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Live in each season as it
passes; breathe the air, 
drink the drink, taste the 
fruit, and resign yourself to
the influence of each.

~Henry David Thoreau

Blessed. Carrying a bowl of kitchen scraps out to my compost pile today, I barely held it together. I stepped outside into blinding sunshine, the low, lazy kind that only appears this near the winter solstice. A chill wind blew my hair back and spun the metal windmill wildly. The cows briefly glanced up from their grazing disinterestedly, for I am a familiar sight to them now. Affectionately, my sweet (new-to-us) golden retriever, Brody, heeled at my side as we crossed the large grassy area, passed the apple trees (with only a few stubborn apples left clinging just above arm’s reach) to my enclosed garden. I paused. And I did breathe the air, as Thoreau recommends. It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, Lord, I whispered. But beyond that, words escaped me.
 
We are here. The past five weeks we have worked hard to settle in and usually fall into bed exhausted at night, but I love-love-love it. All of our hard work has been tempered by the joy of waking up each morning in this incredible setting. I will never forget those first few days looking out my kitchen window and seeing MY cows grazing in the pasture just below. Would I ever get used to the sight of it, I wondered? Actually, I already have. Will the novelty of tucking a large straw basket under my arm and walking out to pick apples from my own trees ever wear off? So far, no, it delights me completely each time. 
 
With boxes stacked around me and chaos around every corner, the apples were ripe and ready. “What would a true farm girl do?” I pondered. A voice deep within me said, “The harvest waits for no man (or woman!).” I contemplated the wisdom of this. True, I can unpack any time, but the apples are ready NOW. So… I incorporated apples into our daily routines. I have canned 50 quarts of applesauce, 15 pints of apple butter, dehydrated several gallon bags of apple slices*, carefully selected and prepared apples for winter storage and still given many boxes of apples away. But proudly, I can say that very few have gone to waste.
 *I want to give props to my dear husband who actually has been the sole dehydrator after I took my thumb down to the nerve cutting my very first apple on the mandolin slicer. I won’t touch the device now so he has been the one doing all the dehydrating. (I guess that can be considered our first “farm injury”, as I was processing the harvest.)
 
 
The Girls
After only three days on the farm, Britton announced that he does not want to slaughter the cows. We had a long talk about the purpose of farm animals, blah, blah, blah… Actually, I’m more fond of them than I expected to be too. They were bottle-fed as calves so they are exceptionally friendly to humans. They run up to the fence when we come near and love when we throw them fallen apples (see, they’re not going to waste!). One day, I even witnessed them tenderly grooming each other. It was a sweet sight. I’m pleased I can finally tell them apart and we call them Girl #1 and Girl #2. (Every city slicker knows you don’t name livestock, right??)
 
The Girls should be pregnant, but I’m not sure how to tell for sure. They look the same size as always. A week before we moved in the bull was still in pasture with them and we were at the property chatting with our neighbor, the bull’s owner. She mentioned that George (the previous owner) wanted the bull to stay an extra week “to make sure the job was done”. She said confidently, “Well, I can tell by looking at him that he’s done!” Caleb and I whipped our heads around in unison and beheld a very mellow bull gnawing on grass. I suppose he looked satisfied, but how would I know? Could she really tell? It gave me pause (and still gives me a private chuckle every time I think about it) as I wondered if we will ever know our animals so well. 
 
This is a neighbor who has cows and horses and who is very knowledgeable about farm animals. I am grateful she is across the street for any questions that may arise and I told her so. In this same conversation she asked about our plans for the property. “Are you going to do get horses or maybe some kids?” she asked.  I said in full seriousness, “Well, I’m not really a horse person and we already have four kids we’ll be bringing out here.” 
 
Yes, I really did. 
 
As soon as I said it, I thought, “I don’t think that’s what she meant.” She was gracious enough not to correct me, but sure enough, later in the conversation she was a little more explicit by bringing up G-O-A-T-S.  Well, at least she knows what she’s working with here. 
 
We are very well and so thankful to be here! I’ll leave you with a few snapshots of our new life that have blessed my heart:

 

 

 

 

 

         


 
 
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