Yesterday, momma spent her reading time with binoculars. Reading time is where I can snuggle up beside her, keeping her warm, while she turns pages in a book. For fun, I guess? She seems to like it. But this time, I had to lay on the couch with my sister, Oreo, while momma said words like- big cat-cougar-no might be a great dane-no, it has a very long fluffy tail-And MY FAVORITE-probably just an overgrown five foot long house cat, and then she laughed, and said, “They’ll eat ya, you know!” Of all things, she asked if I wanted to take a walk! No. A million times no!
Waking early on the farm, anyone up can enjoy the sun peeking up over the mountains. The grackle birds are on the feeders. Their thin, legs looking too long as they walk their feathered sheen bodies about. Old man winter worked hard through the night to beautifully cover each blade of grass. If one would capture his perfect artwork with photo, the picture would surely lack in desire. Fog drifts lazily over the creek, appearing unafraid of the morning light.
Out burst us pups to enjoy the crisp morning. First, me, Daisy, the English Bulldog. I search the ground for any new smell, then go to the fence to watch the birds swoop down. My sister, the blue heeler/collie is not as gentle. She races to the fence to sound out a bark. Oreo ruined my show, scaring away my feathered friends. Being an avid bird watcher, now I will have to go in search of a stick. I look for the large groundhog that lives under the outbuildings. Patrol the yard, then quietly sit at the back door. Momma will let us in and wipe my big paws. Maybe I will chase the tennis ball back under the chair. Or enjoy a warm nap on the sunny couch.
(Winter for me, puts a halt on a lot of outdoor work and activity. Even though it is just December and we have mild winters, especially compared to places I have lived-Indiana, Nebraska, Chicago, & Colorado-I still struggle to enjoy being outside and to stay healthy. I decided to write a thought I had this morning of my younger self waiting with me for summer to arrive)
As a little girl, with hat, scarf, extra socks, and boots, I tried to enjoy winter. The beautiful snow would captivate me. Standing at the window as it fell in heavy, thick flakes, cold creeping through my skin, I wanted to go stand in it. As I tilted my head up, the flakes rushing swiftly toward my face, I would try to catch a few with my tongue. If they landed there, I can not recall. I remember them soaking my hat, my cheeks, and sliding down through my scarf. My toes would begin to tell me to move around, that they were cold.
As it quickly accumulated on the cold ground, I caught myself standing around. Under the trees, remembering climbing this one or that one. Playing over there, King of the Hill with the neighbor kids. Hide-n-Seek when the sun was setting. Living in Indiana, Chicago, Colorado, and Nebraska for awhile, as a kid, I experienced my share of snow. Coming through two major blizzards in the 1970’s, and more than enough of the flu, strep throat, mono, and any virus that could grab me, I stayed in the warm house. My tomboy self would have to wait for late spring. I read Laura Ingall’s book the Long Winter and Farmer Boy. Books were helpful and I enjoy reading.
Now, as a grown up girl, every morning, I look out the windows patiently waiting for warmth. I walk hand in hand with the little girl who can not wait for summer. We still dress warm and brave the cold, even though winters here in Tennessee are not as strong. We daydream of long summer nights, catching lightning bugs, fuzzy caterpillars that have become beautiful butterflies. Baby birds, safe in their nest, in the tree you wish you could climb. Blades of grass under shoeless feet. A warm body and dark skin from staying out all day, playing and happily enjoying each and every ray.
Hand in hand, we dream of memories long past. I look down at her, and promise to keep those memories alive. Hand in hand, she mischievously looks at me and promises to help me make new one’s. She has been eyeing this tree she wants me to try to climb. It’s ok she says, we will take it slow!
Two days before Thanksgiving, and we had to make the decision not to host Thanksgiving at our new home. For as long as I can remember, I have always been sick on or close to this holiday. Truly wanting to look forward to it, I bring out the turkey drawings, ceramic turkeys, pumpkin decorations, and scented pumpkin candles. I glitter acorns and press leaves for the dining room table.
This morning I looked like the grinch before Christmas, all grouchy and slouching around. Grumbling and down. Crying only made me go in to an uncontrollable coughing fit. This is when I remembered, not everything is about me.
This past weekend, my cousin and his wife, who we had not seen for over 25 years, and their 2 youngest kids visited. Our kids and grandkids came over. We stayed up late. We laughed and talked. We cooked out, eating and having our own Thanksgiving time with them. They didn’t want to leave and we didn’t want to see them go. Time really does go too fast. For family, we give thanks.
Daisy and Oreo, our puppies, can race from the fireplace, up the couch and through the kitchen in as little as what seems 2 seconds flat. We hadn’t had dogs for over 6 years and we missed their furry bodies. Wet noses unexpectedly touching your leg, making you laugh and jump. Loving eyes staring in to yours. Falling asleep next to you on the couch. Making you laugh more than you have lately, as they play with their toys. For our dogs, we give thanks.
For my husband who has taken such good care of his family. Who works very hard every day. Who gives from the heart. We give thanks.
For our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren, who show their love for us in so many ways. We give thanks.
For our salvation, our faith in things not seen. The Lord up above. The angels all around. We give thanks.
For our freedom. Our beautiful country. For when we reach out and help those around us. For hugs and smiles. We all need them. We give thanks.
For a year that saw a lot of growth. For a year that held a lot of prayers. For a year that felt a lot of strength and love from not only above, but from our whole family and friends, we truly give thanks.
Have a happy and thankful day. Happy Thanksgiving wherever you are, and like us, whenever you have it. :)Jen
The house is clean and all the furniture arrived and arranged. The house now looks like our home and I like that. If someone walked in, they might think we have been here for awhile. Inside painting will happen in December and this will complete the look.
Thanksgiving will be at our farm this year. Last year was at our old home. Our children stepped up and cooked my recipes I had written out. A few days before, I was in a terrible car accident right in our front yard. I gave Thanks For This because as I flipped a few times and was seriously hurt, my family was able to comfort me till the ambulance arrived. This year I will have the help of cooking from our daughters, but I will be able to join in!
Our two puppies, Daisy the bulldog, and Oreo the Blue Heeler/Shepherd are learning beginner commands and finding their sweet way in to our hearts. Right now I hear Oreo barking at the very large groundhog that lives under our outbuildings right past our temporary puppy fence.
The fence around the house and some of the outbuildings is just started. Posts in the ground. Cedar log poles in cement anchoring the big farm gate. We have learned painfully that we are not as agile as we used to be and that cut hands and swollen feet greatly slow you down.
Nighttime is very different out here in the country versus the busy highway we lived on. Sirens all the time. Constant traffic. The nights are quiet and dark. Very dark. We can just stand outside and look up and we see thousands of stars. All is wonderfully silent.
Cleaned up one of the outbuildings for our new microgreen business. Cleaned up the very large shop that holds our tools, lawnmowers, farm truck, and room to warmly house sheep we believe we would like to raise.
The chicken coop still stands patiently waiting for when we repair, clean, and paint her after the New Year.
The barn is ready to be tilled and warm hay to be spread out on both sides of her. The middle of the barn needs a lot of tender care to make her feel young and beautiful again. She will receive a much needed makeover. She will open her doors eagerly to new spring animals.
This is all new to us, and we have worked hard. Limping around, we have enjoyed resting our body for a few, to get back up again.
Our view is beyond amazing. Tennessee hills. Leaves slowly changing, gently falling. Deer and turkey. Crisp mornings. Warm days. Acorns hitting the ground all around. The Lord has truly blessed us. He loves us, and that, we are truly thankful for.