The Garden Is Coming Along

I have been so excited to start this garden. In mid-April the garden fence was finally made, and I transplanted some of my seedlings with success (well so far at least). I thought about purchasing a white picket fence from a garden center but then after thinking about it I opted for having it made out of scrap materials that were already on hand. My brother had offered some wooden trellises that he took down but there weren’t enough to go all around the plot. Trellises all around would have looked nice. I suppose I could have purchased the extra that was needed…now that I think about it, but I didn’t think about that then, and the fence is already up.

Well, I really like how this garden plot turned out. I fertilized the soil with some of the composted soil I made from the compost bin I had been working on since last summer and I also purchased bags of fertilizer and more composted manure. If you remember the compost bin I was worked on over last summer, it was tilled into the soil of another plot before it fully decomposed. After it was tilled I removed two large barrels of soil and set them aside for this new garden plot. I continued to water and turn the mixture of compost and soil as it sat directly under open sun for three weeks and sure enough it decomposed well and gave me nice nutrient rich fertile soil. When the soil was ready and when the fence for this  new plot was up, I poured all that good soil into the plot and so far all is looking well. I am very satisfied with how everything has turned out (so far:)).

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—–*—–

So I originally wrote those two paragraphs above in April. I wanted to get around to finishing that post but never actually sat down to do it until now. I made some adjustments to those paragraphs as far as talking about the dates are concerned but aside the dates…everything else I wrote is just about right. It’s now mid-May and the garden is still coming along pretty good. I planted summer squash, blue lake green beans, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, sugar pumpkins, and sweet peppers in that small plot. I hope they all grow well.  I made five long narrow raised rows and four small raised rows. The squash and the pumpkins are in the four small raised rows. The long rows are reserved for the green beans, snap peas, tomatoes and sweet peppers. I did take several pictures of the garden progress over the last three months and I’d like to share them with you.

The pictures below were taken in mid March when I first began planting the seeds. Some time around the time I began planting the flower garden and vegetable seeds I visited a local nursery and found a beautiful African Violet that I just had to purchase, and the baby succulents at the nursery looked so cute so I couldn’t resist not purchasing two of them. The day I decided to plant the seeds, my mother and I planted them together (I have to take every opportunity I can like this to spend time with my momma), and of course the pets wanted to spend the afternoon with us too so you’ll see a peek of them in these pictures.:)

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Nearly a month after I took the pictures above, the plot was set and rows were made and the seedlings were transplanted. Well, some seedlings were transplanted, others still hadn’t grown big enough for me to plant them yet, but they were on their way:

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I have been so excited to garden this year! So far it has been tons of fun…so fun. I’m happy with my little plot. I think it’s looking very nice,  and I’ll hopefully get a good bunch of fresh veggies out of it this summer. Lets keep our fingers crossed. And before I forget, I did plant corn in a long narrow plot and I am anticipating the result of that plot as I love sweet corn. So to update you all on my May gardening progress, here are the latest pictures I’ve taken of the garden which were taken earlier this morning:

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Sugar Pumpkins

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Blue Lake Green Beans

 

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Sweet Corn

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Beautiful baby corn seedlings. They’re currently ranging from 1 to 3 inches tall.

 

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Do you remember last summers garden plot? There are tomatoes, summer squash, and chili peppers growing there this year. So far the tomato plants are roughly two to three feet tall.

 

So all, gardening has been very therapeutic and refreshing. I am so thankful for the little blessings the Lord places in our lives. In all my teenage and young adult years…I never thought I would be one to truly embrace the lifestyle I lead now. Some days when I’m outside with the hens, watering the little seedlings and plants, I just have to close my eyes and smile… and thank the Him for being so awesome and so great. God is truly amazing. He really is. I’m not sure if you remember when I wrote that post several months ago about going through a difficult time…well, yes I have passed through a difficult time in life. I had a wound, but guess what? The healing process began and He has been there seeing me through it all. Jesus is Amazing. Life with Him is a day by day, moment by moment process that is so worth experiencing. Maybe someday I’ll share with you what all exactly I have been through, what all exactly I’ve passed through recently. But right now I don’t feel led to write about it…and who knows maybe it’s not meant for me to write about, but whether or not I do or if I don’t~ I hope that if you ever pass through something in your life that has you just utterly clinging on to the Lord, I encourage you to keep clinging on to Him. And dive into the bible to get watered, supplied, and refreshed. Don’t let yourself let go of the Lord. Keep hanging on tight. Keep reading the Word, go out and seek fellowship with other fellow believers and allow the Lord to shelter you during the storm. And everything will be okay.:)

