Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…. June 1, 2018

Hello, friends!  We are doing something a bit different this week–I am sharing this week’s recap with you mostly in pictures.  There were some sweet moments captured in photo and video.  Also, I try to keep these posts to 1000 words or less, and I used up 700 of them telling you what I am thinking about this week!

John is passionate about protecting our second amendment rights, and one of his favorite activities is shooting.  I enjoy shooting, too. When we moved here, one of the first projects was constructing a range, so we can walk out the front door and shoot!

The jacket is both for the cool evening temps and to keep mosquitoes off!


Spotting for John while he sites in his rifle.

Earlier in the day, we  let the goats browse at the range to help us with some weeding.  Ruthie was fascinated with the hoe!


Then this happened:

This is why I try to always keep my phone with me! What a sweet moment.


Nubians are known for their long, floppy ears and their convex “Roman” noses.

This hen can’t decide if she wants to drink water or talk about it!

We are letting the grass grow tall in the pastures this year.  The chickens love it because it provides good cover for them, and there are plenty of bugs and grubs to be had.

Our favorite hen, Lil’ Brownie.


Google made this cute GIF for us!


Our personal stash of eggs for this week! Lil’ Brownie laid the pale blue one in the front left.

I traded eggs with Zenna for a bag of Job’s tears, and with Dawn for chocolate mint.  Job’s tears looks like and cooks like a bean, but it’s actually a grain, similar to millet.  The mint looks a bit peaked; I hope the transplant shock wears off.

My goodies from trading eggs this week!

There is a small area behind our house that the previous owner landscaped attractively.  There’s a shady area for a hammock, a small pond with a waterfall, and a stone pad for a grill.  This pretty area is right off our back porch where I sit every morning, so I began cleaning it up this week.

The pond and waterfall. Belle loves to be in the middle of whatever I am doing!


You can see the before and after difference on the waterfall cleanup project!

Last summer the intense heat killed off a specimen shrub near the waterfall, so Friday when Jaren (our helper from church) was here, he dug up the dead plant and we installed a new one.

Funny story about this new specimen tree:  John gave me some money and suggested that I buy a new dress.  Not that he thinks I need one, he just knows I like clothes.  I came home with this, instead:

We were in town Thursday and had a few free minutes, so we stopped by Plantland, and we saw this tree. It is “Pinus Strobus Vanderwolf.” It looks to me like something from Dr. Suess and I had to have it!  So Friday I made a special trip to town just to bring it home.  My friend Amber has dubbed her “Ms. Vanderwolf.”

I will write more about this next week, but I started planting our garden!  Here’s one of the elevated beds, prepped and ready for planting.  The grid in the middle is a support for sugar snap peas.

What I am thinking about, reading, listening to:

A few weeks ago, I shared an article about how self care sometimes means doing the hard, not-fun things in the short term, in order to have a better life in the long term. Tuesday I had lunch with Zenna, and she presented another aspect of self care: saying “no” to short term to activities that give you life, in order to allow another life affirming endeavor to flourish.

For her, this year it means saying “no” to gardening, which feeds both her body and her spirit.  Why? In order to give more time to her current “one big thing,” which is giving wings to her graphic design business.  Two months ago, she said “goodby” to a full time job in order to work for herself.  May and June are busy months in the graphic design world, plus she had opportunities to establish herself with several new clients, which she needs to do in order to sustain her business in the slower months. So, just for this year, she is saying “no” to her passion for gardening.

Then, on the way home, I was listening to the latest podcast from “Women’s Work,” where Tsh Oxenrider interviews “creative women (who are) doing interesting work.” This week she is interviewing Amber Rea, author, speaker, and artist. She recently published her first book, “Choose Wonder Over Worry.”  Tsh and Amber talk about the same concept of saying “no” to some good things in order to say “yes” to others!

Amber shares a story about hearing Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Big Magic” speak.  Liz shared a story about being an aspiring writer in her twenties, talking with an older, wiser, creative woman she admired. Her mentor challenged her, stating that she was making excuses not to live the life she was “pretending to want.”

After some thought, Liz came back to her and said, “I understand.  I need to say ‘no’ to the things I don’t really want to do.” Her mentor replied, “No, Liz, you don’t get it. Sometimes you have to say ‘no’ to things you want to do.” (Paraphrasing and italics mine.)

When a message comes to me twice in a week, much less twice in one day, I pay attention and devote some time to self examination. Pair this message with the words I jotted down over the weekend for this week’s recap:

Until we moved out here, I did not realize that it is possible to love living in one place and yet miss another place till it hurts your heart.

I miss my proximity to family.  A lot.  One of my nieces just posted on Instagram that she and her hubby are in Gainesville, GA, visiting some of his family.  If we still lived in Atlanta, they’d be visiting us, too.

I miss being able to hop in the car and visit my family in Tennessee.  Now, one of my brothers and his wife live in Tampa, and if we were still in Atlanta, I could drive to see them, too.  I miss being an hour and a half flight from another brother and his family in Maryland.

And I miss my Atlanta friends, and the semi-annual get-togethers with my Tennessee girlfriends from childhood.

I know it was time for us to leave Atlanta; we were both so “done” with city life. And there’s plenty that I am very thankful for out here- new friends, low humidity, sunny summers and cold snowy winters, living in one of the most beautiful places in the world, to name a few.

When we moved out here, I had no idea how much I was saying “no” to, in order to say “yes” to something else. That one sentence is fodder for a blog post of its own, maybe even a book.  We really cannot have it all.  It is impossible.  We must say “no” to some good things in order to say “yes” to other good (dare I say “great”?) things.

What are you willing to say “no” to in order to say “YES!” to something big?

“Miracles Happen” I firmly believe this!


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