Bring it On

We heard the storm was coming for several days over the radio, giving us goodly time to prepare for it. It is not that we live so far from town, but we have a long private drive to keep open and clear. Winter has been slow hitting this year, but has made up for it this week.

There are about five inches of snow on the ground, with a nice, hard layer of ice firmly placed all over the top like a crusty bagel. The strong winds demand the ice to stay put, which makes it all the more easy to stay put in the house as well. No chance of any melt today either. There is some clearing we need to do with the tractor blade out at the barn. The thick ice and frozen ground puts a strain on the horses, most especially the minis. They stayed in and around the barn all day yesterday. Duke ventured out a bit this morning, but not for long. Our mini, Snowbell, thought she would join him, but smartly changed her mind.

In preparation, this past Sunday afternoon found my husband in the warm garage getting blades set up on the tractor, checking fluids, and filling up with fuel. I, on the other hand, was out tending to the animals and barn. Spreading fresh, warm straw in stalls, and under the roof for the horses, checking salt, filling water troughs, filling the chicken feed dispenser and fresh water. How chickens enjoy scratching around fresh straw!

Tractor is ready and waiting
How chickens enjoy scratching in fresh straw.

It is a magical time just before a storm. The overcast sky foretelling the coming weather, preparing itself, just as we were. A text from families living in both Harrisonburg, and Timberville happily announced snow was falling. Was it at our place? Not yet. They generally always get it before we do.

The gentle announcement of snow falling.
High Hope doesn’t seem to notice snow, she is happy with her hay.

‘Keep going, it will be all ready for the animals,‘ I told myself. Thankfully one big worry that no longer exists is water troughs. With heaters in them, the only concern is keeping them filled. That is for the horses anyway, the chickens’ water is different. Having two water containers for them, one stays in our heated tack room, to switch out when the other gets frozen.

Fill up water troughs. Heaters keep them free from ice.

Something told me to stop my work and look around. For one thing I needed to find our puppy, and be sure the chickens were hanging around the barn. That is when I saw the snow quietly making its gentle announcement. It fell steadily and thicker for the rest of the day. As night fell so did the sleet, and with it, the Old Man Winter wind blew his icy blast heartily over our cozy, buttoned-down farm.

Duke ventured out for a while. He had to paw through ice and snow for grass.
Snowbell had difficulty breaking through ice.
She decided the barn and hay were better option.
Our icy, snowy field and woods.

Looks like there may be a break one day this week to clean things up and prepare again. Bring it on. We are ready.

Spring will soon be here!

FMF—Writing Prompt: Determine

Determine. I like this word.

It speaks of a persons strength of character. To determine to do something or achieve a set goal is a deliberate action. It seems as if I am in God’s plan for me when I work towards a heartfelt goal of mine. God knows our hearts.

One of the goals this year is to become more comfortable, knowledgeable, and accurate with my shotgun at the range.

I am off to a good start.

FMF Writing Prompt—Important

Important. A fine word for the start of a New Year.

Great for reflection and looking ahead. The questions I ask myself are: Did I accomplish those things I thought were of value and importance to me over this past year? What specifically is important to me in this coming New Year? How am I going to achieve those things I deem important?

One specific goal is to ‘be still and know that I am God’. To set aside quiet time to spend with God and reflect upon my daily life. Reflection is important. I plan on putting this photograph of our grandson astride our miniature horse, Snowbell, where it is easily seen as a reminder to be still a moment of a normal, busy day and think on God. A feeling of refreshment and hopefully a quiet assurance that God is here with me will fill my heart.

The Magic of Poetry

Do you like poetry?

Our mother read poetry many times to us when we were little. She read out-loud beautifully, with great skill and inflection. Reading out-loud is an art, and she owned it.

I have spent many hours in practice of it over the years. Reading hundreds of poems and books to our children when young, I feel I have gained, perhaps, a bit of Moms’ amazing talent.

The way she could transport us into the magical world of childhood poems was thrilling and at times downright scary. I just knew if I got sassy with company or “ole folks” visiting, “They was two great big Black Things a-standin’ by my side…ready to “snatch me through the ceilin’ ‘fore I’d knowed what I’s about!” Mom had read ‘Little Orphant Annie‘, by James Whitcomb Riley plenty enough for me to know I had better behave myself when “ole folks was there”. I can still hear her laughter at the way she had all we little twins mesmerized by the poems she read.

How we laughed when she would read ‘The Raggedy Man‘, also by James Whitcomb Riley:

O The Raggedy Man! He works fer Pa;

An’ he’s the goodest man ever you saw!

He comes to our house every day,

An’ waters the horses, an’ feeds ’em hay;

An’ he opens the shed–an’ we all ist laugh

When he drives out our little, old, wobble-ly calf….

And on goes this delightfully, happy, imaginative poem.

None of us can even look at the moon without hearing the rhymes of ‘The Man in the Moon’, yet another delightful poem of James Whitcomb Riley—

‘Said the Raggedy Man on a hot afternoon, “My! Sakes! What a lot o’mistakes some little folks makes on The Man in the Moon!

But people that’s b’en up to see him, like me, and calls on him frequent and intimutly,

Might drop a few facts that would interest you, Clean! Through!—if you wanted ’em to—….’

Eugene Field is another poet Mom enjoyed reading to we children. To this day I refer to ‘The Duel’, by Eugene Field, as it so aptly describes interactions between people at times…

‘The gingham dog and the calico cat

Side by side on the table sat…’

I have read all these poems and many, many more to our children, and now grandchildren. The sing-song words create fantastic pictures in our heads, whether young or old. Indeed, poetry in meant to be read aloud to get the full joy and magic out of it.

There are many wonderful poetry books to choose from. Take turns having members of your family read aloud. It only takes more practice to get good at it, and it is great fun!

Do you have a favorite poem? Please share!

P.S. I would be remiss if I failed to mention this all-time family favorite. It is for all the twins in the world—‘The Twins’, by Henry S. Leigh:

In form and feature, face and limb,

I grew so like my brother,

That folks got taking me for him,

And each for one another…

This poem is a MUST for every twin. Guaranteed to make you laugh! Enjoy!

“Pop-pop, is this de hole ‘at the Wunks is got?” This line from James Whitcomb Riley’s poem ‘The Raggedy Man’ is what popped in my mind the moment I took this photo.