Archives for category: Animals

When I met my Husband, he had a young throw away shepherd lab mix named Hydro. I had a rescue greyhound still using his track name, Bojack.

Bojack was diagnosed with cancer a month before we were expecting our first child. He died 2-1/2 months after Reade was born. Hydro continued on.

We moved (aka gloriously camped) into a house we were still building, birthed two more children, were adopted by a lot of cats and some horses, and then Rocky came into our world. That was eleven years and two more children ago.

Rocky is a Louisiana Catahoula mix. We knew his mama and she was 100% Catahoula. Rocky, at 6mo old, was going to be thrown away to the shelter. So we brought him home.

Hydro trained up Rocky on where to hunt, how to herd children and horses, and where the best spots on the bed and the floor were. About two years later at nearly 16yo, Hydro took a very peaceful natural last breath here at South of the Fork.

Gretel, our only sought after dog – a miniature schnauzer, made her debut a few years later and a year later another throw away shepherd lab puppy, Daisy, made her way to us.

It became Rocky’s role to now train the girls up to do the work he took over from Hydro. He is a good teacher. They are lousy learners.

Blonde Daisy, Speckled Rocky, Silver Gretel

Rocky is now getting tired. He has been in renal failure for two years. He has to wear a “male wrap” inside. It rarely is wet anymore because his body just is not working like it once did. He is winding down.

I plopped myself in the floor the other night and and just loved on him and got up briefly to take this photo wondering if it might be the last of his photos. Whether it is or not, what an awesome dog.

Sweet Rocky

UPDATE: Six days after I wrote this post, Rocky passed away. It was Imbolc which I think is a fitting time for a creature to leave this space. We thought we were prepared for his passing, but there are still so many tears. So many tears. This was his last photo from Tuesday afternoon, about 12 hours before he struggled through his last breath. We’ll Meet Again.

When I get anxious and I am home, I usually go to our barn. It’s maybe 250-275 yards from the house so it is a short trek and I have no excuse for not using it to calm my soul.

Sometimes anxious is getting frustrated with a kid, my Husband, a friend, or a peer. Anxious could be anticipation such as an impending activity for which I don’t feel fully prepared. It could be the shifting weather and where I am in phase with the moon. Anxious can be lots of things. And sometimes anxious is just anxious. Why does it really have to be a “thing” at all. Why isn’t it just a moment in life. A moment in which I must cope and respond with either grace or fear or anger. Why does the culture in which I am living insist on labeling everything? E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

Maybe folks perceive that labeling means releasing responsibility. Uh, no. Not at all. I would still have to respond to the feeling – whatever its root, its purpose – regardless of what label travels with the feeling. So why complicate things?

While I very fortunately do not suffer from depression, depression is no less a luxury in name. So is anxiety. So are all the other labels. And to quote Cristian Mihai from the linked article, “That’s why happiness is a way of travel, not a destination. It’s not about goals, but about habits. It’s about the routine.” But read the entire post and watch the entire video. There’s truth and maybe even recognition sans labels in that for all.

After watching that video and reading that post, maybe take a trip down to our barn. And breathe.

“Breathe in love, breathe out love.” ~Adriene, Yoga with Adriene


Some days are just too much. Well planned and even better executed, they can even be too much. Second Wednesdays are that for me and yesterday was such a Second Wednesday with more than its usual extra. So extra that I will now always capitalize Second Wednesday. Extra.

But today is not Second Wednesday. Today is Thursday, aka Friday, Jr. Today is slower, less planned and only moderately well executed. And with great mail from a dear friend.


So, Cheers to you, Friday, Jr.! After dinner I intend to stitch more than bitch.

Welcome. We are glad to meet you.
We welcomed 2014 with fires indoors and out. Gathering the wood for the outside fire was especially soulful for me. While not the same, it is similar to taking food from Nature. I am grateful for the trees.


We enjoyed our traditional meal of ham (baked this year), hoppin’ John, and greens. I don’t know that any of us really believes that these foods will bring us health, fortune, or wealth. I do think we each enjoy knowing what to really expect a few days a year, New Year’s Day being one of those.



We began our Three Kings Day conversations. We welcomed our newly made kings to the table with some folded stars and the Christ Candle from our Advent Spiral. We are grateful for the Light that led those Kings to honor a sweet baby king. We’ve only talked (and occasionally baked) about the day in the past years. I’m hoping it is something more memorable as we move into this new year.



Rest is where our bodies and hearts are headed now. Rest.













Our Christmas seasons can be fraught with gift needs and wants, places to be, people to see. There are gifts wants and needs and people we would like to see, but no fraught (fret?). Not this year.


I grew up in a family with faults far too numerous to count and far too in the past now to dredge. But there were some really cool things, too, that I have chosen to carry into this moment in my life. Like the sincere appreciation for homemade gifts. So, many years I make some if not all of the gifts even when I know they are not appreciated. I had the recipient in mind through the process and so the gift is a piece of me on behalf of my family.



This year there are not so many homemade things. I don’t know why. There just isn’t. And it’s OK. I’m not in the least bothered by it as I would have been in the past. I don’t know why. I’m OK with not knowing why.


