Grace

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!

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A Good Dog

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! ❤️

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Tuesday Tunes: Starry, Starry Night

“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 […]

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Honey Hen: Little Chicken, Big Impression

*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 […]

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Up All Night

Green Hill Farm   “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” ~Brené Brown   “But there is a special kind of gift that came with embracing the chaos, even if I cursed most of the way. I’m convinced that, when everything is wiped blank, it’s life’s way of forcing you to become acquainted with and aware of who […]

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A Morning Walk

“Walking Dash” Green Hill Farm June 2020   “To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring — these are some of the rewards […]

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Green Hill Farm: A Retrospective #3 — Faith

  *This post originally appeared in September 2014.  It is the last post in a trilogy titled, Green Hill Farm: A Retrospective.  I posted the second part of this journey yesterday as I am celebrating the completion of the restoration of my home and sixteen years of living on Green Hill Farm this month.  A kind thank you to everyone who took the time to read or re-read Retrospective #2.   In looking back on the experience of saving my family’s homeplace, I’ve realized that not only was it a gesture of love, but more importantly, it was an act of faith. Faith, or wearing my rose-colored glasses as I like to say, sustained us through difficult times and propelled us forward. I don’t know where we would have been without it. At the beginning of this journey, shortly after my parents offered us the homeplace, my mom and I took a walk through the house. I remember walking through the dark, dimly lit downstairs hallway, the musty smell of rooms left undisturbed for too long, and cobwebs carefully covering yesterday’s treasures. I remember slowly climbing the stairs, counting each one as I went up. It made me think of Granddaddy. He once shared a story of the time his Grandmother Rieley visited when he was just a boy; She asked, “John, how many steps are there?” He quickly replied, “Sixteen!” He told me that he knew the answer because […]

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Green Hill Farm: A Retrospective #2 — Perseverance

  *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 […]

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