Beauty is in the Sty of the Beholder

Well, Friends. I’ve decided to lay things on the line with you a little more honestly concerning our Green Acres Adventure.

Last night, I glanced around our pigsty feeling discouraged at the sad and messy state of affairs. I was looking at ugly, dug out areas of dead grass and dirt where there was once lush, green grass as smooth as a golf course. I looked at our five pigs completely covered in mud and they were almost unrecognizable to me because their individual patterns were covered so thickly in the mud. The distinct feeling I had was that of frustration and disappointment that these five little animals could do such damage in such a huge animal pen. What pigs! 😉

Then, I looked directly to my right and smiled as I saw the picture above just waiting to be taken. Right there, behind the ugly mud hole the pigs wallow in every day to protect themselves from the heat, was a bouquet of bright yellow flowers that had pushed its way through a tiny crack in the watering system.
That vision pretty much sums up our summertime experiences on the ranch. Beauty pushing its way through tiny, amazing moments sandwiched between lots of work, sweat, bugs, and unwelcome reptiles.

Just last night, many of you saw the amazing pictures I was able to take of the summer solstice sunset. Absolutely breathtaking in every way imaginable as The Outdoorsman and I spent the final moments of the day fishing and taking pictures over our large pond. What you did not see right before those pictures were taken was a “discussion” about my frustration with the pigs and their “pig-like” behavior, the fact that I almost stepped on ANOTHER huge snake while out for a walk with the dogs, and the fact that a small cricket invasion had apparently taken place only moments before the pictures and were currently covering our house. We were able to experience beauty at the end of a not-so-pleasant evening of bugs, reptiles, and dirtiness.

There are, most definitely, unbelievably beautiful moments which take my breath away every day here on the ranch; however, in between those moments, is a lot of dirty, unpleasant work concerning animals, mowing, and staying ahead of the bugs and critters that invade our thirty acres on a regular basis.  This summer, I have seen more snakes up close than I have seen in my entire lifetime.  Huge, black snakes along with Copperheads seem to have taken over our land this summer.  Along with the snakes, I have come in close proximity to four different scorpions just in time to keep from being stung. In one day, I actually got stung four different times by wasps and another unknown stinging insect that hurt like the dickens.  That was the first time I have ever been stung in my life and it happened four times in one day!  This summer has been trying for me concerning snakes and biting insects, no doubt.  I have had to push through my walks with our dogs without being too jumpy or paranoid during the entire walk.

The moral of this little blog is to let you all know that living on a ranch definitely isn’t for the faint-hearted.  I appreciate Ma and Pa Ingalls more and more every single day. Am I still loving our decision to move here? I will answer that with an undeniable YES!  Is it a lot harder than I thought it would be?  Yes, again!  Is it worth it? Absolutely, Yes!  The Outdoorsman and I definitely have our work cut out for us here on Green Acres, but our hope and dream is to create a welcoming place for our children, their future families, and our family and friends to visit.  We have decided that we may need to host more visits in the non-summer months due to the critters that show up during the heat.

If you and your family decide to bite the bullet like we did and move to a farm or ranch, just remember that the beauty is always enough to balance out the work, but you must search for beauty amid the mud at times.  It is actually a lot like real life.  Sometimes you have to go through really difficult, unpleasant seasons of life to get to the the easier, more glorious stages of life.  While at the ranch,  I choose to capture the beautiful moments via pictures in order to remind myself of the value of what we are doing.  Nothing can replace the beauty of the sunset, the feeling of picking your own dewberries and making homemade jam with your daughters, the taste of freshly laid eggs, cracking pecans that grow on your own land, and the feeling of the breeze while you are walking around every evening.  It is worth the sweaty, unpleasant moments to be able to experience the satisfaction of successfully raising food and animals and seeing the way God provided for us through nature.

When your are living in the country, you must choose to smile at the bright yellow flowers growing right beside the filthy mud-hole in your pigsty.  It reminds us of our need to find beauty in hard, unpleasant work at times. Beauty is, it seems, in the sty of the beholder.

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