The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be. ~ Anne Frank
There's a resident groundhog, who must go, under the 85 year old house.
Deer come in the orchard and eat the apples, peaches, and plums.
There is a lovely statue, guarding the tree, but the deer aren't afraid of it.
This place has an old oak board fence, and myrtles.
Some spots are very civil-war-battlefield
-looking-ish, with lots of
hickory and oak trees.
And old farm equipment.
We are in the throws of optimism and exhaustion at the same time.
Exhilaration at the view and the coolness of the weather.
Exhaustion from the work needed to make this place shine again.
We have no house to speak of, but we do have shelter.
We haven't got a lot of room, but we have a bed to sleep in;
a small place to cook and eat.
There's something to be said for little house living.
It's just amazing what you can do without.
Jesus, I trust in You.
For as much grief as any loss left me with, eventually, there were gifts that consoled and comforted my broken heart. This time, it was Spanky, who loves to go for rides. And we had many “rides”- 700 mile trip one way - to get us home.
I can’t talk about this without making a point here, about grief. I have had many losses in life, both human, and pets, and things. The grief for any of these losses is no more nor less valid and acknowledgable.
I experienced my first human loss at age 9. It was my uncle, whom died of cancer. He was a very kind man, a hard worker, a farmer. I cried after the funeral, while we were all outside the church, expecting my siblings to make fun of me, like every time I cried before. But they didn’t. So I learned crying is allowed, without ridicule.
I’ve had some major losses since then too, just like everyone in the world. Just want you to know that it (loss) is survivable. It does tend to get harder the older I get. I’m not so sure I’ll be able to convince myself that it’s survivable as I get even older. I have occasional thoughts of how I hate being left behind, and wondering when it will be my turn to go.
But lets go back to the gifts. The Lord gives me gifts all the time. He reminds me every day. I don’t know why I get sad. When I do, though, I try to focus on the gifts.
I have a new dog. He and I are bonding, and he is filling a hole left by Stinky. He comes when I whistle, and we walk together, in a safe place, with no cars and no people.
I'm finally resurfacing. It's been a rough 10 months.
I slept through the winter, which in the south, is pretty short, but it amounted
to four months of being sick.
Sooooo.....the old man, in his infinite wisdom, says we need to move back to where we have family, in case something happens to one of us, it'll be easier to handle things with some help. So, where family is, is located further north, but still under the Mason/Dixon,
where the snow....
...and the buffalo roam.
So we left the "fairy tale farm",
with the dream house....
We had to leave the dusty road behind, as it was making us sick too.
Goodbye, dusty roads!
So, like Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), who wrote, "I had a farm in Africa....",
I can write, "I had a farm in Tennessee....." and then proceed to tell you all kinds of stories. Of which I shall, I shall.
But first I must tell you of someone we had to leave behind, not of our own will.
It was Stinky.
He died unexpectedly, and suddenly, of a twisted stomach. If you don't know the signs, and get to the vet immediately, your pet will die. And he died. In my car. On the way to the vets office.
O, how I cried. I so wanted him to be on our new farm.
I loved him so.
So the first story is about him.
He came to us as a puppy, via the airlines!
He was a little under the weather, but we brought him up to wellness.
I can not find our bringing home puppy photos.
He loved water....
He was the smartest dog I ever had.
He knew when I was sick, before I knew it.
He wouldn't let me walk one day, he made me so mad.
He sat right in front of me and wouldn't let me go.
So I went back to the house and gave up.
Two days later, I was in the ER.
He would walk himself around the yard, when I couldn't walk with him.
I cut mine into four layers, and used LOTs of frosting.
I did not hold back on anything, this is the "full monty."
Recipe, adapted from Gooseberry Patch
Prepare 2 - 8 inch round cake pans (greased and floured) and set aside.
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
4 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk
(and Frosting--recipe below)
Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda and salt) in a small bowl, set aside. Beat butter in a large bowl (or stationary mixer) at medium speed, until creamy. Add sugars and beat one minute.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well, and then add vanilla. Add sour cream, and beat 30 seconds. Stir in melted chocolate, mixing well. Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture alternatively with buttermilk, and beat well.
Pour into prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees F oven for 25-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on pans on a wire rack 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.
I cut my two layers in half, using a piece of dental floss, and make four layers.
1- 8 oz. package cream cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 - 32 oz. powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 oz. square unsweetened chocolate, melted
5-6 tablespoons half and half or heavy cream
Beat cream cheese and butter together, until smooth. Add vanilla, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, melted chocolate, then the cream or half and half, and mix together well. I like to do all this in the stationary mixer, and scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
You can keep this in the fridge until the cake is cooled, then frost generously!