My daughter is a teenager. And she asked me to sew her a medieval gown. What could I say? It is spring… the birds are singing, the garden is calling, and the horses are begging to be ridden. But for two days I sat inside and sewed a heavy, thick dress for my daughter. Because I love her to death.
Most of the wildlife around here has been very frustrating to me. Now, I like animals more than some people, I think, but there is a definite difference between a raccoon in a pretty picture, and a 30-lb one eating your chickens! Or a funny looking porcupine who strips your precious apple tree of bark, or innocent looking deer who devour whole gardens in a single night, or rabbits who do the same.
But I finally have a piece of wildlife around that is on my side!! Yay for owls! I have always loved their soft hoo-hoo-hooooo! Their ridiculously solemn, round eyes and heads that swivel. They are cool creatures, indeed. But the coolest thing is that they are predators! They eat mice, gophers and rabbits. (I suppose chickens too, but I can keep those inside a run) And when I discovered that a pair had built a nest in my backyard, I was simply delighted.
It’s been really hard to get a photo of them, tho, as they always fly off the nest the instant they see me. So yesterday I tried sneaking out with my camera. Newsflash: with their eyesight being some of the best in the world, you cannot sneak up on an owl.
She immediately spread her wings to cover her chick in a protecting manner. I think you’d get your hand pecked off if you tried reaching under that wing! But my waiting was rewarded. When mama owl flew off, finally, I saw the cutest little fuzzy head in that tree! It was not making any noise, just hunkered down, waiting for mama. I yelled, clapped, whistled and banged on things, trying to get it to raise it’s head and look at me.
Oh, I was so excited to see this cute baby! I’ve never seen an owl chick before, to my knowledge. I believe this is a Great Horned Owl, but I am not a bird expert. Do any of you know for sure?
I went on a road trip last week – picking up a trailer for my husband. He was too busy to take off, and I offered to go. With a toddler in the backseat, it promised to be a long and tiresome drive. But still, I offered to go.
I have two wonderful friends in that state; one a long-time friend and one a new friend. Both wonderful ladies. Both worth making an effort to see. Was it a bit crazy? Yes. I only had a few hours with each gal. But SO worth it!
With the old friend, we caught up on each other’s lives and marveled over the growth of our kids. We sipped Coke and laughed and fell into conversation with the ease of women who truly understand and empathize with each other.
With the new friend, we introduced our families and compared lives. We nibbled homemade cake and smiled at our kids, asked questions and began to understand the stories of each others’ lives.
And as I headed home, I was filled to the brim with the love and friendship these two ladies offered me. Supportive, understanding friendship. They didn’t have to take time out of their busy lives to see me. Goodness, with the one – I forgot about time change and she waited an hour (an HOUR!) at the meeting place before I arrived. The other one, well, I changed plans so many times that it’s a wonder she didn’t tell me to forget the whole meeting! (excuse me while I sink into a hole of shame!) Point is, they waited. They were gracious. They put time and effort into meeting me.
I was pondering this on the long drive home. I was thinking of friendships and what they mean. And how I can be a better friend. Let me tell you, it’s real easy to blame a poor (or strained) friendship on the ‘other person’, but the reality is; I make my own friendships. I have discovered many, many lonely women the last few years. It has little to do with location; some of the loneliest women live in cities, surrounded by a big church, and yet so alone they cry themselves to sleep at night.
We need friendships, gals! We need to be there for each other. To call, text or write. To actually remember birthdays and send actual cards. (not just a generic Facebook greeting, altho those are nice too)
We need to visit when they are sick, and encourage when they are down. How many times have we told our husbands: “You don’t need to fix it! I just need you to listen!”? Yep. Been there. Let me tell ya somethin. We need to stop trying to ‘fix’ each other. When I am having a hard time with something, I just want you to listen. Not offer your clever fixes. Not recount how you had it worse but here’s how you dealt with it. Just listen. and maybe brew some coffee. 😉 There are some friends of mine who I never share the deep things of my heart with, because they always, always try to counsel, direct, advise, or otherwise try to ‘fix’ me. I really just wish they’d listen.
