City Slicker in a Rural Land

550846_4113581832797_1638699089_nWe did it back in 2006. My husband and I moved from the suburbs to the rural back roads. Now that we have been here a while, we snicker from time to time about city slickers like us moving to the country. It’s such a stark change from city life, where horns honk,  traffic is  stopping and starting to the rhythm of  traffic lights, trains choo-chooing.

I mean, we left the city of Richardson, right out of Dallas, a busy, up and coming suburb to a two-blinking-light on Main Street town. We have one neighbor, three acres of land and relative quiet…aside from our barking dogs. When we moved out here, the quiet was deafening. Oh, how I love it.

I’ve always been a displaced country girl. My family used to take what we called “Sunday drives.” We’d drive out to Collinsville, Texas, which is where my dad grew up. The old, rickety, white farmhouse stood with such grace and memories of days gone by. The barn where the names of cows were scratched into the stalls was still standing. The grass was tall and the cotton fields were full of bolls. My sister and I would go and try to pick the cotton, but we got tired quick and it hurt our fingers. I don’t know how the people of old did it. Guess they just had to and that was all there was to it. My dad had an old haybaler out in the shed way back in the pasture-way back where I was not to go since it was out of sight and earshot from my parents. I used to dream of living in the country with horses and all manner of animals. I could see it and feel it in my bones. I could see what I thought was wheat waving in the wind. It was only the grass of my daddy’s home, but it didn’t matter.

While I experienced a great deal of culture shock and a bit of trauma driving two ways on a service road, I fell in love with the deep colors of the sky at sunset and the brilliance of the morning sunrise. The city had gotten too big for me. The country was just right. A perfect fit.

I’m not so far out that I never go back to Richardson and I do miss some of my friends, but the peace I get out here with my animals, husband and God’s world is just a little piece of Heaven! 1063744_10200682517760267_924945096_o1468716_10203152930479041_4401666889951298216_n10952653_10204523650266179_5793768584058079603_o

Where is My Home?

My home, my favorite place to be is in the pasture with my horses. I know it sounds a bit funny, but when I’m sitting in the pasture in the spring , summer, fall or on a warm winter day with my horses, I could not be more at peace.

As you can see, we’ve had a bit of snow and rain and the pasture is muddy, puddly and bare of horses. But, it’s still my favorite place.DSC_0388

DSC_0390

It doesn’t matter whether it’s wet or dry, it’s my favorite place. It’s where I am relaxed, at ease and at one with my horses and the universe. The warm sun bathes my face with it’s rays and I feel whole. Where is your favorite place?

The Rain in Spain Stays Mainly in the…. Oh Well

I’m not in Spain, but in Texas and the weather has been -well, completely un-Texan! With a low in the 20’s last week and a high today almost 70, it’s been like a teeter totter. Up and down, down and up. We even had a light dusting of snow , for heaven’s sake- in November! Almost unheard of. You know what they say, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.” And it is more true of Texas than anywhere I’ve ever been.

Today was a beautiful springlike day and tomorrow? Well, it’s going to be raining and then Saturday, we are scheduled to have severe thunderstorms with high winds and, of course, a tornado or two cannot be ruled out.

Never a dull moment here, that’s for sure. With the amount of animals we have, storms are often something that has to be prepared for. For example, I have to sort out the horses, put them in the barn before the storms really start – or not. I have to be able to determine if time in the barn would be beneficial. My Tennessee Walking Horse, Licorice, doesn’t care to be cooped up in the barn with miniature horse Houdini. Houdini makes Licorice nervous. It is not unheard of for her to begin to gallop around the stall area (it’s a big rectangular area).

me and my Licorice
me and my Licorice
Mr. Houdini if you please
Mr. Houdini if you please

I may have to put a wall up so they will each have their own stall. I’ve only  just finished this design. Rethinking it is not really a problem- just a lot of work.

I was to go out of town this weekend- a retreat for church. But, with the impending storm, I feel like I need to be home for the animals and make sure they are all okay. For some, that may sound stupid, but I really feel that God put these animals in my care and it’s my job to make sure they are well taken care of. Sadly, the retreat will have to wait til next time we go out there.

I guess we shall see what we shall see, but in the meantime, the rain in Texas stays mainly whereever it wants to.

Book of Animals- Part Deux#

“Why do you have donkeys?” , everyone asks. Well, when we were looking at the house we currently live in, the owner had a horse named Max and a donkey named Festus. My husband fell in love with Festus and I with Max. But, the owner was not willing to sell either or both. So, we didn’t think about it much longer than that. From time to time, Stephen would lament the fact we didn’t have any donkeys- but not much more than that.

After a couple of years, the drought caused hay to be rather pricey and donkey owners were getting rid of their donks left and right. I began to comb Craigslist for donkeys. I found two free male donkeys. It was close to Valentine’s Day and I thought it would be kinda funny to give my husband a couple of donkeys in celebration of our love. Although I was unable to get the donkeys for the exact February 14th day, I was able to get them a week later.

It was a cold, cold day for Texas and my husband was home on the computer. It seems to me, it might have snowed and work was closed for him. At any rate, the man who was giving me his donkeys, called and said he was at the house. I told my husband not to come outside because his surprise was on it’s way.  So, he would be unable to see what was going on, we unloaded the donkeys at the end of the driveway  right into the pasture. I said, “By the way, what are their names? ” He looked at me, grunting, ” Chris and Anthony. I named them after my brothers. Ha ha ha.”

“Oh brother- everyone is a comedian,” I thought.  Anyway, we enjoyed the boys by themselves for about a year. When Christmas came around, I decided to get two girls (Jennys). I thought both Stephen and the donkeys had been good and deserved these girls. Little did I know they were both pregnant when they came to us. Soon, we were up to five donkeys. The other Jenny  sadly lost her baby. The Jennys names were Blanche (for her white face) and Bambi (for her doe eyes). The baby born was Gregory since he had been born on our friend Greg’s birthday. Our newest donkey, Thirteen, was born on Friday, June 13, 2014. We will not be having any more donkeys since we now have a mare.

