Winter Solstice

December 21, 2017.  Today is the Winter Solstice and it almost slipped my mind that today marks the two-year anniversary of our move to Green Acres. Two years!  Hard to believe in so many aspects.

Two years ago today, our family drove onto our land as the sun was setting and casting a glorious bright pink hue on the darkening night sky over our new home.  Little did we know that sunset heralded in a lifetime of sunsets like we have never experienced.  We arrived in our over sized U-haul truck driven by the Outdoorsman and our faithful dog, Oak, and two other loaded down vehicles driven by my son and me. We turned down our long, newly paved driveway and met some movers who proceeded to entertain us as they carried our heavy furniture into the small farmhouse. Everything seemed dark and unfamiliar to me that first night on the farm.  Days of unpacking and a sparse, thrown-together Christmas celebration followed during that first week at our new home.

Two glorious years have sped by and it seems as if I have never lived anywhere else. The experiences and memories that we have created in our new home have made it seem like a decade of our lives have transpired since we arrived.  The only way we are sure that we haven’t been here longer is that many of our family and friends are now far away from us in other cities.  We are disappointed that we don’t get to see them as frequently as we would like due our responsibilities with our jobs and our farm animals.  Thank goodness, many of them have been able to make a visit to Green Acres at some point over the past two years.

Since arriving here two years ago, the amount of learning that has occurred has been monumental.  As far as the Outdoorsman and I are concerned, we have learned how to raise healthy young cows with minimal cost, how to manage and control donkeys who guard our livestock, how to keep 26 pigs fat and happy, how to keep sheep healthy and alive, how to keep chickens safe and laying eggs, how to care for a pack of dogs who help guard the farm, and how cats can actually be helpful by hunting mice, moles, and gophers. We are now official farmers and feel the pressure of keeping animals fed and safe on a daily basis.

The unexpected blessings in all of this are many.  The enormous gain in the amount of family time we have had with our three children has been our biggest blessing.  Our newest blessing is our soon-to-be daughter-in-law, who arrived in our lives only months ago, yet feels like she has been here all along.  For my blog, her name will be Beautiful Soul.   Her family hails from several different continents and, I believe, it is what makes her heart special and able to love more than just one continent’s worth of people.  Just my opinion.  We have had the blessing of frequently hosting Braveheart, Beautiful Soul, Miss Sunshine, The Trooper and many of their friends over the past two years.  I am so eternally grateful for our proximity to all three of our children and for the opportunity to know and love on their friends whenever provided the opportunity!!  Just this week, we were able to cook dinner and host some of Braveheart’s friends and one of Miss Sunshine’s sweet friends.  It is always a joy to spend unexpected time with their close college friends.

Another unexpected blessing for me has shown up in the form of a new hobby. Many of you have seen hundreds of photographs I have taken on Green Acres over the past two years.  That hobby has just happened all on its own.  There was never a time I decided to become a photographer.  It has just happened naturally and is quickly becoming one of my favorite past times.  At the end of almost every day, I change into old clothes and meander around our land with our dogs and, almost always, along the way there is something special or beautiful that catches my eye and causes me to stop and snap some pictures with my phone.  I have never used any camera other than my phone and it has been remarkable the scenes that have been captured without any special lens, filter, or talent.  Just an eye for natural beauty.  God has provided the backdrop on a daily basis and it has only required me to take notice of His beautiful creation and capture it in pictures along the way.

The past two years has been dotted with blessings for our family in the shape of new jobs, new friends, new experiences, and new memories for our family.  We have been so thankful to the local people who have embraced us as their own and willingly given us their time and expertise about country life, livestock, farming, canning, local traditions, and life in general.  They have made our last two years memorable and much easier by sharing knowledge and know-how with us in a generous and loving way.  We truly appreciate the local people in our church, school, and community.

I just couldn’t let this day pass without giving a nod to our two-year anniversary which also coincides with the Winter Solstice this year.  It is the shortest day of the year, but it rings in the time of year that has the most meaning for us here on Green Acres.  We heartily welcome the arrival of winter on Green Acres and are anticipating time spent with our children and families in the coming days.  There will be food, fires, s’mores, hayrides, gifts, hot chocolate, movies, walks, and memories intermingled with our celebration of the birth of Christ and thankfulness for all that God has done for our family.  Not just for our life at Green Acres, but for the eternal life we have with Him that we can be so very thankful for during this Christmas Season.

 

 

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