for a place where I don’t have to deal with suffocating traffic, demanding bosses, and noisy, inconsiderate neighbors. Most of my friends and family have a difficult time understanding this fantasy, since I was born and have lived all my life in the city. I tell them that I have “country genes” from my farming antecedents in Cuba. I am like my Australian Cattle Dog, Rosie, who was born in the city, has never seen cattle or sheep, but every once and while has the urge to nip her humans in the heel and move them along. She doesn’t really understand why she does it but her herding instincts are as much a part of her as they are of her distant cousins that still herd in the Australian Outback. In my case, my family are country people; both my parents were born on farms and my grandparents were all farmers. So, like my dog, I have that country gene telling me that I would be a much happier human living in the country.

I always admired people like Mr. Katz, those daring and adventurous souls that have the hutzpa to tell the world, “Stop, I want to get off” and proceed to live a much simpler and happier life. Maybe some day I will summon the courage to do it but for now, I must be content to call the DragonFly garden my “farm”.

Jon Katz has written a new book called “Izzi and Lenore,” the story of two dogs that help hospice patients. I have not read this book yet but if it is like his past books, I am sure it will be wonderful! I heartily recommend Katz’ books to anyone looking for a charming escape.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

Don't give up on your dreams Rusty......this to was my dream....after 50 years in the city I moved to the countryside and now live in a 400 year old I happy, yes yes yes yes yes.............