Zipper Learns a Lesson

Just self-published my first children’s book. It is available on Amazon. It is a story about a young rabbit who does not listen to his mother and has a very close call with both a fox and an eagle. I’m very excited about this. Working on the Kindle edition of it but I’m having a lot of formatting problems so a paperback is all that is available right now. Check it out & let me know what you think!

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Our Country Life

Living out in the country has its advantages. There is a peacefulness that is incomparable to city life. The pace of life is much more relaxed and the stress level is nearly zero when weighed against the hustle and bustle of hoards of humanity rushing through their daily routines.

We moved from the city seven years ago to a little place (5 acres) nestled in the woods about 7 miles from town on the side of a mountain. Here we don’t have to be reminded to stop and smell the roses for we have the advantage of a variety of fragrances permeating the air around the clock. The biggest adjustment we had to make was slowing down our lives. We no longer had to schedule in extra travel time for possible traffic jams, don’t have to fight the mobs of people at the stores or be afraid to say hello to a stranger and there is a leisurely pace that was almost annoying in the beginning and now is ingrained into our routines.

The cashier at the grocery store asks about our week and truly wants to hear about the new baby goats, the shipment of specialty chickens arriving in the next day or so, the family visiting next week or our son being accepted into college on a scholarship. Stopping to pick up the mail may take 20-30 minutes because three neighbors stopped to ask about our week and then shared that they just bought a prize bull, their daughter was voted in as this year’s Rodeo Queen, their first-time mama goat is giving a quart of milk a day and still has plenty for her twins or their son (or daughter) was just accepted into college.

Oh, you still have responsibilities and a primary schedule for accomplishing things. And, if you have a job, there is still the time clock to face but the whole attitude toward life is different! You work hard and then you enjoy resting. There doesn’t seem to be the drive to dash through the day and then collapse in the evening, although I’m sure there are still some who do just that.

We have a leisurely breakfast each day and then go about our daily tasks. We don’t play the radio during the day usually and are often entertained by the songs performed “live” throughout the day featuring solos from doves, quail, finches, canaries, sparrows and swallows. Then there are the special contributions made by various hens announcing new arrivals, met with approving clucks from their girlfriends as Joseph, the rooster with a coat of many colors, struts proudly through the chicken corral, taking credit for his accomplishments! The goat kids bounce and climb and supervise the entire list of my husband’s chores in the small pastures, the mamas silently oversee everything while restfully chewing their cuds. The herd dog keeps everyone safely together and the guard dog keeps all predators away. The cats control the mice and the house dogs lie patiently waiting for us to stop our busyness in order to cuddle into our laps for the evening.

About twilight begins our nightly concert. The crickets and frogs and owls begin their serenade as stars begin to twinkle and a soft billowy breeze passes through the pastures and barnyard. Often in the distance can be heard the chatter of coyotes signaling to one another. These “song dogs”, as they are commonly called by country folk, are gathering for their nightly trek to a familiar hunting ground. Listening carefully one can almost put words to their unique calls. Maybe a single animal will announce its presence and then there may be a lone response or sometimes a group seems to say: “We’re over here and headed your way. Meet us at the pond and we’ll figure out where to go next.” Then suddenly off in the distance there may be a young song dog calling to say: “Hey guys, wait for me, I’m coming too!”

As they begin to gather, their voices blend together, sometimes beautiful and sometimes harsh – somewhat like a lovely ballad being interrupted by a burst of hard rock. But then they blend again and fade with their passing and all becomes peaceful once more – the crickets, frogs and owls picking up the refrain. Throughout the night we may hear a single verse now and again; just like someone has song stuck in their head, repeating it casually every so often. And then, before you know it, a new chorus of chirping, tweeting, clucking, crowing, baaing and mooing brings the countryside to life and another new day is ushered in for us to enjoy!

Henrietta – My Wild Friend

As I stood at the kitchen sink this morning, cleaning up breakfast dishes, I enjoyed the light breeze wafting through the window and the soft rays of sunshine warming my face. Once again the day was bright and beautiful; bringing not only warmth and sunshine but an abundance of fragrances from the multitude of wildflowers blooming in the fields nearby.

