Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Rearranging Equals Chaos

Last weekend, Cowboy and I (umm mostly I) had the bright idea to rearrange the bedroom furniture.  Since the arrival of Max, the golden retriever who also insists on snuggling in bed, we’ve been toying with the idea of a king size bed.  It’s getting seriously crowded.  And let’s just avoid the whole  why-don’t-you-just-make-them-get-down discussion.  If you’ve followed us for any amount of time, you know that is just not how we roll around here.

So off we went scooting, shifting, and shoving to see if we could find an arrangement that would work, and that we would like just as much.  Truth is, Cowboy is quite the genius when it comes to space arranging (what can’t that man do). And after some newly discovered dust bunnies and the removal of an excess piece or two, we found just the new setup that worked.

I was delighted!  I wandered in and out of the room all day admiring our work. It really was a smart design.  In fact so smart, I was thinking, “Wow, maybe we should have had it this way all along.”  And then it was was bedtime.

Holy cats (and dogs)! You would have thought we moved into a whole new house, bought new furniture, and introduced a gaggle of new smells.  In came our canine and feline friends and they all lost their collective mind.  Our critters have a routine, and they know exactly where they fit and go at night.  It’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle.  Every piece has its place.    Not tonight. Nope, not happening.

All of a sudden, instead of the normal two to three dogs in bed, we had four.  Given that three of them weigh over 60 lbs., Cowboy and I were left scratching our heads trying to figure out where in the world we would fit.  We tried rearranging them, but they just kept panicking.  Climbing on top of pillows, scrambling over blankets, and just generally acting a fool.  Children!

My Farmtastic Life - All the Dogs In Bed
Seriously – where is there room for humans? Of course Goober’s current collar situation does not help, not one little bit. But those faces? Oh those faces!

Cowboy and I stood there laughing at them, and taking bets (err… ummm, volunteering) as to who would go sleep in the guest room.  After 30 minutes to an hour of settling, reorganizing, and settling again, the pooches finally settled down.  And then the cats decided to make it a party.  Wedging themselves into free space, and by free space I mean vertical free space, perching on top of us.

Cowboy and I were both a wee bit pooped the next day.  And I seriously wondered if were were going to have to put the furniture back just to get some sleep.  Luckily, night two went better, and by nights four and five we regained our collective brain and settled back down into a routine.

Now I know animals love routine.  I’ve written about it before with the horses.  But good gravy what an unnecessary adventure.  I’m happy to report we have all settled down and the king size bed will indeed fit. Lord help us when that thing finally arrives, as I’m guessing it will be one more night of chaos.  Just one. I hope.

 

Critter Stories · Farm Life · Farmtastic Stories

10 Critters, the Bible, and a Bra

Cowboy and I live at the edge of tornado alley, and after a particularly close call in 2014, decided a storm shelter would be a good idea.  Of course, we pray that we will never actually need it, but it’s a comfort to have that steel box bolted deep into the foundation.  (Yes, we have an above ground job – I’m not looking to crawl into one those tomb like things people put in their garage floors.  No thank you!)

Which leads me to one of the first nights of the new year.  We’ve been waffling between hot and cold weather, as if mother nature is in the middle of a hot flash, a hottie, her own personal summer, or whatever granny calls it.  This also means severe weather is always a possibility.

We’d been watching the weather that day, which had been glorious, but knew storms were coming in from the west.  As the evening progressed, warnings started coming about potential straight line winds – up to 70 miles per hour.  We did our usual battening down of the hatches, which these days means making sure the pool side lounge chairs don’t become kites, and horse gates are latched open so the equines can move around at will.  (Goodness knows I’d love to have a storm shelter big enough for our horses, but honestly I’m not sure I’d want to be locked in there with them as a storm blew over.  That might be a storm all on its own.)

Well, at 3 a.m., the time of all good storms, I woke up with my heart pounding as I heard a giant bang. Thunder! The wind chimes were blowing furiously, and I looked out the window just in time to see of one of our rocking chairs go flying off the porch. (Dang it, we clearly needed to do more battening.)  I heard the sounds of small hail starting to pelt our metal roof.  Hemming and hawing for all of about two minutes,  I decided it was time to put ourselves in the shelter.  (You do remember, we have 4 dogs and 6 cats, and you can bet your bottom dollar, if we’re going in the shelter they are, too!)