…After spending time out in the garden this morning I came back inside the house and painted a large terra cotta pot. It felt like just the right day to do some unwinding like this. I had Francesca Battistelli’s song Write Your Story on replay today and painted away.:)  I love days like this. Thank you Jesus- you are so precious.

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It’s day by day all… getting through life is day by day… But getting through life is even moreso incredibly amazing when Jesus is right there walking with you, guiding you through, and carrying you through it all.

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Until next time…

Happy Gardening!

And~ Grace, peace, and blessings. <3

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Sunday Morning

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I took this picture yesterday morning.

When I opened my eyes yesterday, the first thing I did was whisper, “Good morning Lord Jesus. I love you, Lord Jesus.” Writing this now brings tears to my eyes because I love Him so much…and it has actually been a long time since I’ve woken up and told Him that… first thing in the morning.

Yesterday, was just me and God. I woke up and I spoke to Him and I had a long conversation with Him. I asked Him what it was He wanted to do for the day. When I arose I asked Him to take a walk with me outside around the gardens. I had seen that the roses were blossoming beautifully the day before and I wanted to go out and take a look at them, so we went outside He and I, and walked together,  and talked together. When I saw the pink roses I stopped and wanted to clip some. Pink is my favorite color and pink roses are by far my favorite flower. I asked Him what He thought about me clipping some flowers and I felt Him say that that would be a nice idea. So I gathered some pink roses and arranged them in a cracked glass cup that I didn’t want to throw away, and placed them on a windowsill. They’re still sitting there even now in that windowsill just as they are in that picture above.

Aren’t they beautiful?

As we continued along with our morning together, I showed Him how big the seedlings are growing. I planted them almost three weeks ago and they’re already sprouting forth and growing so tall.

I thanked Him for these little seedlings.

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Yesterday I told God that I missed Him, and that I wanted Him to be part of my life every second of every day.

…I don’t think it’s ever too late to tell the Lord that. I told Him I missed Him because I realized I wasn’t giving Him the first place in my life. He has very much so been part of my life…but in recent months I haven’t been giving Him the kind of love, faithfulness, and attention that I know He deserves.

So I spent a wonderful day with Him yesterday. And I spent another wonderful day with Him today.

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Walking with the Lord is a moment by moment, day by day sort of experience that is so worth giving a try. I do not know what I would do without Him in my life. I could never give Him up.

If you’re out there wondering what life would be like with the Lord more involved in your life, I encourage you to spend time with Him like this a little each day.  You’ll find spending time like this with Him will enrich your life in such a meaningful way. Life is just that much more beautiful with Him in it.

Spring Is Here

Spring flowers

March 20th- The Official First Day of Spring

Today is the Official First Day of Spring- and I have to admit I’ve been looking forward to the day when I could finally start planting seeds and flowers in the garden. Though the weather has practically been Spring-like these last three months here in Central Cal, the feeling of gardening season has barely begun to feel “alive”, so to say. A few weeks ago most all the gardening centers and nurseries began to receive their first spring shipments of annuals and perennials and soil and compost, pots and baby trees. I had visited Lowes’ gardening center a month ago and it was still pretty much empty, but I did purchase my seeds.

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When I went again last week I was so excited to finally see trucks outside unloading flowers and bushes and young trees which were all being stocked everywhere. Seeing flowers and smelling the sweet fragrance of jasmine and honeysuckle in the air at the garden center…not to mention soil, made me so excited for Spring planting and gardening.

