We all know life can be challenging. But, we’re hopeful that most of the time, things go smoothly. And, to that end, we work to avoid disappointment and vexation. Maybe, if we modified our view of these challenges as a course correction, we wouldn’t be so upset when they occurred. Also, what if we stopped attaching to these experiences and interpreting them as positive or negative? They're happening, accept, and move through it. You know, stop judging the stuff. Of course, this is A LOT easier said than done. Some situations look really negative–even devastating. And, it's hard to be philosophical, especially when you feel like your life is a wreck. Which brings me to a quote by Elizabeth Gilbert that I absolutely love: “Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.” What if the hard times we’re facing are part of the journey to an authentic life? This is when our faith must be bigger than our fear. And, when we have to believe in our ability to navigate challenges with strength, competence, and grace. After all, it’s only when we’re knocked down that we truly learn how to rise. You may wonder where I’m going with all of this. I'll be the first to admit that I want to keep my life on course. I'm an all my ducks in a row kinda girl. I try to follow the rules, keep my word, and act decently, […]
*This post originally appeared in September 2014. I was celebrating ten years of living on Green Hill Farm (purchased in 1912 by my great-grandparents) and the restoration of my family’s homeplace. I thought remembering this milestone seemed like a good way to start the blog, Fourth Generation Farmgirl. Every May, I like to re-publish this post for new readers. It’s an introduction to this blog, but even more, it’s a nice reminder for me of the importance of continuity. May 2020 marks the 16-year anniversary of living in my ancestral home (circa 1790). For those of you who may have already read this post, I apologize for its repetition; however, if you choose to read it again, you have my thanks. : ) There’s a sign that hangs in our vestibule or small covered porch that reads “PERSEVERANCE,” and it’s been our mantra since moving to Green Hill Farm. My husband and I were in our early 30s when we decided to take on this project. Sometimes when we look back at pictures we say, “WHAT in the world were we thinking? Were we INSANE?!!” Whatever the answer, it was the path taken. This path has lead us on a journey that has been difficult and challenging at times but rewarding and enriching, too. Anyway, we all know that anything worthwhile isn’t easy. Which brings me to the next piece of our story. The first day we visited the house after construction […]
Ivy Green Hill Farm This is Ivy. She is a tiny sheep with a really loud BAAAH. I like to call her my littlest sheep with the biggest BAAAH. She’s almost 14-years-old and my only ewe now. The rest are wethers. This time last year, Ivy had been in the hospital pen for nearly a month. Something had happened with her back legs, and she couldn’t walk. The vet made recommendations, and I administered dewormer and anti-inflammatory shots as recommended. I’d go to the barn multiple times during the day to check on her. Her appetite was good, and she had a strong will and determination. But often, I’d find her fallen over and unable to get up without assistance. Over and over, I’d push or pick her up. Sometimes, I’d just hold her up and help her take a few steps. I’d feed her grain from my hands and give her water with a drench gun. And, everyday, she got a little stronger and less wobbly. All through the spring and summer, Ivy would spend time outside in a fenced section of the pasture where the sheep are sheared. This area is protected and away from the other sheep. A sun umbrella was attached to the fencing for makeshift shade and protection from rain. With each passing day, she got stronger and better able to stand and walk around the pen. She loved being outside and eating grass. During […]
Green Hill Farm at sunset with Dash “Forgiveness is all about taking care of you, not the person you need to forgive. It’s about putting your desire to feel good before your desire to be right. It’s about taking responsibility for your own happiness instead of pretending it’s in somebody else’s hands. It’s all about owning your power by giving all your anger, resentment, and hurt the heave-ho.” ~Jen Sincero Wishing you a wonderful week!