Let me paint you a picture.  It’s  3 a.m., I’m clad in pink heart pajamas, and we are about to start an indoor rodeo roundup.  First up – cats! I bound up the stairs to grab Nightmare, where I know his favorite hiding spot is.  Into the first cat kennel.  Door locked. Next! Moving on to the big boy, Rhinoceros.  Oh man, I haven’t had him in a kennel for a little while; that took some shoving.  (Note to self, he might need to graduate to the big boy kennel.) Then it was time for Shadow and her crew of boys.  As Cowboy says, thank goodness God gave cats tails for handles.  One, two, three, four – all shoved into one giant kennel. Now they normally lay together all day, but like most children, force them to play nice and there is hissing, swatting, and growling.

Finally, it’s time to add the pooches.  On Dixie, on Goober, on Maybelle, and Max –  yes it feels like you are calling Santa’s reindeer there are so flipping many of them.  Herding them all into the shelter with the promise of treats, the last one entered just in time for us to shut the door and lock our little family in place. (Oh gosh, this is also when I remember that Nightmare likes to hide presents in the storm shelter. Please Lord, let there be not one little half eaten mouse in here with us.)

My Farmtastic Life - Dogs and cats in storm shelter
All tucked into the storm shelter – there were 3 cat kennels stacked on top of each other – effectively creating a tower of cat. We were standing up against the wall – wouldn’t want to crowd the critters. (And yes, Goober is in there, too. See the tip of his tail on the bottom right.)

And then you hear it. The panting, the whining, the banging of tails, as you realize you are in a 12-by-4-foot  steel box with 10 critters!  Are we sure this was really a great idea? Dogs are sniffing cats, cats are doing that dreadful cry they do when you drive them to the vet, and everyone is just confused.  Of course Max, the golden retriever, just lays down and takes a nap in the middle of it all, because seriously, in case you missed, it is 3 a.m.

But then I looked around at all of those noses, paws, and ears, and I was grateful.  We were all safe in our box.  And I was praying the horses would use all of their God-given instincts to stay safe.

Adjusting to the dim light, I smiled at what else I saw.  Before bed, I had the presence of mind to put our Bible in the shelter, because nothing comforts better than that. Oh, but I did mention a bra in the title, right?  Why, pray tell, am I talking about unmentionables?

All of us good southerners know that we are dreadfully misrepresented on the news when there is a natural disaster.  For whatever reason, the news can spot a shirtless, toothless, shoeless fella a mile away.  Well, this southern farmgirl was not going to have it. If, heaven forbid, we lost it all, I was at least going to emerge from the shelter dressed in something other than jammies.  So yes, before we went to bed, when forecasters were warning of storms, and winds, and danger, I was busy tossing the necessities into the shelter, which any lady will tell you, definitely includes a bra.  Which also guarantees, we would not be on the news.  Amen-glory-hallelujah for that!

After 10 minutes of howling winds, the edge of the front moved on and we were left with simple rain and no real damage. Thank you, Lord!  But I realized something in that box.  When it comes right down to grabbing the things you absolutely must have in this life, the list is preciously small.  (And yes, there is always room for a bra.)

 

Adventures Away From the Farm · Farmtastic Stories

A Tourist In My Own Town

I’ve had a love affair with adorable town squares for as long as I can remember.  Cowboy has often said the unicorn I am hunting in life is a grand old farmhouse on a hundred acres in the middle of a town square.  (Yes, most definitely a unicorn!)

Glen Rose dinosaur bench
Sit a spell in Glen Rose.

But I have to say that where we live now, just outside our quaint little town at the tippy top of the Texas hill country, is just about perfect. We’re just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Glen Rose town square – filled with delightful shops, good eats, and quirky findings that make it special.

Track in Time Too
Tracks in Time Too is one of my favorites – filled with industrial, farmhouse, and just plain fun finds.

Whenever Cowboy and I have guests, we often take them into town and show them all that is Glen Rose. Heck, we used to be those tourists dreaming of finding our own spot. So on this gloriously sunny, albeit slightly windy day, with a little time off, I decided to be a tourist in my own town. Just me, myself, and I.