I didn’t purchase any plants or flowers last week because I had went to Lowe’s for a different errand and only stopped by the garden center on my way out just to take a peek. However, I did take a careful look at the different flower varieties there and made a mental note on the ones I wanted to get when I was ready to begin gardening. I spotted some beautiful Ranunculus, and Impatiens, and Stocks. And when I saw those Ranunculus, I knew I had to return soon. SO, on Monday (this past Monday) I cleared out several flower beds and went to purchase some flowers and began planting.

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I planted the flowers and filled up some containers with soil and sowed the vegetable and herb seeds. While I was planting in the front yard, I had some company. The girls were curious and decided they wanted to keep me company after I tossed them some worms.

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Though, that probably wasn’t a good idea of me to let them hang around because not a few hours after I planted the flowers, did I return to see them dug up. At first I thought it was Barnes, because he was laying right next to the soil bags, but an eye witness informed me it was the hens. If they continue digging up the flowers, I’m going to have to close their access to the front yard, which I would hate to do because they enjoy their visits out front, but at the same time I don’t want them digging up flowers.

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The flower gardens in these pictures aren’t finished yet. More flowers need to be planted so to fill the empty spaces, and some mulch needs to be added over the soil, for nourishment and to keep the weeds away. Not that I’m not a fan of weeds, I do like some weeds like the edible kind…but in this case, so to keep the flowers healthy I think mulch is a good idea.

Most of the vegetable seeds I planted in containers will be transplanted into this garden plot once they sprout into healthy hardy seedlings. The fencing around this plot still needs to be put up (which will hopefully get done this weekend).

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The others will be planted here, and here:

(This is one long plot that measures approximately 15 yards. It will contain the herbs: basil, rosemary, parsley, chamomile, and thyme.  And some green beans might be planted along this row also.)

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Do you remember my compost pile? Well back in January, it was tilled into this plot. It hasn’t decomposed enough but I was told it should be fine to begin planting in it so it already has some veggie seeds sown into it. This picture was taken before the rows were made and seeds were planted.

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I’m not sure if you could tell that it has some horse manure and straw. In January a friend of mine gave me half a truck bed full of manure and I tilled it in with the compost and the soil. There are several large clumps of manure near the bottom of the picture shown above…that manure hadn’t fully decomposed yet. I watered this plot every day right up until the rows were made and seeds were planted in it.

Here are some more pictures I took so you can see for yourself how the compost/soil looked:

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Horse manure that almost looks like hay cubes.

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I’m curious to find out how well the seeds on this plot grow considering the compost was tilled into the soil before it was fully decomposed, but I’m told it should work out and do just fine…so we shall see.

Yes everyone, spring is finally here… time to rejoice, time to garden, time to refill those empty bird feeders… time to play.

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Happy Spring Gardening!

So sorry for my absence

Dearest Readers,

The paragraph you see below was what I wrote last night…

As I write this blog post it is 9:15 p.m. (pst), the thirteenth of March 2014, and it has been nearly three months since I’ve last written a post on my blog. As I scroll through my dashboard, scroll through my blog, scroll down my Reader… I can’t believe I have not written a post in such a long time- especially when I really wanted to many many times. This evening as I sat quietly in bed thinking about things I decided that it was time for me to write, and not just to write, but write on my blog. It was time for me to post something.

I was deep in thought when I began writing last night, and had known what exactly it was that I wanted to say, to type down. But then I got a phone call and by the time the call ended it was past midnight. I felt the need to write from my heart last night and I surprised myself when I took out the laptop and signed on WordPress to begin sharing my thoughts and my feelings on the blog. I have wanted to write a post on my blog several times before last night but never did. When New Years came around, I wanted to write a Happy New Year to you all post. When something exciting came around I wanted to share about it and post pictures of those things. I meant to wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day. My 1 year blog anniversary came around on February the 19th and I wanted to celebrate it with you all- after all, this blog community has been part of my life for an entire year. I wanted to write about our drought. California has been facing a serious major drought. I think it’s almost accurate to say that we hardly had a winter, it was all warmth and sun for the most part in January, February, and even March.  There was so much that I wanted to write and say and share… but I couldn’t get myself to post something and the words wouldn’t come out.

