When Winter Ends

In the past two weeks, we have seen sure signs that Winter is slowly meandering her way back North. Green grass growing in every direction you glance. The unexpected return of ants, crickets, wasps, spiders, and moths. The longer days accompanied by the sudden need to get things done before sweltering Summer strolls into view.

The Outdoorsman and I are making plans over dinner every single evening as to how to secure our animals to keep snakes, scorpions, and spiders at bay in our pens and coops. At times, it seems like a full-time job just keeping everything alive and safe from unwanted visitors and predators that encroach our fence lines. Unwanted reptiles, invading insects, neighboring dogs, feral hogs, and wandering coyotes are the main culprits that cause our ceaseless pursuit. We are trying to stay ahead of all of them by creating pens and housing that can keep everyone safe and happy at the same time. Even though we have done a respectable job for former City Slickers, we have still had the occasional breach is security when feral hogs have made their way into our pens, snakes have made their way into our feed room, and scorpions have made their way into our house. (Unfortunately, I’m not kidding about any of those.) Who would have thought the girl born and raised in Houston, Texas would have come face-to-face with any of those things?

This winter has been a pretty intense one in Texas terms. Months of colder-than-average temperatures combined with wind, rain, ice, and snow have persuaded us to spend most of our hours indoors for the past three months. To be honest, it has been amazing, at times, to feel the cold wind on our faces during feeding time with the animals. The animals have fared well due to the skill of The Outdoorsman and his ability to build the perfect winter headquarters for our outdoor animals.  I am so grateful for his ability to create what we dream up in our minds even though there is no picture to view as a blueprint.  Just hours of conversations and negotiations between the two of us as our ideas finally meld into a vision that he, through his hammer, turns into reality.

Even though winter is my favorite season, I am ready to see green grass again.  The days of feeding our animals have been long and challenging at times this winter and we are ready to let our animals graze on grass for the months ahead instead of relying on us to provide hay, cubes, and corn for them as they have this winter.   In fact, the cacophony of sounds we hear as we open the door in the mornings is almost deafening due to their insistence on being fed whenever they see either The Outdoorsman or me.  It is absolutely deafening when all three donkeys are braying, the sheep are bleating, the pigs are oinking, and the cows are mooing all at one time.  I never knew a barnyard could be so raucous.  I am ready for the gentle sounds of contentment that ensue with the abundance of fresh grass for all of our farm animals.

As with the scenery surrounding us, this spring will bring many changes.  Beautiful, colorful changes to a wintry landscape.  Our oldest child, Brave Heart, will be graduating from The University of Texas in May and getting married to Beautiful Soul the next weekend.  Our family will be growing and changing in a good way and we could not be happier to welcome Beautiful Soul into the family.  In addition to those changes, Miss Sunshine, The Trooper, and I will all be busy wrapping up our school year, The Outdoorsman will be doing some much-needed work on the farm, and we will all be focusing on the things we love: God, our family, our friends, our animals, and Green Acres.

We welcome you, Spring, with your abundant sunshine, colorful additions to the landscape, and a beautiful addition to our family!

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