I drove on down to the square, promptly parked the Jeep, and hopped out with a spring in my step.  No time clock. No agenda.  Just me and the town I’ve come to love.  I wandered from shop to shop – trying on clothes, laughing at funny signs, looking through stacks of old books and farmhouse antiques.

Paisley Reese
New to the square – cowgirl chic Paisley Reese was filled with unique and fun clothes.

The shop keepers were all gracious as they asked if I needed help, shared their post Christmas sales, and wished me Happy New Year.  There were quaint little parks and tucked in between buildings and historic old structures still decked out with holiday flair. And when you really looked, you could see that our little treasured square holds genealogy secrets, dinosaur footprints at the museum (yes, we are the dinosaur capital of Texas), and art galleries.  How perfectly farmtastic! There is just something about a square that makes this farmgirl’s heart sing.

River House Grill
One of my favorite good eats – The River House Grill. The Harvest Flatbread is DIVINE!

Sometimes it’s easy to miss what’s right in front of us with all the glory of the Internet and ease of Amazon.  (Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first to admit that Amazon Prime can change a farmgirl’s life. You can even order a muck rake online; trust me, I’ve done it).  But today was not about the pure task of shopping, it was about the act of experiencing where I live.  Talking to people, supporting the town, and basking in gratefulness.  Because I am exactly where I am meant to be.

As you get ready to jump into 2017, I encourage you to take a look around at where you are and become a tourist in your own town.  Maybe you live in a big city and have amazing museums or restaurants.  Maybe you live in the suburbs with walking and biking trails that just spur the imagination.  Wherever you are, find the beauty.

And if you ever find yourself in Glen Rose, stop by the square and do a little strolling.  It’s good for the soul.

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Tug Of Donkey

We love our donkey girls here at the farm. They have big personalities, make crazy braying noises when it’s time to eat, and they are great at keeping an eye on things. (Our city friends like to call them guard donkeys.)

And while they are oodles of fun 99 percent of the time, sometimes they are … well, um … donkeys!  Sweetie pie is about 7 years old, and from time to time gets a little limpy, which means we need to bring her up into a stall and let her get some rest and TLC.  (Cowboy is convinced that Sweetie Pie plays up the limping when she wants a little extra attention. Honestly, I wouldn’t put it past her; she’s one smart chica.)

Well we’ve had some rain, which means we have mud, which is when she usually gets a little sensitive. So out in the mud we tromped to get her a little R&R, farm style.  While with our horses you can whip on a halter and have the job done in two seconds flat, with the donkeys, not so much.

Now don’t get me wrong, Miss Pie is better than her dear sweet Mama Rose (that’s a whole other kind of rodeo), but she is still a donkey.  It’s a lovely rhythm of 2 steps, tug, release, 2 steps, tug, no thank you.  So we work our way up from the pasture to the stalls doing our delicate dance while all the other equines watch on in amusement.  (Yes, I do think they are laughing at us humans sometimes.)

Farm Photo - Sweetie Pie the Donkey
Sweetie Pie being a smidge stubborn. She is a donkey, after all.

And then the final show down – the big bad scary stall gate.  Now little miss knows good and well the gate is not a bad thing, but it’s her last stand.  So she has to make a show of things.  Who can blame a girl for trying. (Notice the taught rope in the photo and those ears and eyes.  She is saying, “No ma’am, no ma’am, mo ma’am.”)

Ultimately, she trots into the stall for some extra special care, at which point I do a little jig of victory.  She gets a good rub down, some fresh hay, and while I think I have won the grear tug of donkey event, I think our girl knows she is the real winner, but she is at least gracious enough to let me bask for just a moment.  Even donkeys have manners on the farm.

 

Farm Life · Farmtastic Stories

When You Wish Upon a Frog

Farm Photo - Digging of the pool
I just had to climb in at my first chance.

I’ve wanted a swimming pool since I was a little girl. Growing up, it was always my favorite summer activity.  I remember fondly the summer my mom took me to a huge pool club and I would spend hours upon hours dreaming in the pool.  My raft became a dolphin and I an amazing dolphin trainer.  Or sometimes I’d press my feet together and try to swim like a mermaid.  I felt graceful in the pool – something I rarely feel on dry land.

