Monday, March 23, 2015

Country Bliss



Today was an idyllic day out on the farm.

It had the potential to be a heart-breaker when we first arrived home after a full day of enrichment classes in town.

I drove around our oval driveway to my spot in front of the house and did a double take when I realized that I was looking at goats feasting on weedy goodness in front of me.

Meaning...they weren't nestled safely away in their enclosure. Meaning, who knows when they got out, how they got out and how long they had been wandering.



While I was thankful that they were still alive and not goat roadkill (we have no fence around our property...yet), my first thought after was for our poor surviving seven chickens.

As I posted on Saturday, we are down by three after discovering that our youngest dog (a stray we brought back from a death by Parvo and adopted) was indeed getting into the enclosure and killing our chickens.

While we did our best to secure the area around the enclosure to keep him from being able to dig underneath the fence, it is still no help for gates left open.

Which is what I found when I did a perimeter check. Everyone swears they "didn't do it," and it's possible that it didn't get latched properly. But either way, the goats busted their way out of it and left it unlatched and fair game to young Brody.

I nervously started counting chickens and looking for feathers and carnage. Finding no piles of feathers or carcasses, I was relieved to count up seven chickens. Maybe a young dog can learn new tricks. I certainly hope so.

High off of all animals alive and counted for, I decided to re-park our newest piece of farm equipment.

A Chevy Silverado.



We are buying it from hubby's mom after she got a newer version. Having lived out in the country for eight months now, we are seeing the benefit of such a vehicle.

True...it is a bit embarrassing to pick up alfalfa bales in the back of the mini van and haul around livestock too. Yes, it is a bit annoying to try to borrow family member's trucks and trailers to haul out branches and debris and new-to-us refrigerators. But it didn't seem mission-critical.

And it probably isn't, but I cannot deny the little thrill I got from firing up that big ol' truck and ambling down our country road street to give the children a bit of an adventure as they laughed in the back bed. (No it wasn't legal. Yes, I didn't go too fast in case they fell out.)

The dogs ran alongside and I flashed back to happy days of my youth spent riding in the back of a truck on friend's farm.

Thus answering the question my dad asked me months ago as he toured our farmhouse, "how in the world did you become such a farm girl?"

Well, the short answer is that he (and my mom) did it by raising us in some pretty rural places in our formative years.

That flashback is firmly planted in my joy-memory and I believe it's one of the driving forces that have led us to where we are now.

Thriving and growing and laughing and hauling stuff on a farm of our own.

Whether or not my children flash back to this day some day in their future may not be guaranteed but is entirely possible.

However, as I currently work on making dinner while they are outside jumping into the pool during a school week and only days into Spring, I have a hard time believing they won't.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

On Being Full-Strength



Coffee is one of my best friends.

Being a homeschool mom of 4 and trying to keep up with them, their schoolwork and our new farmhouse keeps me on my toes.

And it keeps me coming back to the coffee pot.

Every morning, making some coffee is usually one of my first waking thoughts.

I must have been especially tired the other day.

I staggered into the kitchen and filled the carafe with water and cleaned up the sink area while it brewed. I added some cream and caramel-flavored syrup to my favorite yellow cup. I poured in some delicious brown elixir distractedly and then sipped.

Something was wrong.

It didn't taste right.

It tasted like milky caramelly water.

And then I realized I forgot one crucial and important step.

I forgot to change out the coffee grounds and I had brewed a "fresh pot" with yesterday's filter and grounds.

It was not what I had eagerly anticipated. It was a disappointment, frankly.

I poured the watery stuff down the sink and then started over -- this time with fresh grounds and filter. And then I waited....again.

And as I waited, I thought about how watered down things are such a waste in so many ways. They can often look just about right. They might even smell mostly the same.

But watered down things are too often a shadow of the original and also a huge letdown.

As I stood there anticipating a sip of the real, full-strength version, it was a good reminder for me to be true and authentic to who God has made me to be and not give into the temptation at times to water things down.

Because the problem with watering things down is that no one enjoys it. Not the originator and not the recipient.

And I'm not talking about being belligerent or forceful or hateful. I'm talking about just being true to my nature and the convictions that go along with it -- being exactly the strength and flavor that God designed me to be.

Both full-strength and stimulating...just like my morning coffee.