Donkeys have their own personalities. Each one i

Bambi- Gregory and Thirteen's mom
Bambi- Gregory and Thirteen’s mom

s different and almost all have the cross on their back. Donkeys are herd protectors. If we had a herd of anything other than dogs, they would be great protectors. But, donkeys, like horses, are not wild about dogs. The dogs try to herd the donkeys and the badonkadonks aren’t too happy about that.

So, with no further ado, I present our Donkeys-

Chris - just loungin' around.
Chris – just loungin’ around.
silly  Chris
silly Chris
the ever serious Anthony
the ever serious Anthony

Blanche

one side of Gregory
one side of Gregory
Gregory's other side
Gregory’s other side
Thirteen,  a new life at Baker's Acres
Thirteen, a new life at Baker’s Acres

New Look, New Tagline

When I began this blog, I was really uncertain that I would stick with it. I am great at starting things- not so great sticking with it or finishing it. So, I didn’t make it fancy – I didn’t really make it mine. I believe I have customized it now so that it is more me.

See, we live on three acres in Texas and we have a little red barn, we have 3 pastures- one severely overgrazed. We have animals -lots of animals- six, count ’em, six donkeys, 2 horses, 3 cats, 9 dogs, 7 puppies I’m trying to sell, several wild bunnies, a roadrunner family and assorted other wild animals. Some people wonder why we want to live with all these animals. Well, we love them all. We are out in the country, so why not help take care of God’s creatures?

Anyway, I  digress. In the beginning, when I began the blog, the tagline was ” The beauty is in the imperfection, and baby, I’m imperfect.” But, today, I changed it to “Beauty lies in imperfection.” I left it at that. It sounds more classy – or something.

So, per Blogging 101, I now have an updated blog that  represents more of what I am and what I love.

this old barn may not be much for some people, but we sure love it. oh, and that is my husband, Stephen.
this old barn may not be much for some people, but we sure love it. oh, and that is my husband, Stephen.

Relaxation? For Me it is.

My husband and I adopted two horses from a rescue in  Rockwall, Texas a few months ago. We already have 6 donkeys, lots of dogs, 2 inside cats, a barn cat and her unofficial friend, and 4 hens.

Some people wonder why anyone would want so many animals. My question is why wouldn’t anyone want as many animals as they could have?  I have always loved animals- really any kind of animals. Heck, we even have coyotes in the woods behind us. One day one was in my yard looking for food. What  a beautiful animal she was. But,she was starving and a  mama at that. I did not occur to me it was a coyote until I realized how scared she was. Coyotes are intensely afraid of humans. In fact, the only time they come out in the day is if they are hungry or sick. She finally scampered off, too afraid to take the food I offered her. I can honestly say I have only been afraid of one animal. A boxer. I was jumped by a boxer when I was a little girl and I’ve been afraid of them ever since. I’ve never gotten close enough to another one to resolve my fear. Maybe one day.

My husband, Stephen, used to be the one to feed the donkeys . He also fed Prince, the barn dog and Barn Cat. I thought the object of having a barn cat was to eat the rats, but I was mistaken. I took care of the inside animals…until… we adopted Licorice, the Tennessee Walking Horse and Houdini, the miniature horse.  They changed my life … and my mind.

I wake up about seven in the morning and begin feeding the animals before tasting my morning coffee. I feed the donkeys, the horses, water all animals, check for eggs, wash out the henhouse and freshen the water kept for the dogs. Then I just go about my day. I don’t mind waiting a while for my coffee. Most days, the animals start my day off perfectly, so no worries.

I go about the day, cleaning here and there, maybe folding clothes – maybe doing nothing, if I choose. At one o’clock, I watch General Hospital-  a show I’ve watched for over 50 years. Yep, I’m a charter member of the club. At four o’clock, I’m in for an hour of Judge Judy. Judge Judy is my hero! She says what she means and means what she says and that’s something these days. After Judge Judy- feeding time.

I’ve really gotten to where I love this time with my animals. Since Houdini is a bit heavy for a miniature horse, he only gets grass or hay , but I must tie him up while Licorice eats pellets because he loves to eat her food. She is a feisty 22 year old horse and needs to have the additional pellets to keep the weight on. While she eats, I go feed Bambi, who has just become a mama donkey for the second time. The other donkeys get hay – pellets in the morning, but not so they become overweight. It is never good to have an overweight donkey. After I feeding everyone, I sit in the pastures , watching Licorice eat.

Licorice has a funny little ritual during feeding time. When I bring her food, she waits at the gate, nickering- welcoming me – the food. She turns circles at the gate until I whisper gently, “Back girl- get back.” She backs off from the gate while I open it and set the food down. She dives in, nosing some of the food out of the bowl, and stomping her right leg. Pawing the ground, she eats her food quickly. She is not a dominant horse and she will walk off if Houdini say, were to walk up behind her. She is much larger than he, but he’ll get her food.  I sit in my lawn chair and marvel at this animal. She is majestic.

After eating, Licorice saunters over to the salt block, and licks for a good two minutes before she gets a long drink of water. Back to the salt lick, and back to the water. She eats a little grass and then comes to my chair for a pet on her brow as if to thank me for feeding her.

So, the truth of the matter is that my afternoon ritual

Houdini
Houdini
sweet Licorice
sweet Licorice

especially, is the most relaxing part of the day. There is nothing quite like sitting in the pasture, hot wind blowing in my hair, watching my animals being nourished with food while I am being nourished by God.