#loveyourneighbor

I listen to very little news anymore. I find it depressing, questionable, repetitive, negative, frightful and of little relevance to my life. Dear reader, be gentle, I simply have not the time nor interest in what is going on 24/7 in the whole wide world. We truly live in the information age. Problem is, what does one do with all this information? Information overload. It is far too heavy to carry, and way too much to hardly know where to begin to help.

The most pervasive feeling continual news gives me (and I think it may be intentional?) is a sense of helplessness. What, in the world can one little person do to stem this current tide of division so prevalent in our own society? We have family members that refuse to speak to one another, lifetime friends that no longer talk or visit together, and folks that do not even know the names of their next-door neighbors.

The term today is cancel-culture, but I think it should be called CANCER-CULTURE. For it spreads ugly and fiercely like cancer. It seems to have a life of its own, and is bent on destroying everything and everyone it gets close to.

I have always turned off the news from Thanksgiving to the first of a New Year. It was my time ‘off’ from the worries of the world, and time to focus on family and holidays. I enjoyed it so much, it seemed logical and sane to stay that way. So, I decided to listen only once a day to news, and read the paper that comes once a week to our home. Period.

That decision has sure improved my outlook on life, I’ll tell ya. I also have given much thought to what could I do to improve our societal division? Here is my idea, for what it is worth:

#loveyourneighbor

I believe this positive hashtag will help promote good will between folks and will be a fun way to spread smiles and a sense of belonging among we the people. I invite anyone who would like to accept this challenge to take a part in mending fences and spreading good will with our neighbors, family and friends. I will post my first two photos below. Post your photos on the social media you like and be sure to use the hashtag:

#loveyourneighbor

Join in if you feel like spreading some smiles for we American people again. As for me, I am weary of media telling me what I am. One photo at a time we can show who we, the American people, really are.

Having a young family as neighbors willing to take a huge block of cheese purchased by mistake! #loveyourneighbor
Sharing peanut butter cookies with a neighbor, or I will eat all of them! #loveyourneighbor

Once—FMF Writing Prompt

Once, only once, have I been able to watch a chrysalis transform into a butterfly. Such a fascinating mystery to watch. We put it in a jar. One day we found a Monarch butterfly fluttering around the jar anxious to get out! It happily flew away.

One of our gardens is a designated pollinator garden. That means I allow the milk weed and other insect loving natural plants to grow as food for the Monarchs butterflies and other native insects. It is growing larger every year. I have even mailed milk weed seeds to folks interested in having beneficial pollinating plants for nature in their gardens.

In addition, I have great fun taking photographs of butterflies. Though often it is a real challenge!

Milk weed gone to seed.

In Focus #12—Lights and Snow

Do you enjoy watching snow fall?

It seems many folks do enjoy it as it floats, and seemingly dancing softly to the ground. There is something cozy in it. The whole world seems hushed and still. It settles in beautiful ways on tree limbs, fences, and out in the fields. It tells on all those unseen critters that travel around during the night. Their footprints in the snow tell the story of their round-abouts. Out here in the country we see raccoon, deer, turkey, birds, rabbits, and perhaps even coyotes (though they look like dogs).

One thing I especially enjoy is the sight of lights on during a snowstorm. They add a warm welcome to a building. So when an early morning snowfall greeted us good morning the first of this week, I grabbed my camera (after feeding the animals of course!) and enjoyed the lights and snow.

I believe you will enjoy these captures of light and snow as well.

Sunrise—Five Min Friday writing prompt

There is something special and invigorating about watching the sunrise of a new day. It speaks of promise, hope, future, a plan, and joy in each and every rising.

Being an early riser has afforded the privilege of seeing sunrises daily. So accustomed to them, I feel I have lost the best part of the day should the sun rise before me.

The most special time is on Easter morning. Sitting outside watching and waiting for the sun to break forth on that most glorious of all mornings. Easter morning. The tomb is empty.

He is Risen. He is Risen indeed!

On the Fence?

Being a bird watcher has been an enjoyable passion for as long as I can remember. This endearing past-time was taught to me with fun by my Aunty Bliss (Mom’s twin sister). She was a scientist of sorts, as she filed and categorized all the birds she photographed. She passed that love onto me, though she kept better records than I. I passed it on to one of our sons. Many precious memories are on file birding with my Aunt as a child and as a grown-up with my son.

I thought of them both recently when looking out at the pond. To my great surprise, I saw this Great Blue Heron sitting on the fence! On the fence? I have seen many of these lovely birds in my day, but never sitting on a fence! If you look closely in the photograph, you will notice the pond is frozen. Guess no fishing was to be done that day.

Grabbing my camera bag and changing the lens I thought the bird would surely be gone. To my great joy it was still there. I have a 300mm fixed lens for my camera, but still needed to crop the photos to get a better view. This makes the photos not that great, but, as I was taught in a photography class once, “A rather bad photo is better than no photo at all.”

Have you ever seen a Great Blue Heron sitting on a fence?

Design—FMF (Five-Min Friday writing prompt)

This word draws pictures in my mind of bright, beautiful flowers to the whiskers of a cat among many other images. For everything in the world shows design. Even the mud pies my children used to make so long ago.