So last fall when I confided my dream to Cowboy of getting a pool, he found a way to make it happen. (Yes, I just love that man.)  I watched from the front porch for 12 weeks while machines and craftsmen dug, rocked, and tiled the pool.  Finally finished, I donned my bathing suit and watched eagerly as it began to fill with water (just a measly 27 hours).

And then the splashing began.  We had my niece down from the big city (Chicago) to splish and splash.  We bought pool toys, floated, and for the first time in my life, someone even told me I looked tan this summer.  That’s because every chance I got, I was by the pool – swimming, reading, and enjoying the view of the horses.  Blessed, simply blessed.

And then the ecosystem started.  First, we had one or two frogs. Kind of cute.  They were especially fond of the rock fountains.  Then there were a dozen.  Each night as Cowboy and I went to take a dip, we’d count frogs.  I’m not sure when it happened, but all of a sudden we were up to over 40 frogs, then 50, then 60.  Until one day, we counted nearly 100 frogs!

I googled to see how to make them move on, but no luck. Any solution would hurt or kill them, so not an option.  And ultimately, it turns out they are great bug control.  Let me be clear, we have no pond or other nearby water source, so how these crazy Kermits found us, I’m not quite sure.  (Other than, obviously the animal kingdom has a network equivalent to Facebook, and I think we must be posted, shared, liked, and loved all over it.)

Back to our ecosystem … so one lovely evening during a warm swim, I was doing my nightly frog count, and a little face poked out of the rocks at me that I had not seen before.  It took my brain a moment to register this creature, which was a mere 10 inches or so from my face.

My first thought was, “Oh, how cute.  Wait, it doesn’t look like a frog.  It has a tongue sticking out at me.”  My second thought was “S-N-A-K-E!”  Quickly followed by a panicked, “Out of the pool. Out of the pool. Out of the pool!”

Holy hades where did he come from?  Well, you guessed it, we were serving up a lovely buffet of a snake’s favorite dish – Kermit a la poolside.  He was more scared of me that I was of him, although I’m not sure that is entirely possible or true.  And over the next week we had two of his associates show up as well.  Fun science fact I somehow missed in biology, ALL snakes swim. (Once again, thank you Google.  And yes, you heard me.  A-L-L.)

Well Cowboy and my dad came to the rescue, and the snakes met their fate.  Sorry fellas, swimming with snakes is not on my list of things to do.  The Kermits are croaking and singing nightly, and we have purchased a snake grabber on Amazon. (Who knew … Amazon really does have everything.)

So yes, I’ve got my dream pool and we are loving every minute.  But let me say, I am thanking my lucky stars for beautiful clear water that you can see what you are getting into, literally.  Last night, as Cowboy and I stood on the porch, we listened as a giant hoot howl sounded very close.  We hadn’t heard that before.  So with my handy dandy phone I looked up their food source – furry creatures and (yep, you guessed it) frogs.  Ribbit!

Farm Critter Pic - Frogs in the Pool
A sampling of our friendly frogs.

P.S. – I never liked swimming in lakes, but with my new all-snakes-swim revelation, I’m sticking to clear water from now on. No exceptions.

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

It’s All About the Ears

Goober is admittedly my baby.  He follows me from room to room, sleeps on my side of the bed, crowds my feet when I’m in the kitchen, and is just generally my best pal.  At the farm for four years now (read his story here), he’s a fixture, on the sofa that is. While he is a hound dog, he is most definitely a couch potato.  But no matter, I love my Goobs.

However, Goober has one super silly trait that always makes us smile around here.  We affectionately call it his “Gooby Ears.”  When I come back from a trip to town, even if I’m only gone 30 minutes or so, I am greeted by bouncing and flouncing and most definitely Gooby Ears.

So what are Gooby Ears?  Well, evidently long ago hound dogs were related to elephants.  Like an excited elephant, Goober distinctly holds his ears out to the side.  The happier he is, the more they flap.  I’m just waiting for him to howl like a trumpeting pachyderm.

So here you go.  Goober with normal ears …

And this is my happy Goobs.  Now those are some serious Gooby ears.  That is one happy pooch!

My Farmtastic Life - It's All About the Ears
That is my happy Goobs. I just adore that face (and of course those ears)!

What crazy habits do your pups show off to greet you when you walk in the door?

