Thanksgiving rather gets lost in the shuffle of the holiday season. Not much money can be made in the sale of it. It is my favorite holiday.
I enjoy preparing my contribution (everyone brings something), and especially I enjoy preparing the table. There is something special about gathering all around a table for a beautifully prepared meal.
On little slips of paper we list those things we are thankful for, as we recognize just how abundantly The Lord nourishes us daily. So while our food nourishes our body, our family gatherings nourish our sense of who we are. While giving thanks to God for it all. For we know everything flows abundantly and graciously from Him.
We thank Thee now our God with hearts and hands and voices.
This is a popular line from JRR Tolkien’s famous book series, Lord of the Rings. Specifically, Fellowship of the Ring.
Aragorn wandered all over upon learning of his royal heritage as future king. He was wanting to learn about the land and the people he would one day be ruling over. Thus, he had a specific reason and goal to his wanderings.
It seems that was the point of this well-known line, i.e. to have a goal in life. To know why and what one is wandering for. A good lesson for all of us.
This series is a great adventurous read with much excitement. You will need to read the series to find out how Aragorn does!
I grew up working in the hay fields at home on our 1,300 acre farm at Endless Caverns in New Market, Va. I always loved being out in the hay fields. The fresh cut hay always smelled so good, the rhythmic sound of the machines, and of course, hay can only be made ‘when the sun shines!’
That farm was sold many years ago. Though memories still linger, most especially in springtime here in the valley when hay making is in full swing. In this time of year barns are full of the fresh hay of this past season. A barn full of new hay is a sweet smell indeed. Folks have come into our little barn and remarked about how good it smells! We do not have enough land to make our own. It must be purchased.
Our barn is small, so we have to go often to restock our supply from our man in West Virginia. He has beautiful hay, and has been our supplier for many years. Our horses are in good care with the quality of his hay. I am a hay hog, or so I have been told. I do not feed our big horses grain, but I do feed them lots of good hay. On cold, blustery nights and days, hay is a far better feed for the horses. It keeps them warmer longer than grain. On bitter winter days, I have ‘hayed’ them three times during the day. There is such a thing as horses getting what we call a ‘hay belly’, but I have found that is mostly because of poor quality over quantity.
Most hay is now baled in big rounds. Ours come in square bales. We prefer it that way. It is more work on our part as we must tend to the animals morning and evening. However, there is not as much waste. Horses are picky eaters. Ours lick up their daily supply! I also like to shake it out on the ground for them to check for weeds, and, believe it or not, I have actually found a baled, dead field mouse in one bale. Yikes! It happens occasionally.
I was 31 years old when BR was foaled on February 12, 1986. Truly a lifetime ago. He died this Thursday, September 23, 2021. I am now 64 years old. He was 33 years old when he died. A good long life for a miniature horse. A good long life for the both of us.
What does one say about a good old horse? Who would ever understand except those that have had one in their lives? Or any dear animal for that matter for any length of time? Animal owners are a different breed of folks. The type of folks that can not imagine their lives without an animal in it. Forget the dirt, hair, and all the mess involved with animal ownership. We love our animals way too much it seems. And yet “for people like us”, as my dearest friend says, “animals are a beautiful place…God is good.”
So just what do those of us who love our animals say when one dies? I am a photographer, so for me, photos say it all. So here, please enjoy the good life of a grand horse I was blessed to have in my life for many, many years.
That is today? I thought to myself while passing by the Shenandoah County Fair Grounds on my way to Harrisonburg, VA. How did I ever loose track of that? I promised my grandson, William, we would go see them when they came this summer! Now what was I going todo?
I had plans for the day, and it sure did not include this activity I had promised to William. Pulling off to the side of the highway, I checked out the Fair website. Sure enough, the races were today, starting at noon. I knew then I had been given this reminder, graciously by God. I must not let my grandson down. We had read together, with great joy and interest Born To Trot, by Marguerite Henry. I knew the Shenandoah County Fair had harness racing during the fair week. So earlier this year I promised William he and I would go see them. Such exciting anticipation for both of us!
My plans for the day must be re-arranged. Quickly I changed the entire plan for the day, and made a hopeful, last-minute call to my son.
“Is it possible I could pick up William and Evan (his older brother, if he’d like to come) to go to the fair to see the harness races?” I asked. Last minute is not the best time to make plans with a busy young family, but I was hoping, and praying it would work for them. He said he would call me back. Great. By then I was in Harrisonburg. I finished up in a hurry the errands I was on, counting the minutes.
The return call from Austin was a happy “Yes!”
