In the Garden

  As she sat looking out the window, her gaze settled on the sunflowers blooming in the garden below her room.  She watched as a light wind caused them to sway back and forth in the afternoon sunshine. Becoming entranced with the movement of the flowers, her mind drifted, but only for a moment.  When she looked up, she saw a figure in the distance walking up the path towards the house.  It was Graham. They had only known one another for a short while, but her heart jumped at the sight of him.  He was well-mannered, possessing a gentle nature that had impressed her from the beginning of their acquaintance. And, he had the most delightful smile. She always looked forward to their walks together.  They often took the same walk:  up the hill, past the folly, and through the meadows of blooming wild flowers.  As they walked along, chatting, he smiled affectionately at her, and she couldn’t remember feeling happier.  Being in his company felt so natural. Walking past the tulip populars, they finally arrived at the boxwood-enclosed rose garden.  Boxwoods, only about two feet high, formed a perimeter around a spacious area filled with pink and red roses as well as French lavender. Upon entering the garden, she felt a faint, heady sensation.  A feeling she wasn’t sure she should attribute to the fragrance of the flowers, or to the fact that she was falling in love. […]

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A Summer Fling

I’d like to start with the fact that I don’t normally get emotionally involved or gush over dessert.  Yes.  I enjoy decadent treats in moderation: a piece of Victoria sponge or chocolate cake on occasion.  I don’t, however, just lose my mind over sweet things…….until last week. It started out innocently enough.  My dad is a fine gardener and always has a bounty of vegetables to share with friends and family.  Every summer, he sends my in-laws squash, cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, etc. from his garden; and, in an act of reciprocity, my mother-in-law bakes bread or makes a special treat for my parents.  About a week ago, after receiving an installment of vegetables from Dad, my mother-in-law sent my parents fresh berries with a homemade “cream” topping.  Bless her heart, she even sent some for us. Of course, Farmguy and I had no inkling this wasn’t any normal berry and cream combination.  After dinner, we dished out some berries and dollaped the “cream” on top and proceeded to enjoy our desserts.  After one bite, I exclaimed, “Oh my gosh–This. Is. SO. Good!!  It’s not like any cream I’ve ever had! We’ve got to get the recipe from your mother!”  The next day, I called Farmguy’s mom to thank her for this unexpected treat and to get the recipe.  I went on and on about how much we enjoyed it, and how it was the best thing EVER.  The memory is blurry now, […]

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Honey Hen: Little Chicken, Big Impression

*This is a post I wrote several years ago about our pet chicken, Honey. I’m sharing it today as a reminder of the many beautiful lessons I’ve experienced since having our 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 […]

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Portrait of a Cat Named Winston

Of course, he wasn’t always called Winston.  When this black and white feral kitten first appeared on Green Hill Farm in the early 1990s, he was just another no-name, country kitty looking for food and shelter.  You see, in the country, we don’t buy or go get a cat; it just shows up.  First, it takes up residence in one of the barns or sheds—a safe place with an occasional mouse treat. Next, you may catch a glimpse of it under a bush or behind some flowers.  As it gets more comfortable, it begins sunning itself on the front porch and leaving dead rabbits at your door.  Before you know it, the cat has had its mail forwarded to your address and now considers itself a full member of the family.  At least, that seems to be the story with this congenial cat Grandma and Grandaddy Rieley took a liking to and adopted many years ago.  Besides supplementing kitty’s diet of mice and rabbits with cat food, my grandparents also allowed him in the house at night to watch television with them.  As I mentioned, my grandparents became very fond of kitty, and Grandaddy began referring to him as—wait for it, “Nyning-Nyning.”  I’m not even sure I’m spelling it correctly as it was more of a noise than a name.  Anyway, Nyning-Nyning was well-loved and became a permanent fixture on Green Hill Farm.  He enjoyed hunting, despite receiving two or […]

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A Different Kind of Gratitude

Green Hill Farm   Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. ~Romans 12:2   It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well, and we’re surrounded by positive experiences or an abundance of blessings. However, it becomes a bit more challenging when life throws obstacles and negative events in our paths—challenges that emotionally stretch us and push all our buttons. Although feeling grateful in these moments is hard, it is also an opportunity for us to grow…instead of feeling wounded or victimized. Certainly, feelings of gratefulness for the things that comfort us is more natural. But, if we can also embrace the difficult times in our lives—the ones that grow our souls, we will be free from suffering. Getting to a place where we’re grateful—For. It. All…..allows us to see adversity as an opportunity. An opportunity for soul growth…and, ultimately, a chance to free ourselves. Once we’re able to move past life’s challenges, we’re able to see how these experiences grew us. We begin to move beyond our victimhood and glean the gifts of such traumas. We can understand how they helped strengthen us; how we learned forgiveness, self-reliance, and compassion; how we came to appreciate the preciousness of life, or how we fought for life even when part of us wanted to give up. We can also see how we learned what was really important to us, to stand up for ourselves, and to trust our […]

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Tuesday Tunes: Some Things Are Meant to Be

Farmgirl and Lambs Summer 2018   “Where you are is who you are. The further inside you the place moves, the more your identity is intertwined with it. Never casual, the choice of place is the choice of something you crave.” ~Frances Mayes “Any arbitrary turning along the way and I would be elsewhere; I would be different.” ~Frances Mayes       Green Hill Farm Through the Years     “The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools.” –Henry Beston   Green Hill Farm Fall 2014   Happy Tuesday!

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Rosebud’s Lesson

 Butterbean, Sweet Pea, and Truffle stoically watching their fallen friend.   I squatted uncomfortably in the pasture. My left shin gently pressing on Rosebud’s back with the remainder of weight shifted to my right leg. My left hand disappeared into the coarse wool on her chest, above her heart. As I carefully caressed Rosebud’s face, the feathery sensation of her […]

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