Farm Life · Farmtastic Stories

Just Say No to Snakes

We love 99.9% of things about country living.  In fact, neither Cowboy nor I  want to trade in the work, peace, or beauty of the country to go back to the ‘burbs.  However, if there is one thing that can make me shriek and consider condo living, it is the S word.  That’s right, S-N-A-K-E. Those squirmy, sneaky, legless slitherers are NOT my friends.

We’ve been pretty blessed at the farm.  We’ve found just two snakes in five years, and one we only found after we ran over it with the tractor.  Bonus! But with this year’s spring rains they seem to have discovered the farm, and we found three on the porch in 36 hours.  Let me correct that, I found three.

Snake number one slithered onto the porch just as I was about to let the pups out.  Unfortunately, Cowboy wasn’t home at the time and couldn’t get here immediately. (Of course!) Panic mode fully in place, because I was not going to go toe-to-toe or rather toe-to-slither with a snake, I picked up the phone and called my dad.   Dads fix everything, right?

My good natured dad  listened, as I screeched, “Dad, there is a snake on the porch.  Come now.  Right now.”

In his slow drawl, he said, “Awe, you’ve got a snake, huh?”

My anxiety building, I squeaked, “Stop. Talking. Just. Come. Right.  Now.”

We hung up and I stayed glued to the window making sure I knew exactly where that snake was.  I couldn’t risk a get-away, or I may never step foot on the porch again.  Five minutes later, my mom  called me back.

“Your dad is on the way. He’s got his BB gun and shovel.  You cracked him up. He’s grinning from ear to ear,” she said. “He should be there in a few minutes.”

Not so happy to be comic relief, I breathed a sigh of relief as the calvary was on its way. I grabbed my pink rubber boots and stood at the ready.  What an utter goofball I looked like.  You’d think I was going to do battle with the garden rather than snakes.  Whatever works, right? And then I saw Dad round the driveway, that lovely Dodge truck was a white horse.

My Farmtastic Life - Just Say No to Snakes
Dad saved the day, and by day I mean my sanity. Sorry Mr. Snake. You are not welcome on the porch!

Dad saved the day, and was an excellent shot.  Dad did feel bad, as he said it was a “good” snake, i.e. not poisonous.  However, while my brain knows this, my nervous system does not.  In fact, that night I dreamed about being chased by snakes.  Let’s just say, I’m not a fan.

Snake number two and three came when Cowboy was around.  (Lucky, Cowboy!) Snake number two still came with an assist from Dad, as he was stuck up in the porch roof rafters, and unfortunately ate a nest of baby black birds.  Sad about the birds, and this also came with a new realization that I had to look not only down but up for snakes.  Holy cats, are you kidding me?

Snake number three showed up on our side porch wrapping itself around a door handle.  For the love of pete I hope this stops.  By snake number three, Cowboy has this routine down, sadly. Routine starts with a call of, “Cowboy! Snake! Now!” To which I hear him laughing and boots come stomping.  Shovels collected.  Snake in sight.  Snake dead.

The big lesson? Screened in porch just moved up the priority list of projects.  Hardware store here we come!

 

P.S. – Yes, snakes were harmed in the making of this blog.  We’re sorry.  They simply FREAK us, i.e. me, out.  I know it’s not the right thing to do, but I’d like to keep breathing at a normal pace. All were a minimum of four feet. This farmgirl is just over five feet. You do the math.

P.P.S. – Ironically, snake number three came in the middle of writing this blog.  Guess he needed to make an appearance.

P.P.P.S. – I refuse to categorize this as a critter story.  Critters require legs. So you’ll find this under farm life.  Just saying.

 

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Go Fish

Back in the fall I was chatting it up in our local coffee shop, when one of my friends mentioned that she keeps goldfish in her horse troughs to eat algae and mosquito larvae.  I nearly spit out my chai tea latte, when I asked, “Seriously?” (And yes, country folks drink tea lattes, at least this farmgirl does and I adore them. And double yes, if you walk into our local coffee shop you will hear talk of horses, farms, and the town goings-on, all with a dose of southern hospitality.)

My Farmtastic Life - Go Fish, Critter Stories
Our first little goldfish swimming laps in their olympic sized pool, a.k.a. the horse trough.

So I bee bopped home and told Cowboy of my newfound knowledge.  And if you could have seen the look on his face.  Let’s just pull a line out of his favorite TV show, and say, “Well, possum on a gum bush.”  So we started asking around, and sure enough it’s a REAL thing.