Say not the Struggle nought Availeth BY ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH Say not the struggle nought availeth, The labour and the wounds are vain, The enemy faints not, nor faileth, And as things have been they remain. If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars; It may be, in yon smoke concealed, Your comrades chase e’en now the fliers, And, but for you, possess the field. For while the tired waves, vainly breaking Seem here no painful inch to gain, Far back through creeks and inlets making, Comes silent, flooding in, the main. And not by eastern windows only, When daylight comes, comes in the light, In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly, But westward, look, the land is bright. “If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. You’ve nothing to worry about there.” ~James Herriot
Green Hill Farm November 2019 “Within sorrow is grace. When we come close to those things that break us down, we touch those things that also break us open. And in that breaking open, we uncover our true nature.” ~Wayne Muller I took these photos one misty day in November last year. It was late afternoon, and I wasn’t looking forward to walking my dogs, Bizou and Dash in the cold, damp, gloomy weather. But, to my surprise, when I reached the top of the hill and turned around, I saw the most striking view…sunlight, engulfed by heavy grayness, cascading warmly over the mountain. I stood there, marveling at the lovely glow, trying to figure out from which direction the sunlight was filtering through the clouds to produce this cheerful rainbow. It appeared to come from no where. Although the sun was not visible, there was still light, warmth, and beauty. And, this uplifting moment of grace, filled me with joy. “Grace” by Tonya Rieley Hengerer God’s way of Reminding us to embrace Acceptance and faith, thus Creating Empowerment to overcome obstacles. Wishing you a wonderful week full of grace!
Bizou & Dash “No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish–consciously or unconsciously–that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.” ~Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog Happy National Dog Day! ❤️
“Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh Vincent van Gogh painted Starry Night in 1889 during his stay at the asylum of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Van Gogh lived well in the hospital; he was allowed more freedoms than any of the other patients. If attended, he could leave the hospital grounds; he was allowed to paint, read, and withdraw into his own room. He was even given a studio. While he suffered from the occasional relapse into paranoia and fits – officially he had been diagnosed with epileptic fits – it seemed his mental health was recovering. Unfortunately, he relapsed. He began to suffer hallucination and have thoughts of suicide as he plunged into depression. Accordingly, there was a tonal shift in his work. He returned to incorporating the darker colors from the beginning of his career and Starry Night is a wonderful example of that shift. Blue dominates the painting, blending hills into the sky. The little village lays at the base in the painting in browns, greys, and blues. Even though each building is clearly outlined in black, the yellow and white of the stars and the moon stand out against the sky, drawing the eyes to the sky. They are the big attention grabber of the painting. Notice the brush strokes. For the sky they swirl, each dab of color rolling with the clouds around the stars and moon. On the cypress tree they bend with the curve […]
“Happiness is in the quiet, ordinary things. A table, a chair, a book with a paper-knife stuck between the pages. And the petal falling from the rose, and the light flickering as we sit silent.” ~Virginia Woolf Clementine Kitty enjoying a morning slumber. Wishing everyone a wonderful week!
*This is a post I wrote several years ago about my pet chicken, Honey. I’m sharing it today as a reminder of the many beautiful lessons I’ve experienced since having this little hobby farm. Having just fed the barn kitties, I headed toward the chicken coop to gather eggs. On the way, I stopped and looked up, closing my eyes. I stood for a moment, letting the warmth of the afternoon sun wash over me. When I opened my eyes, I saw an autumn sky that was clear blue with wisps of clouds like white gossamer. The burnt colors of foliage lining the sheep paddock caught my attention; too little rain late in the summer had muted the usual fiery, fall palette. It was still a lovely sight, and it was perfect weather for Honey Hen to be outside in the fresh air. But then, I remembered. Honey Hen, a pet chicken unable to walk well or lay eggs anymore, had become part of my day-to-day routine. Although she didn’t have perfect mobility, Honey was still a fairly healthy, hearty bird. She enjoyed being outdoors in her favorite spot near the corncrib that Great-grandaddy Rieley built as well as pecking at clover and fanning out her wings in the sunshine. Everyday I prepared a plate of fruit and vegetables for her–especially when she couldn’t go outside. On warm days, when Honey was able to go out, I constantly checked to […]