The melodies of the songbirds and the chattering conversations of the barn swallows that are using our porch rafters as their haven floated through the air as God reminded me once again of His supernatural abilities by sharing His creation with me. What a blessing to start my day. It helps me stay focused on Him as I maneuver through the obstacles which confront me as the hours pass! But this morning something was missing.

About a year ago on just such a morning, I discovered a different instrument among the morning chorus that I had become used to hearing. It was just a subtle change in the harmonics and I couldn’t quite recognize it. It was softly pleasant although slightly different.

When I later went to feed our chickens I discovered the new musician standing in the middle of our small barnyard. She was elegant and proud and just a bit shy. She scuttled to the hen house and nimbly hopped onto the roof as she surveyed my strange movements. There she stood poised like a sophisticated aristocrat as I tried to ignore her while secretly keeping one eye on her just as she kept one eye on me. As I went about giving everyone their breakfast, I managed to toss a small helping of grain her way but really only succeeded in spooking her from her perch on the roof. She didn’t go far; just a safe distance until I left the enclosure and she tip-toed back to the grain offering, all the while keeping her “eagle eye” on me.

Actually, it was her “turkey eye” that watched every movement I made. She was a beautiful, full-grown hen and that day she began her love affair with our rooster named Joseph.   He had been named Joseph because the variety of colors reflected in his feathers reminded me of the coat of many colors made for Joseph in the Bible. My husband named our new family member “Henrietta” and we saw her every morning while feeding.

Sometimes she would spend hours trying to figure out how to get back to the chicken pen for our pastures all had field fence across them to keep our goats from straying too far from home. She literally wore paths along the fence line and would traipse back and forth all day; then suddenly appear back in the barnyard near the chicken pen about an hour before we put our animals away for the night. Often Henrietta would roost in a high tree next to the chicken pen, but windy nights would drive her into hiding somewhere in the low bushes nearby. She was always at breakfast every morning!

The winter chill set in and we were sure she would disappear. We never saw a tom turkey with her so we knew we were her only family. Even as days grew colder and the snow and ice began to appear, Henrietta always had her meals at our barnyard table with her new flock of friends and her handsome love interest. Although chickens and turkeys are not always compatible, Henrietta patiently spent her time in and around our barnyard and chicken pen. On winter days when we did not see her, we always spotted the one lonely set of turkey tracks all around the pen and knew she had been visiting again.

We felt so good to know that we had helped Henrietta through the winter months. She came into spring looking healthy and strong and stayed close to our chickens. Occasionally I would arrive in the barnyard unexpectedly during mid-day on a weekend. There I would find her scrutinizing the hay barn or milk room. Although she spent many hours with us, she was much more comfortable with the animals than us humans. I had often seen her walk casually through the goat pen deftly dodging the curious kids without as much as a ruffled feather. However, if I accidentally came upon her too quickly, she would gently spread her massive wings, give a little hop and be sailing over the fence, down to the creek and up the other side of the hill, a mere six to eight feet off the ground.   I would watch her settle in the pasture across the creek among the scraggly oak trees and call out my apology to her and ask her to come home. She would – when she was ready!

As we went into mid-spring, Henrietta’s visits were weekly rather than daily and we hoped she had found a wild mate to start her own little brood. Another family nearby had reported that she would visit them occasionally and feed was always available to her. We relaxed in the assurance that if she was not with us she was at the neighbor’s house.

It has now been about six weeks since we have seen or heard from Henrietta. We miss her presence and her cheerful, chirping voice. The daily chorus seems incomplete yet still beautiful to my ears each morning. I miss the chuckle I always got while watching her flirt with Joseph, yet my prayer is that she found her soul mate and has not become prey to coyote, cougar or man.

I will always miss her and will hope for her return. The Bible tells us all things have their season and I am blessed to have shared a least one season with Henrietta. Maybe someday soon she will return with a mate and a brood of little Henrys and Henriettas and they will all join the morning chorus I so love to hear!

Writing Is My Dream

Hello My Friends:

It has been a while since I posted anything here.  I am considerably new at blogging but since I enjoy writing I thought it would be good experience for me.  I have published my first book “Hanging By a Thread” and I am almost ready to release my second book which is a children’s story.  It is called “Zipper Learns a Lesson.”

I would love to have an exciting and fun blog site.  Will you  help me by commenting and / or liking my blog?  Today I am posting a short article – let me know what you think.