Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Red Neck Snow Day

One of my goat buddies brought me these two orphan babies a few days ago. In fact, it was Christmas eve..eve. They were only a couple hours old when they got here and their arrival created quite a stir on the farm. It's amazing how two tiny little creatures can cause such a ruckus. We were running around, trying to find baby bottles, fetching colostrum from the freezer, cleaning out the dog kennel, and all while trying to get our evening feeding chores done before dark.

They are flourishing now. I was very happy that I had the foresight to save the colostrum that I did. We've already grown attached to them. That happens when you are up at 2 am heating up milk and wiping little butts. Now that they're on their feet pretty good, we've had to allow them some leg-stretching sessions. These would typically take place outside and we have had them outside a lot... that is, until today. 

This is what it looks like outside my backdoor right now. Yikes. So, our leg-stretching activity took place in the kitchen. You heard it. We are officially red necks. I actually like Si Robertson's definition of red neck..."Fun is his middle name. RED-FUN-NECK". So, the following are photos of our fun. Our joyful, red neck fun.

There really is no way to convey how tiny these guys are. But this picture helps a bit. 

That would be a baby goat trying to nurse on my teapot. 

See? So cute!! 

Emma is still not sure what to do with them. Are they puppies? Are the chew toys? 

They've created a lot of head tilting curiosity. And, I LOVE head tilting doggies. 

Just wanted to share what we've been doing this Christmas day. Watching it snow, playing with babies, baking goodies, and refusing to come out of our PJ's. 

Merry Christmas to all my sweet friends out there from our snowy farm. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

it happens at night...

Somewhere in the distance, I hear a faint whimper. My sleepy eyes flutter and mind comes to consciousness.

It is her. The one we call Emma.

I slowly sit up and look in the direction of the sound. Her stately bulldog frame silhouetted against the moonlit window is an intimidating site. She sits and waits.

She manipulates.

For a moment I consider lying back down but I know it will be in vain. What is it that she wants? Did she hear something outside that beckons her? Does she really need to go to the bathroom? Did I forget to fill the water bowl? Did her ball roll under the couch again?

She waits.

I half-heartedly fling the covers back and dangle my feet off the bed. In the darkness I know the old one is there. She, a heartbeat at my feet for 12 years now, is never really far away. And, at night, she keeps vigil on my side of the bed where I've tossed pillows to the floor. My bare feet feel her soft fur and I step carefully to one side of her resting place.

I stand to my feet and turn to where she stands.

The shadow by the window, that intensely sinister looking profile, lures me towards her.

She makes her move.

Through listless eyes and faint mind, I watch her approach. While body is still half sleeping, heart is awakened. For, as my outstretched hand reaches to greet her, that menacing shadow melts into a puddle of wiggles and delight that I've come to her aid. We share a moment of greeting and then make our way to the door.

I open the door and send her out into the moonlight.

Making my way back to the bed, I wonder how long it will be before I am entreated to rise again and allow her back into the house. The sleeping lumberjack in my bed never moves. I quietly admire his brawny bare shoulder in the soft light and doze back off.

The call from the window is clear. She learned when she was a puppy that her claws on the screen make the loudest noise in which to arouse us humans. Again, I carefully place my feet on the carpet as not to step on Sophie and make my way to the door.

Another joyous salutation takes place as if we'd not seen each other for weeks. She makes her way past me to her resting place on the couch and I head back to my bed and my burly sleeping farmer.

While Emma sleeps soundly after her outside adventure, I lay awake wondering if I paid the home owners policy.

Monday, April 2, 2012

As Lovely As a Tree

Only God knows how long this oak has resided in this spot. He knew the moment life sprang from a tiny acorn and roots began to grow. He remembers the very first spring when it pushed it's way through the rocky soil and into the sunlight and rain. From the moment it was a tiny sapling struggling to grow a dozen or so leaves, to the time it became mighty and shaded the ground beneath it. Every leaf that has ever grown green and lush and then fallen to the earth is counted and known. Each Autumn that it's fruit has fed squirrels and deer and birds from it's branches, the creator has record. Every bird that has nested in its great arms; God knows. 

For the past 12 years, I've gazed upon this tree daily. It occupies a prominent space in the field behind my house so my eyes are simply met by this creation every day, sometimes with reverence, sometimes with random monotony. I remember the day I took this picture. We were praying for rain during a very hot summer and storm clouds were building in the north creating an amazing spectacle of light and shade. I stood with my camera in hand, heart in my throat, trying to capture the moment...astonished at the light and the power of God and nature. 

2 summers ago, my family gathered beneath it's branches to bury and mourn our beloved family pet, Eddie. The summer breeze blew through it's boughs and sang a solemn tune as we wept. Reverently it watched on as we placed him in the earth, and stood by for the days that followed to keep watch over the place where he laid. I placed wind-chimes in one of it's limbs to bring joy and peace to this space. Over the years that I've watched it drop it's leaves and grow them back again, I've grown quite fond of it. Then I remember to thank God for allowing me the capacity to love a tree. 

We knew it was languishing a couple years ago. The poor trunk had become so old that it was beginning to decay near the earth. It would let go of a branch now and then when a storm blew through. Last years drought was more than it could bear and it decided to simply cease living. I was a little hopeful that it might come back this spring and try one more year, but it has remained bare. 

The scripture from Isaiah 55:12 rings through my soul often...
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 

So now I daily gaze upon the remnants of what was once living and grand and think of life and it's fleeting vapor. For as long as this mighty oak has lived, 100 years, 200 years?...it was still here today and gone tomorrow. I wonder how many changes it has seen. If it was here when the fields were orchards and strawberry fields? Has it seen the tilling of soil with ox and plow? Did another family, a century ago, gather beneath it to pray? Were songs sung here and picnics eaten? Was it planted by man or did a jay bird misplace an acorn? I'm anxious to cut it down and count it's rings to know the length of it's life on earth.

 It will be cut down and used for firewood, and even that won't be it's last gift. For firewood becomes ashes, and ashes feed the earth. What a brilliant plan of our Master and Creator. These are the lessons learned from God. 
Let me be as selfless as a tree. To be blessed by my Creator as I stand firm in my faith so much so that it feeds and shelters those who would seek refuge beneath it. 

I think that I shall never see;
a poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day
and lifts it's leafy arms to pray,

A tree that may in summer wear
a nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree
                                                Joyce Kilmer