In Focus #15—Bear Happiness

It has been over seven years since the most serious injury I ever had from a horse. Like Jacob who wrestled with an Angel and walked with a limp the rest of his life, I too have a hitch in my giddy-up. Though as my mother would say, “I can’t complain”. Life is very much the same, and I am exceedingly grateful. However, to this day, should anyone say I fell off that horse I am very quick to remind them that horse threw me with great intention!

The critical care nurses on the first night at the hospital were attentive and kind. It was early the next morning when I awoke, and to my hearts delight and overwhelming joy, I saw one of my dearest older sisters, Sarah, coming into the room. She looked absolutely beautiful. Our mom had passed away a couple years back and when I saw my sister a grapefruit-size lump filled my throat and I knew all would be well. In her arms was the most adorable stuffed bear with the happiest grin on his face, with a big heart-shaped tummy and flowers, I think.

She helped me get out of bed and take a very painful little walk, encouraging me all the way. She did more for me than she will ever know on that morning visit.

That little bear has been on our bed every since. My husband has a grand sense of humor, and over the years I have come into the room and found Bear Happiness in the funniest of poses all over our bed. I would like to share some of them with you. May they add a smile to your day. There is a Latin saying at the old home where I work: Disce Ferenda Pati. Translated: Bear Patiently what must be borne. It was a right long haul back to good health, but this little Bear Happiness sure helped the journey and still brings joy to this day.

That is a cardboard fan, he is fanning himself—he’s hot!
Hmmmm, wonder what’s on todays to-do list?

Before the Rain Comes

Only a couple hours before the rain was to start and then to linger for the next couple days. By the looks of the sky, this weather forecast seemed accurate.

I had a weather dependent project to be done. Days have just begun warming up so the time was right, that is before the rain came into the picture. Projects that stay on ‘the list’ too long start screaming at me—“Looky, looky! I’m still here waiting to be done. How long is it going to take?” This particular project was mulch. It had been frozen all winter, and was just warmed enough now to get. The barn was in desperate need of a fresh layer of mulch all in front of the stalls where the horses live. It really is a never-ending project because it gets picked up with the daily barn mucking, and the chickens scratch it all over the place!

Over the past year our neighbor has had many trees removed from around his home and property. Much of it was turned to firewood but a heavy load was shredded into lovely, big mulch piles. He kindly told me I can take what I need. A generous offer he did not have to make twice. Corralling my daughter and son-in-law for some fast help before the rains came was easy. I knew our new SIL, Jon, had never driven a tractor and being the fine car/truck mechanic that he is with a passion for all things related to engines and four wheels, I knew this would be an easy sale. Not only that but he is very sharp and clever.

Using the loader to fill the club car and hauling a load with the tractor as well was a sure bet for getting this project done quickly. After a basic lesson on tractor driving skills and working the front-end loader, he was off and heading to the mulch piles. Just as I knew, he caught on very quickly, smiling all the way. Tractors have a way of putting a smile on one’s face. There is something magically fun about them (though I suppose if I were on them 10 hours a day I’d have a different opinion).

Anyway, it was a successful project. Rain was falling with purpose when we dumped our last load. Time to check it off that perpetual farm work list—for the time being.

As for Jon? I heard he quietly whispered to his young wife—“We need to get a tractor!”

Five Minute Friday Writing Prompt—Spring

Spring, Spring in the air!

Here in our part of Virginia frost date is in May. So it can still feel a bit like winter for awhile. However the cold is not as bitter, the ground is warming up, the daffodils are in bloom, and the chickens are out in the yard..

But the best part, the neighbor children are outside running over to visit chickens, horses, the dog and cats! Full of chatter, they happily feed the horses carrots as they visit. All talking at the same time!

Oh! The joys of Spring!

Home Canners Beware!

Finding home canning supplies has been a challenge these past couple years. Jars were hard to find, collars and lids were even more elusive. Jars come with collars and lids, but I do not need any more jars.

As a long time home canner I have jars and collars a plenty, however, new lids must be purchased every season. They have been in short supply these past couple years. The brands I use, Ball or Kerr, was no where to be found in any local stores, except on truck delivery days. At which point only one or two boxes were sold to customer. It was a challenge.

Late in the season at a hardware store in West Virginia I found a supply. Hastily I drove there, where I found a brand name I had never heard of before. PUR was the name. Odd as it’s name was, I purchased several boxes of lids and collars for both regular and wide-mouth jars. I could share the collars with my canning friends, I thought, if they needed some. Collars need replacing every few years as they wear out.

The initial problem with this PUR brand was the collars did not fit my jars. What? All canning supplies are the same size, and as such I have not ever had an issue with them prior to this. May I just give a hint of the surprise and anger when in the last stages of the hard work of canning, in the final stage and collars don’t fit!? They would not screw down onto the jars. Let’s suffice to say I was very nearly rabid!

They were all thrown in the trash. Probably one in six of them screwed onto the jars. Thankfully I had a good supply of old collars, and the canning project was completed.

I heard all the lids make their wonderful PING! the seal is complete. Or so I thought…

Last week I opened a jar of tomato sauce. Something in the sound of the pop when opened caught my attention. To my utter astonishment there was corrosion all over the underside of the lid! I scraped it off and to my dismay, I found a tiny pin hole in the lid! This has not ever happened in all these years I have canned. It was shocking!

See that tiny hole?? I found it after scraping away all the corrosion.

So please, please be careful with your home-canned goods if you have used this awful PUR brand. They are an inferior product and cannot be trusted. Take Care. I am throwing out any left in my supplies, and telling every home canner not to use them.

P.S. I just noticed I said the ‘lids’ did not fit. I meant ‘collars’ The collars would not screw onto my jars.

FMF Writing Prompt—Carry

Carry—we are called in the Christian faith to carry one another’s burdens….

We live in a rather ‘hidden valley’—indeed that IS the name of our street. There are only six homes/farms ‘back here’. It is beautiful and secluded with our dead end driveway that serves all our homes.

On this blog of mine I write posts entitled ‘#loveyourneighbor’. We all know one another, and though we are all of different lifestyles and outlooks, we care for one another. It is lovely and comforting, and a blessing.

I write some blogs entitled #loveyourneighbor because that is what God commands us to do. In fact He says we cannot love Him unless we love our neighbor. Isn’t that lovely? How, He asks, can one love whom they don’t see if they cannot love whom they DO see? Think about that!

To help carry ones burdens is a task and joy at the same time. What a paradox! What a challenge. Thank God!

Do you remember that great song Diana Ross sang? ‘Reach out and touch somebodies hand, make this world a better place if you can.’

I hope you have a be-a-blessing-to-someone kind of week. #loveyourneighbor

Pray without ceasing.