We went about purchasing goldfish at a whopping 32 cents a piece and gave it a try.  Admittedly, fall into winter was probably not our smartest time to try, but we gave it a good go. Sure enough, it worked.  Well, kind of.

Enter Lips.  In our last batch of fish, we got one little fella who was all gold with the exception of bright white lips.  So while I had avoiding naming the fish, this one was special.  And you guessed it, his name is Lips.

After a couple of weeks in the trough, he wasn’t doing so well.  He was barely moving and only using his fins on one side.  Cowboy sent me a text one afternoon that said, “Lips is dying.”  Yes, I know Lips is a 32-cent goldfish, but I went into action.  How does one save a fish?  I mean I couldn’t exactly give him CPR or bandage a fin.  (Although, Cowboy wouldn’t put it past me. Some other time I’ll have to share the warnings I get about this and that creature finding their way inside.)

I’d read that sometimes goldfish don’t always do well in galvanized tanks, so I thought maybe this was his problem. I scooped him out and put him in a sassy purple horse bucket, fed him, and watched.  On a daily basis, I would tell Cowboy, “I think he’s dead.”  To which Cowboy would come look, disturb the water, and sure enough, off Lips would swim.  (Maybe I’ll start calling Cowboy the fish whisperer.  I’m sure he’d love that.) Within a couple of days Lips was swimming around again.  So now what’s a farmgirl to do?

My Farmtastic Life - Go Fish, Critter Stories
One fish + one tea pitcher = one very happy Lips the goldfish.
My Farmtastic Life - Go Fish, Critter Stories
A close up of dear sweet Lips, in his tea pitcher house.

If you know me, you can most likely guess.  He came inside, of course.  But while I have kennels a plenty and horse halters galore, an aquarium is not standard farm paraphernalia.  So digging through the cupboards I finally found it – my giant tea pitcher.  And so with a few seashells from our travels dropped in for good measure, Lips was in his new home.  And I prayed that the cats would not turn on the spout and drain out the water before Lips could have a real home.  In addition, a girl can only give up her sweet tea pitcher for so long, fish or no fish.

So long story short, Lips now has a home nestled in a lovely, proper aquarium, complete with air pump, colorful gravel, and decor.  I mean the fish has to have style. So if you are doing the math, this 32-cent goldfish now is a $50 investment, which leaves Cowboy scratching his head, but me able to sleep at night. And where is this aquarium, you ask?  On my hutch, directly beneath my treasured cookbooks, where there will be no discussion of cooking fish.

My Farmtastic Life - Go Fish, Critter Stories
Lips enjoying his new digs. Luxury penthouse in the sky. (Stache is in the front, and Lips is in the back left.)

P.S.  We originally got Lips a friend, who we named Stache, short for Mustache, as he had a black ring around has lips.  But unfortunately, Stache didn’t last too long.  Rest in peace Stache.  We hope you enjoyed your time on the farm.  Lips will remain an only fish for now.

P.P.S.  Goldfish don’t always do well in the troughs.  So we continue to experiment and find the the right balance.  We do enjoy having them and they are big help. If you give it a go, we’d love to hear your successes. 

 

 

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

Easter Donkey

A couple of years ago, I was asked if I would teach children’s Sunday school. An admitted struggler with the word “no,” I reluctantly agreed to teach once a month. You see, while this farm mama has a gift with the four-legged children, I fear I have no such gift with the two-legged variety.

After a couple of Sundays, I quickly learned that a room full of antsy middle schoolers, mostly boys, positively scares the beejeebers out of me. However, my favorite Sunday of all to teach was Palm Sunday. It was when my love of the four-legged got to have a part in my lesson, at least through pictures.

I had heard about the legend of the cross and donkey, and given the beautiful crosses that Sweetie Pie and Mama Rose both wear on there backs, I wanted to know more. So I spent a little time to look it up and research it for the kiddos.