A book written by Frank Turek, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, says it all for me. As I live here on this farm out in the country, I see design and a designer literally everywhere. For that matter, this very machine I am typing on screams design.

It seems like common sense to recognize this fact. Yet lately it appears all sense and sensibility has flown the coop.

Indeed there is a designer behind every design.

Fix—for FMF

What a fun word. Or rather what fun, dear memories it conjures up for me.

My father-in-law was a real fix-it man. Born in 1912, he was a child of the Great Depression. He sure knew how to fix things, and make needed/wanted household items from scraps in his shop. He kept everything knowing he made need it for a project someday.

I loved his shop and would spend time with him in it watching, listening and chatting with him. It was neat & tidy—a place for everything and everything in its place.

He went home to be with The Lord many years ago at the grand old age of 98.

Memories of him linger in our hearts and homes as we still enjoy the many things he made for the necessity of our homes so long ago. They are dear to our hearts.

Your Favorite Season?

Which season of the year do you like best? Here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, we have all four. Pictures of the Valley will prove it a hard thing to choose the favorite one. At least it is for this blogger.

The end of one season brings a happy au revior with much anticipation for the next one. Plans are always hatching with each new seasons’ arrival. Spring flowers, vegetable gardens, pumpkins and apples, and long winter nights. Each has it’s own unique, wonderful quality. I must admit, the Spring frost date has a way of waiting far too long before coming here in the Northern end of the Valley. New folks to the Valley do not believe me when I say it is mid-to-end of April. We can have snow in October, have slept with windows open in November, and been under a blanket on a summer July night! Makes it all the more interesting, don’t you think? We shun the hot sun in the summer in any cool spot available, and bask in it in fall and winter. Fickle aren’t we? Seasons have their ways, and we adjust.

This winter has seen very little snowfall. A pretty snow fell around mid-December, and that is it. Most folks do not miss it much, nor the work that comes with it. But I enjoy being out in it walking the dog (and cats, they come too), feeding the horses and watching their foggy breath float all around their heads and muzzles. Snow quietly falling on their shaggy winter coats. Do you know a horses’ coat can grow 1/4 on cold winter nights? Cool huh?

The earth is the Lords, and the fullness thereof; the world and they that dwell in it.

Surprise this early morning though, as a blowing snow suddenly filled the view from the window with white. It was gone as fast as it came. A real hit and run. I have only a few photographs to share of the only snow so far this year, and one bad one from this morning.

Which season is your favorite? I cannot answer that question, for I throughly enjoy each and every one of them. Happy winter to you!

Only one from this early morning.

Conclude—Last FMF Prompt for 2020

Words are fascinating.

After all “In the beginning was The Word”. The meaning of the verb conclude is wonderful. It has two related meanings; one is to come to a decision, the other is to bring to a close.

This year is nearly ready to come to a close, and I have surely made a decision about it. God is in control. He always has been. He always will be. Nothing catches Him by surprise. He has mapped out this coming New Year already and I am sure looking forward to it. For He goes before us.

The Lord is my Shepherd.

Poetry in Motion

“I like his action”.

This is a common phrase used by horse folks. It refers to the way a horse moves in his gaits. Every horses’ action is different, not only because of their breed but many other factors add into the way they move. Size of the horse, length of the pastern, slope of the shoulder, breed of the animal, weight of their shoes, and I am sure much more than I even know about have an influence on the way a horse moves.

One interesting thing I have noticed over all my time spent with other horse folks is that we also watch and appreciate the way a dog moves, even though the gaits are different. Dogs leap in their running gaits. Horses do not. Dogs have also been in my life for as long as my memory will go, but I have not considered myself a dog person as much as horse.

They are both social critters that enjoy human interaction. In many ways they train similarly too: Praise and Reward; Consistency and Persistency; the human touch, and pleasant voices. The words do not necessarily need to be pleasant, just the tone of voice. So, the next time you get mad at your dog or horse, call them anything you feel like at the time, just use a pleasant tone of voice. This is sure to make you laugh and ease the tension! Then it would probably be wise to stop for the day, or at least for that training session time. Never call your dog or horse ugly, derogatory names in an ugly tone of voice. That is downright rude!

Anyway, back to ‘action’. Here on our farm we have two different breeds of horses. One has Quarter horse in her, the other is a Tennessee Walking Horse. They have very distinct and beautiful gaits between the two of them. High Hope, our part Quarter horse, is a three-gaited horse. Which means she walks, trots, and gallops.

Duke, our Tennessee Walking horse, is what is called ‘a gaited-horse’. This means he has five gaits. He walks, flat walks, trots, paces, and gallops. Gaited horses are known though for their smooth flat walk (it has several other names). This means his ‘action’ looks much different to the observer than High Hope.

Do not worry, I am not giving you a quiz on the gaits of horses. Though I do teach my riding students the differences. But, of course, they can tell the difference the moment they ride. The reason for this blog was to post some nice action shots I have taken of the horses and dogs. It is like poetry in motion watching a four-legged animal move. I try to catch the cats on film too. Now that is a challenge for me.

Poetry has a beat to it. Four legged animals do too. It is lovely to hear and exciting to watch. If you are quiet enough you may even hear the beats in some of these photos…

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