We all have our struggles in life. These days mine come in swarms, and in wild, unruly clusters. My husband’s come with feathers, dive-bombing at my head.

Yes, in all the lamenting I do about these beautiful, lush, warm summers spent living (literally) in the middle of a cow pasture, I have left out the stuff that drives us crazy, sending me out into the trees in the heat of the day with my leather gloves and tall boots on a mission to murder.

Or keeps me inside with a bottle of poison and a fly swatter cursing the day the good Lord invented the fly.

It’s the kind of crazy that compels my sweet husband to turn into Rambo in the middle of a beautiful evening dinner on the deck at the sight of his enemy bringing another stick from the trees.

It’s the cockleburs.

The black flies.

The barn swallows making their nests in our new garage and pooping on my car.

And so we’ve become predators in our own home, working to tame the wild beasts that are closing in on our domestic life from the wild, weed-infested great outdoors.

Now, I don’t know what we expected when we plopped our house down in the middle of this wild place. I should have known better. I was deemed the lawn mower/

weed killer of our family growing up. I understood that we had to keep on top of the wild or the wild would top us all.

Like, I mean, really. In a summer like this, the weeds and grass can grow up over my head. It’s amazing when you’re out in the pastures, checking cows and letting your horse take a nip at the clover as you plod along.

It’s not the same kind of amazing when you’re out in your yard, in the heat of the day, spraying and cutting down burdock that has grown so thick it has blocked out all hope for another living green thing to flourish, threatening to mature and grow burs that stick to your socks, your horses’ manes, your dog’s butt, your mittens and wool cap in the fall, making you the vehicle for its next invasion.

Ugh, I save the word “hate” for burdock.

And the black flies that somehow come to life only to die a thousand long and dramatic deaths on the windowsill I can’t reach without a 10-foot ladder.

So I Google remedies.

“How to keep black flies from driving me to put the place up for sale, pull on my khakis and move to a house in town with a sidewalk and a cocklebur-free lawn.”

Funny how this search resulted in quite a few forums discussing remedies and a wave of relief in the knowledge that I am not alone in my struggle with the annoying side of nature.

But my husband, he doesn’t get worked up about the weeds. He never was a lawn sort of man. And the flies? I think he’s only invested in the solution so I stop waking him up in the early hours Saturday morning with the sound of cussing and fly swatting.

But those birds? Those birds are his nemesis. They have invaded his new (but yet to have doors) manly garage cave, and they must go.

So he Googles: “How do I get rid of barn swallows without having to murder a family of birds and blow a hole in my new garage with my .22 and have to hear about it from my wife for the rest of my life?”

And then he searches “BB Guns” just in case.

Yes, we all have struggles in life, and I’ve never been one to dwell, but if you come over to the ranch this weekend, don’t be alarmed if you find a crazy, sweaty woman out in the trees with an ax, chopping furiously at the weeds that refuse to die, and a man, dangling from the rafters, leaning over the deck rails, spouting choice words at tiny birds that couldn’t be happier this silly couple has moved into this wild place and built their family such a nice, warm home.

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