I know my absence might have worried some of you or had you wonder what all happened to me. “Where did she go?” you might have thought. I do apologize for not staying connected and keeping you all informed, for not keeping you updated. I apologize if I had you concerned.

As much as I would like to share and write about everything going on in my personal life, I don’t think it would be right of me to write it all down. I can’t do that right now at least. Maybe I will touch on some things later, but I don’t think I should right now. The truth is, the past couple of months have been filled with blessings and joy, and happiness, and love…and love from the Father above… but they have also been filled with loss and heartache. It is the little in everything that has kept me away from posting. I have been okay though. By now, I’m used to experiencing the mountains and the valleys… to me, that’s just part of life. And sometimes, life requires that I keep my focus and energy on certain things… and certain persons. And certain persons was where my attention has been lately. I feel I needed to let you all know what has kept me away for so long because I really do appreciate you and I enjoy blogging. But though I blog, life still runs its course and this time it had me going through quite a process. Like a painting, a painting begins as a blank canvas and the painter adds and removes, adds and removes until he sees a masterpiece. I see times and life experiences such as the ones I’ve been experiencing lately as God tearing me down and molding me and rebuilding me. And though sometimes the process is painful, I thank Him for allowing me to choose Him and for allowing me to give my life to Him. I want Him to have His free way with me so that He could make me what He needs. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I am so glad my life is in His hands and that He’s the master artist… turning me into His master piece. But more than that, He is God. He is my God and He’s the Best.

There is a hymn that I appreciate so much by Annie Johnson Flint titled God Hath Not Promised Skies Always Blue. That hymn describes how the Lord has never promised us that once we became saved and began our walk with Him that our lives would always be smooth sailing. In fact, there will be trials and difficulties, but although those things may come, somehow, because we have the Lord, life is still sweet, trials and difficulties become bearable and though we might be experiencing sorrow…we can still feel the Lord’s grace all around us, carrying us, sustaining us, and bearing us.

I would like to write another post soon, updating you on what’s been going on around here (home with the pets, the compost, and the garden). It feels as if Spring is already here in California and I can’t wait to begin gardening. I have already gotten my hands in the dirt this past week (I couldn’t wait) and I would love to document my gardening progress on the blog. I’ll also be getting some baby chicks tomorrow, which will be my first time raising chicks. Before this new year I had hoped to develop some kind of blogging schedule, but right now I just have to take it one post at a time. And right now I need to sign offline for the day but before I do I would just like to touch on one more thing. If any of you out there are discouraged or going through a difficult time… I would like to encourage you to keep trusting in the Lord. Don’t let go of Him and hold on tight. Even if what you’re holding on with is that last little fiber on a string. Tell Him, “Lord, I need You.” “Lord, strengthen me with the Power of Your spirit into my inner man.” ( That prayer is from the verse in Ephesians 3:16) And if you don’t even have the energy or the strength to say that, just breathe out His name, “Jesus, Lord Jesus.”  When I go through hardship and trials, or when I have those days that I just feel so discouraged or exhausted, I ask the Lord to carry me. I ask Him to hug me, to hold me. I tell Him “Lord, I can’t do it, I need You to do it. I need You to guide me through this day, I need You to get me through this day. Carry me through this day, Lord.” If you ask Him to be there for you, I guarantee you He will. Your day may not be perfect, your situation might not change, but something within you will be calm and collected and peaceful, and sober- and that is the Lord getting you through.

Matthew 19:29   ” And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for My name’s sake shall receive a hundred times as much and shall inherit eternal life.”

Ephesians 3:16   “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His spirit into the inner man,”

The times are changing, the age is changing, but oh how I appreciate how the Lord’s Word never changes. His Word is steady and stable, righteous and just, living and life.