It was a ‘day made to order’, as an old neighbor used to say to me many years ago. We arrived at the fair grounds in good time to find a seat down near the track. Being that close to those trotting horses was thrilling! William even picked the winner! In between races we found the Ruritan building for a yummy hamburger and ff’s, and ate lunch while watching more racing.
I have not ever seen harness racing in person. It is truly thrilling. Those horses are trotting the air! It seems as if they float over the track!
We ended this most grand afternoon in the only way one should when at a fair—Ice Cream Cones!
I am so grateful The Lord gave us this grand day. For left to me, it would have been missed.
And, by-the-way, Austin told me after we got home that, “William had been waiting and was sure excited to see the races.” By God’s good grace this promise was kept. How wonderful!
Out here on our little farm, we have worked to keep the fields bush-hogged throughout the summers. This year, however, we managed them a bit differently. We decided to mow paths around the edges of the fields inside the fence rows. It created pretty paths for walking around the property. Everything likes to walk on paths, i.e. horses, dogs, cats and folks! Out in the field it provided great cover for birds to raise their young. We have watched more beautiful meadowlarks than ever before. They like cover, and build their nests in long grasses on the ground. While out walking one late afternoon after feeding, HoneyPie flushed up a turkey hen and her bunch of tiny chicks. They scurried to hide in the woods, and mother gathered them up quickly after we passed by. Another benefit is the Timothy grass. It was able to go to seed, which will help the pasture next season.
Winding, connecting smaller trails were tied into the ones on the outer edge providing an variety of paths and ways to walk through the fields. One can actually see the effects of the wind as it wafts over the tall grasses and wildflowers–very dreamy. There are pretty wildflowers growing all over, though I know not all are beneficial.
I was a bit concerned about snakes, but have yet to see any. Probably the horses and dogs keep them at bay.
Now that the good grasses have gone to seed, it is a smart idea to start mowing again so as to keep the late summer weeds from going to seed. Those we do not want to reproduce.
Another bonus is we saved fuel and manpower. It takes a good many hours to mow the fields. Summer has passed too quickly for it is past time to mow, and there is one more field that needs attention. Perhaps this afternoon!
I am a mirror twin. She & I have an older set of identical twins as well (and our Mom was also an identical twin!).
I used to always hear my twin say how tired she was of our three mothers, and how happy she would be to not have them. How put out with me she would get for not understanding what she meant.
It took a while, but I finally ‘got it’—Accountability.
We were accountable to our older sisters as well as our Mom. There was, to be sure, a real power thing the ‘Big’ twins had over we ‘Little’ twins. But mostly it was because of love and concern for us and our success as a family and individual.
They taught us responsibility towards those to whom we are accountable. We twins are all very close now. Mom and her twin have both passed away.
Think I should have kept track of the number of times I heard that little question this week. It was usually followed by:
May I have a peppermint?
Is it tablet time?
When will breakfast be ready?
Let’s go play with the squirt guns!
Is it dessert time yet?
Can HoneyPie go outside to play with us?
So many questions from our grandchildren that were here with us on the farm this past week. They went home today. Pop-pop and I think they would have stayed longer! There is a lot of freedom out here on the farm. Running all around without much concern for cars. We neighbors all know one another here on our private drive ‘hidden valley lane’. It is a comfort and a huge blessing.
The next-door neighbor children are happy to come over and play in the late afternoons. They run, giggle, play ball and climb trees. They have a great time outside with one another. How is it they all get thirsty, hungry, and have to use the restroom all at the same time!?
The Frederick County Fair was in full swing while the grands were here. We made a long, full night of it there. To be sure there where were no bedtime complaints upon getting home that evening. Everyone, young and old, was whipped, and full of sugar!
Gentle reader, you will never guess what the big “wow!” was—the feet and nail brushes that are in each bathroom in our home. Those giggles will resound in my memory for a happy long time! Those grands raced to the bathroom to scrub their feet with those brushes. Hey, one cannot go to bed with dirty farm feet!
All those questions had a big ‘YES’ to them during this week. Oh the fun of it all. Until next time…..
Lesson for me: Never be on the phone when husband is out on the farm running equipment.
I did not hear my husband yell. Thank The Lord our neighbor did. He came over to check out why Bill had yelled with the urgency he had. He was bush-hogging around the pond. He got too close to the edge. The bush-hog and back tire of the tractor slipped into the pond.
Thank The Lord for our other good neighbor who has a tractor. Together all three men were able to safely get the equipment out. No injuries, except, perhaps, a bit of pride!