My Husband comes about the holidays in a different way than I do. He likes to go and look a half dozen times and then pick up a few things here and there. Stealing a piece of a text with my Sister …

That’s a big part of what gets his mind in the right place for the holidays. Funny how I just want to be home and bake and make while he wants to be out and about. This year, for the first year, I am perfectly OK with whatever. I have no stress. So odd and awesome at the same time.

And I am OK with that. This year. Typically I get my granny panties all wadded up over it. Not this year. I don’t know why not this year, but not this year.


As I type this I am just laughing at myself. There is a brief squabble over what color the next loom band ornament should be. There is a science experiment debate over proper microscope management and there is a miniature schnauzer in desperate need of a good grooming on my lap. It’s comical. And I’m all good with that.


I am grateful for the odd and awesome.

And I must.

My heart is tugging on me to blog but I can’t keep my thoughts in one direction enough to know what I really want to blog. So I’ll just lay down what is on my mind at this moment.

I just processed the meat from the buck Reade took. I am grateful I know how to do that and have the experience from last year with my Husband to know what to do by myself this year. I should have involved Reade, but really this was just one of those things that I had been putting off and today seemed like a good day to do it, so why bother with extra hands? I know I shortchanged him.

While cleaning up the blood on the grinder, counter, and sink, I was reminded of Walt’s leg wound and how no doctor ever said anything about it in the show. You see, I am not much of a TV person and would truly be fine if the TV disappeared before the end of this post. Yet there is this show my Husband and I have recently started watching. He was up early over the weekend and flipping through the Apple TV and decided to watch the Breaking Bad pilot. I watched the next episode the next morning with him before the kids woke. And, well, a few very early mornings with coffee, together we have watched almost all of Season 1. I will not say I “love” it as I do not love any television. However, it is very engaging. Only because the characters could possibly real people.

And that thought of the horrors, very real ones in their own way, of that show lead me to think of my recent reading of The Hunger Games. I didn’t think I’d ever read it much less want the kids to read it. But the oldest received a Nook for Christmas and the only thing he wanted to read on it was that damn book. After a few weeks, I caved. And read it very quickly. As did I. And we were able to discuss it along the way and even now as he is into the next book. I still think it is a WRETCHED story and in my opinion its only redeeming value is its anti-government themes. I can even relate the fictional stories as real-right-now-happening-to-us moments regarding the Capitol and the Gamemakers. But those are children. It is the most distasteful thing I have ever read. I cannot get over the fact that it has won so many children’s book awards. That honestly disgusts me. And it disgusts me that my two oldest have read it. Honestly, I have shame.

And if it were possible to have covered my eyes and ears through much of the book, I would have. Just like I do in many parts of Breaking Bad.

See, I am not a violent person as the government tried to convince the public that anarchists are. I can’t watch movies like Fight Club, Nightmare on Elm Street, or even Apocalypse Now. Not that only violent people like to watch those things. I just don’t. I don’t like to read or see fictional things when people are struggling with physical or moral challenges. I won’t even read the book where the man interviews a dying man. I won’t do it. There are plenty of real life, everyday moments where suffering must be endured… knowing a precious friend suffered a tremendous loss in death. knowing I couldn’t keep a loved one from suffering in death longer than she wanted. knowing that people cannot be mended. knowing that the end of today will bring one less day with my family. knowing that my government wants to enslave me in a tighter cell than I am already in. knowing that my President and much of the elected class despises me and everything that I believe to the depth of my soul.

Why would I seek more pain? Why would I intentionally subject myself to such horror?

And now, after all those words…as I see the sky darkening and outdoor chores left to be done…my words are gone. All I can think of at this moment is this song…

There is Victory in Jesus

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Share your moment here and look for others at SouleMama.


Today is Thanksgiving. I am simply grateful. Our sweet family is here together relaxing and enjoying what has been gifted us by our Creator.

The food is ready for its final cooking/baking.

Beef Rib Roast
Smoked Ham
BBQ Green Beans
Mam-Maw Squash Casserole
Sweet Potato Cassserole
Corn Pudding
Sausage Dressing
Mam-Maw Biscuits

I am on the deck sitting in the sun knitting.

Sawyer is beside me doodling in his new doodle book gifted him by Xan.

Rebekah Anne is sitting with me also, working on her first complete cross-stitch project.

Kelly Mae was sitting with me and quizzing me (translate “ribbing me”) about my inability to Black Friday shop. But she has moved onto the barn with the others.

The others are at the barn with my Husband helping Reade set up to flesh the deer hide from his hunt this morning.

It is quiet. Simply quiet. I am simply grateful.


{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Share your moment here and look for others at SouleMama.


This morning I ran into town to pick up a kitten from the vet. Sailor had managed to get into the fishing gear and get a fish hook in the paw. Poor fella.

We came home, I watched him reacquaint with his siblings and mom and then decided that at that moment, while the house was still quiet, I would feed the horses. So, wisely, I switched shoes to a pair I wear into the barn and I watered and fed the horses and set hay out in the pasture.

It sounds simple and clean enough. And it can be. But not usually. It does mean walking through gates, or if you’re lazy like me, crawling through fences, avoiding mud, getting hay down from the loft and scattering it in piles in the pasture.

Got the job done. Put away the tools, made sure the feed bins were closed. Then realized what I was wearing.


Good pink shorts and a white linen long sleeved top. Yes. White linen. Oh well. I think it’s still clean.