saying goodbye

Pardon me while I blubber...

but we had the saddest of evenings tonight. You know that part of Charlotte's Web when the animals are at the fair and Charlotte doesn't get to go back home with them?  Even though you know it's true, you wait, holding your breath to see if maybe, just maybe she'll somehow appear again in Wilbur's crate?  And that sadness that overwhelms you when you realize she's not there and never will be again? This is how I felt tonight when we said goodbye to our animals.

It was hard on all of us. Phil, his dad, and Caleb, our little shepherd boy, drove away at 10:00 this evening, hauling 14 sheep and 9 steers in a cattle trailer. The men will drive all night so they can be at the auction first thing tomorrow morning. I know this is going to sound pathetic, but we stood in the rain at the end of our driveway crying our eyes out and the kids wailed at the top of their lungs, "Goodbye forever, sheepies and cows...we'll miss you...why do you have to go...Daddy, please bring them back." I kept wondering if our neighbors could hear us. We watched until the truck and trailer were out of sight, then headed upstairs to brush our teeth and pile into my bed to watch Muppet Babies on You Tube. Isn't that what you would do if someone drove away with your farm animals?

Last week, we were having to keep a close eye on one of our sheep who was having trouble walking. She was older and the only female who did not have babies this summer. Last Sunday, Phil walked in the house and said quietly, "I need to go dig a hole now." I knew exactly what that meant. At that moment, I was snuggled up with my girls watching a Christmas episode of Little House on the Prairie. Right after he told me this, I had to watch Mr. Edwards give Laura and Mary their tin cups and peppermint sticks. Talk about heart-wrenching!

I love how my 9 year old tried to comfort his little brother this afternoon..."Caleb, don't worry. They're not all going away. One is staying here. The dead one."  Thanks, Jared.

So now I have this terrible ache in my heart and an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. This from a girl who said months ago about farm life, "This just isn't me."

I'm not sure how long it will be until I can go out to those empty stalls again.


a little bit of Christmas

I tried to blog last night and post a few pictures of our Christmas preparations around here, but it seems I've used up my 1 GB in my Picasa-Blogger album. I tried to go through and delete a few pictures, but Picasa wouldn't let me log into my account. :(

I'm sitting here drinking coffee with a bit of pumpkin spice eggnog, listening to Christmas music and my kids are doing schoolwork. Yes, it's Saturday, but they grabbed their folders with Monday's work and insisted on doing their schoolwork. Does this sound like a dream or what?

So, without pictures, here is what I'm loving about this season...

I love how our home looks with Christmas lights. Last year we were in renovation survival mode and we were fortunate enough to get lights up inside the house. I put garland and red bows up on our white fences facing the road, but our cows chewed them up. I was sorely disappointed. It lasted about 4 days. But let me tell you, it looked very charming as you drove up the road.

I love that a wood burning stove heats our home. It's so cozy in the fall and winter and the smell is heavenly.

I love the fact that we've had animals this year and I can smell the smells and hear the sounds of the very first Christmas. It's made such an impact on me. When I go out to the stalls, I think to myself, He did this for me? It isn't lovely at all.

We're moving in 1 month and, while I should be packing, I'm so thankful that this season has caused me to slow down and unpack a few things like our Christmas decorations. Doing this has ushered me into this season of remembering Emmanuel. A gentle reminder that God is with me. As difficult as life can be sometimes, God is with us. I've needed this reminder.