Note: I do believe we need to take instruction and rebuke graciously. We need to have a soft heart that is easy to be intreated. (James 3:17) But that doesn’t mean we should go around doling out unsolicited advice all the time. Often the most spiritual way to teach others is by modeling a life of victory in Jesus – not preaching.
I was mulling over how many times I have made flippant half-promises to my friends, but never carried through. How many times I have out-done them when they are sharing a story or experience. How many times I retreat into my corner when a friend hurts me, instead of reaching out in love. It needs to change, starting with yours’ truly.
I don’t mean we have to run ragged trying rustle up a good friend or do stuff all the time. There are times when you try, but a friendship just isn’t working. And that person moves on and you have to chalk it up as a loss and go on. At least I don’t now how else to deal with it, when someone cuts you out of their lives. Not much you can do except treat them with love and not get bitter.
But those friends you do have – they are worth your time. Nurture a good friendship. Two or three solid friendships are worth more than a dozen shallow ones. But you have to do your part. You can’t expect to take and take and never give. Maybe your friend is busy, overwhelmed or otherwise too busy to think of you for awhile – now would be a good time to ‘do unto others’! Drop by with a cold tea or a hot meal. Set up a meeting at a park (so she doesn’t have to clean, ya know!) 😉 Or whatever you know she would appreciate. Learn to know your friends. Learn what makes them feel loved. Then do it. Nurture good friendships. They are oh, so worth it!
And now I shall go clean my house, because taking a road trip to see friends is wonderful but makes for lots of laundry and a dirty house!
Sunday afternoon I went riding with my man. It was a lovely afternoon. Not too windy, and quite warm. First, my husband wanted to pull a reata through a post.
I know! It sounds weird. But he drilled some holes through an old fencepost, then planted said post firmly in our backyard. He then threaded his reata through the holes, and pulled it with his horse. Honestly, I forget exactly what it is supposed to accomplish… I know it smooths it out and stretches it a bit to get kinks out, but beyond that, well, you’ll have to ask a buckaroo. 😉
At any rate, I helped by adding one layer of kidney fat to the reata as it went through the holes. Then made sure it didn’t kink. He pulled it approx 20 times.
(Note: the kidney fat we rendered ourselves. And boy is it a good hand-conditioner! 😀 )
After the reata was greased and pulled, we loaded up the horses and trailered them to the heifer pasture to ride through the pairs. There’s been some sickness among the calves, unfortunately, and we wanted to keep on top of it.
Confession: I don’t know how to doctor cattle. I am learning to spot sick ones, but I have yet to learn what meds should be given and how much. So I ride along and take pictures while my man does the doctoring. I also run errands for him, like: “Ride down along that ditch and make sure there’s no calves hiding in there, will ya?”
Sure. I can ride along a ditch. I’m good at that.
I sure enjoy being a partner to this man. He is my favorite.
If you are looking for a cookie that is not too sweet – consider these delightful little roll-ups. Made with a dollop of cottage cheese, they will satisfy your sweet tooth and give a you a nice shot of protein as well. I like to make these for parties because they are really pretty as well as tasty. They include the extra step of rolling them out, then cutting and rolling back up. But they are totally worth it in flavor! Dense and almost chewy – the cottage cheese gives them a delicious flavor and texture.
- 2 cups flour
- 1½ cup small-curd cottage cheese
- ½ cup Country Crock Original Spread
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 TBLS milk
- 1 drop red food coloring (optional)
- Mix flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Cut in Country Crock Original Spread with pastry blender.
- Stir in cottage cheese gently with a spoon.
- Divide into two portions.
- Turn one portion onto a floured surface and roll out to ¼ inch thick. Cut into 12 wedges, roll each wedge up - starting with wide end.
- Place roll-ups onto an un-greased cookie sheet.
- Repeat with second portion of dough.
- Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, or till edges are golden.
- Cool on rack. Drizzle with glaze.
- Glaze: Mix powdered sugar, butter, food coloring and vanilla in a bowl. Add milk as needed.