Until next time all, grace- peace- & blessings!  <3

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“God hath not promised skies always blue, flower-strewn path ways all our lives through. God hath not promised sun without rain, joy without sorrow peace without pain. But God hath promised strength for the day, rest for the labor, light for the way. Grace for the trials, help from above, unfailing sympathy, undying love…”

-Annie Johnson Flint

Scenes From Home

These past several weeks have been very busy ones, and so that’s why I haven’t posted anything since late November. Time does fly by so fast and I hope you all have been well. And that you had an enjoyable BLESSED Thanksgiving day. The holidays are in full swing now and so much has been going on around my side of the world. Living in California, there’s always much to do around here. Though I have been MIA for the past several weeks on the posting side of things, I have been coming around whenever I got the chance, to read your blogs. I’ve also taken many pictures of different things since I last wrote the last post. But instead of sharing what you all might already see from California, I thought to share a few pictures from home. Pictures of my babies— the boys and the girls (the pups and the hens). And share some of their little adventures with you.

The missing feathers from behind Frances’ neck, if you can remember (you can read that post here: Just A Regular Day), I think were due to her first molt, and not caused from a pup attack. She has been doing perfectly fine ever since her broodiness and mysterious bald spot. Her feathers in the back of her neck have grown back (I’ve been keeping close track on the feather regrowth), and she began laying again two weeks ago. She’s been laying one a egg a day along with the other girls. Though sometimes I only get two eggs a day. All three girls have been having a fun time adjusting to the change of weather, the colder temperatures and coming winter. Barred Rocks are a quite a hardy breed though and I’m sure they’ll get through their first winter just fine.

We have also had our first frost and have had several freezing icy frosty nights and mornings. I took several pictures of our first frost outdoors and the girls’ experience stepping out onto frosty grass. We almost had a chance of snow here in Kern County last Saturday, which was exciting! But, it didn’t snow. Though it was very cold that weekend and our mountains did get snow.

Barne’s who is typically an outdoor dog, hasn’t been spending his evenings outdoors lately. He’s been inside nice and cozy cuddled with an afghan inside, sleeping toasty by the heater. Tyson didn’t like that Barney was coming inside in the evenings at first— but he has gotten used to it. Oh! So I thought I would train Tyson to get used to being outside running around with the girls… but guess whose out there hanging out with them now? It’s Barnes. Low and behold, it is Barnes who has been running freely in the same yard with the hens. That little gopher/bird hunter is actually doing well in the yard with the them. Three days ago I had let the girls out of the coop when the pups were running freely in the yard. And Barney didn’t do anything, but Tyson was wanting to play with them. So I took Tyson inside and went back out to observe Barnes, and he was just minding his own business. And I was glad to see that. Before you let your dogs out around your chickens though! Please do keep in mind that Barney was around them the entire Summer and Fall. I had him either inside a homemade crate next to the girls when they were out free ranging, or he was tied up near them while they were out. So I think doing that for those few hours a day actually trained him to get used to them. He was a lonely pet for a long while, he lost his momma back in February of this year and he witnessed her illness and her death.

I got the hens in May, so maybe getting them was a good thing for him. Though he didn’t like them at first, and spent many days barking at them, I think he actually grew quite fond of them. They were his only company for several months before Tyson came in the picture. And though I think Barne’s and Tyson like each other, I don’t think Barney appreciates the puppy always wanting to play and biting his feet and his ears. Dachshunds have very sensitive ears and sensitive long spines. So the pup is very energetic and pretty rough. Barney is still trying to adjust to the puppies energies and growth spurts. But well! That was one of my goals checked off the list! Having Barney (since he’s the outdoor dog) get along in the yard with the girls. He spent Wednesday and Yesterday all day in the same yard with the girls without a crate and a leash, and they got along just fine. So I am happy about that. They look so cute in the same yard together! A dachshund and three hens- Friends! Amazing!:) I’ve always seen dogs around barn yard animals, but it seemed impossible trying to get Barne’s used other animals, as he has hunting embedded deep into his nature. So I think it’s very neat that they’re all four getting along just fine. —Now to the get pup used to the hens.

Well all, it’s the holidays and these days are pretty busy but I will try to make some more time to share some recipes and other little things going on out here around town. I love this time of year! And there’s a lot of Christmas festive-like activities going on. Such as plays and holiday light shows and concerts… I’ll be volunteering at our local Zoo, CALM, soon too. They’re having Holiday Lights at CALM nights, and I’ll be volunteering with some friends…we’re going to be Elfs! :) I’ve never been an elf so that’s going to be an experience!;) I do wish you all the best of days this Holiday season!