The story goes like this (in a farmgirl’s words) … when Jesus was heralded on Palm Sunday He rode in on the back of a sweet donkey. At that time, the donkey did not have a cross. The little donkey loved Jesus and was so proud to carry his Lord and Savior through the town. A week later, when Jesus was crucified, the donkey was heart broken. He stood in the back of the crowd and watched as his Jesus died, tears falling from his gentle eyes. The donkey could not bear to leave Jesus, so he stayed until the shadow of the cross fell across his back. From that moment on, the donkey carried the cross of Jesus to show his love for his Savior and King. On the third day, when Jesus rose from the dead, the donkey rejoiced and passed his beautiful cross markings on to all those that came after him.

Donkey Photo - Sweetie Pie shoes off her cross markings
Sweetie Pie and Mama Rose are Jesus donkeys. On this Easter weekend they proudly display their crosses.

John 12:12-15 (NIV)

(12) The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.  (13) They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” (14) Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,  (15) Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming seated on a donkey’s colt.”

So on this Easter Sunday, we think about our donkeys and the symbols of Jesus that they carry all year through. We wish you and your family a blessed celebration of the ultimate sacrifice and gift that is Jesus.

P.S. That was my last Sunday to teach and I think it ended on a perfect note.  Teachers, you have my respect and thanks for all you do.  You are truly special, and I don’t know how you do it, but I’m honored for the experience and I hope those kiddos will always remember the donkey and Jesus.

P.PS. Another great story source http://www.mdresort.com/legend-christian-donkey/.

Farm Life · Farmtastic Stories

A Love Letter to Northern Farmgirls (and Boys)

Farm Photo - Snow covered porch
Not quite primetime for porch sitting, but so pretty before it’s covered in paw prints.

Texans are tough, and boy are we a proud bunch, but I have to give it up to my Northern farmgirls (and boys). How do you do it all winter long through snow and ice and wind?

As predicted, February pulled old man winter from its bag of tricks this week and sent us plunging to below freezing temperatures. (Yes, from all Texans we are deeply sorry for all of our tweets, Facebook posts, and other musings about how it is 70 degrees this winter and we are sitting on the porch while you are bundled from head to toe.)

Before I was a farmgirl, the cold was just an irritant, but thanks to the modern invention of central heat and air, totally doable. However, while heat is a requirement on the farm, it’s not enough to just sit inside and drink hot chocolate. Those critters need fed.

One of my hearty Midwest friends asked me, “Do you even have clothes for this?” Kind of. Layers of flannel pajamas, jeans, hoodies, coats, scarves, and gloves are all piled on until we wobble out to the great white winter to do chores. Hey, we weeble, we wobble, but we sure hope we don’t fall down. (You kids from the ‘70s and ‘80s know what I mean, and if not, here’s a refresher.) I’m sure we are a site.

Horse Photo - Ranger in the snow
Ranger was stirring up trouble today. He loves the cold and chasing his fellow buds. (But look at that mane!! If you look closely, you can even see his mustang brand.)

Even more exciting, our critters become like toddlers in the snow. They love it. We’ve got horses chasing each other through the pasture, and dogs (a.k.a Maybelle) running crazy laps around the yard. It’s all fun and games for 15 minutes at a time, because this farm mamma starts to shiver after that. Pathetic, I know.

On top of it, if you are a Northerner and you watch any of our local TV channels you will probably truly find yourself rolling on the floor laughing (or crying, it’s that silly). We’ve got reporters bundled like the Michelin Man out on freeways and parking lots scrapping up a half an inch of ice and labeling it delightful things like “icemageddon.” Seriously, people?

If you must know the truth, even us locals cringe a little when we watch the media spectacle, especially when the national news comes on and we see folks in Boston. Holy cats – that is some serious snow and winter. And with that realization, we will say thank you for our little touch of winter. Our two days where we are homebound and schools are closed. The knowledge that we’ll be above freezing before the week’s end, and likely by next week we’ll be back out on the porch.

So to my Northern farmgirls (and boys), my hats off to you. I see you digging out, resilient and determined to push forward. You are feeding, watering, and mucking your herds with valor. Making it work for good no matter what. I’ve seen horse rescues and folks going out of their way to make sure all critters great and small are taken care of. You guys are tough! From our farmtastic life to yours, we raise a glass of sweet tea and say you go, girl (and guy). You are amazing. We pray your spring flowers will be there soon, and you too can sit a spell on your porches.

P.S. – Just one request. You might be sending this letter back to me in August when it’s sweltering.  We are Texan tough when it comes to summertime.