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Our first frost. It was beautiful. Frost in my area is as close as we’ll get to anything icy. I’d have to travel forty minutes up the mountains for snow.

More frosty leaves. I took a lot of pictures of different frosty things but I think I'll only show you these two leave pictures as I have other pictures to still show you.

More frosty leaves. I took a lot of pictures of different frosty things but I think I’ll only show you these two leaf pictures as I have other pictures to still show you.

The girls stepping out into their first frosty morning, and wondering "what's this cold prickly white stuff underneath my feet..."

The girls stepping out into their first frosty morning, and wondering “what’s this cold prickly white stuff underneath my feet…”

Trying to look for worms and insects. Girls I don't think you'll find any there.

Trying to look for worms and insects. Girls I don’t think you’ll find any there.

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Henrietta: “I think I found something.”

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All the flowers and plants have died out and have gone dormant.

Early in the mornings, our water outdoor water pipes are somewhat non-operable, and the water we do get out sometimes turns to ice once it hits cold floor.

Early in the mornings, our water outdoor water pipes are somewhat non-operable, and the water we do get out sometimes turns to ice once it hits cold floor.

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The hens’ water bowls were frozen. I have to make sure I dump all the water bowls out at night and refill them again in the morning. A friend of mine gifted me a set of these Chinese soup bowls and I like using them for the girls’ water bowls.  I absolutely  love them.

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My poor plants...I had forgotten to cover them or bring them inside before the ice arrived.

My poor plants…I had forgotten to cover them or bring them inside before the ice arrived. This one is going to hopefully be okay.

Scenes from within the Chicken Coop early one morning right after the sun came out:

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Bella and Frances drinking some nice warm water.

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Frances feathers have grown back, and her comb has grown again and turned nice and red.

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Here  they are again, getting passed the side of the house and trying to make their way up to the front yard, where there are trees and lots of fallen leaves…and a lot more insects.

Barney enjoying his nice warm bed indoors, near the heater.

Barney enjoying his warm bed indoors.

Alas! Here’s the highlight of the week: Dog and hens getting along.

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Have a great weekend all! And if you live out in the snow… make sure to build a snow man!:)

Until next time!<3

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

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It has been raining a lot these past several days.

These overcast days and 50 °F temperatures have been so soothing to my nature loving soul. I spend every second I can outside, whether be it driving somewhere or going on walks, or just sitting on the porch enjoying the rain drops splashing on the concrete, on the tree leaves.

I took Barne’s for a walk yesterday morning and the sight was beautiful. Fog was amidst and we walked through it.

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We were high up on a hill and encountered a lovely experience with mother nature herself.

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As we walked along the dirt path, we encountered a trio taking their horses for a ride, and a hiker or two making their way up to the top.

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I hike these hills sometimes, or ride, or run on occasion as well. These hills and I go way back.

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As the fog began to move, and Barne’s and I had reached our turning point, we stopped and rested… and watched, and listened.

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When we began our walk back, we were caught underneath a cloud full of pouring rain.

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We ran half a mile in… the pouring rain. Pouring rain. And it was very cold.

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What an experience he and I had together out that day, underneath God’s powerful heavenly sky.

As we both warmed up and were getting ready to leave, we looked out the window, and said one last goodbye to,

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our heavens in the hilly skies.

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Pray To What Earth

Pray to what earth does this sweet cold belong,
Which asks no duties and no conscience?
The moon goes up by leaps, her cheerful path
In some far summer stratum of the sky,
While stars with their cold shine bedot her way.
The fields gleam mildly back upon the sky,
And far and near upon the leafless shrubs
The snow dust still emits a silver light.
Under the hedge, where drift banks are their screen,
The titmice now pursue their downy dreams,
As often in the sweltering summer nights
The bee doth drop asleep in the flower cup,
When evening overtakes him with his load.
By the brooksides, in the still, genial night,
The more adventurous wanderer may hear
The crystals shoot and form, and winter slow
Increase his rule by gentlest summer means

— Henry David Thoreau

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(the location where we walked is known as Hilly Skies)