There was a full moon already high in the sky, shining over my shoulder as I took the laundry off the line.
The temperature was absolutely perfect, with a slight breeze ruffling the leaves.
I sat on the side porch and simply pondered the years and years people have done the same things as I have done in this very place. I pictured the people who worked in the barns throughout the last 147 years. I could almost see the mothers taking clothes off the line, kids scattering food for the chickens, fathers fixing holes in fences. I looked up into the trees that were planted by those original homeowners. Trees which shaded untold numbers of friends and family as they rested underneath.
At one point, the train whistled, as it does every night. A train sounds very different when you are listening to it in the dark, on the porch of a house in the middle of 200 acres of corn, while contemplating the generations of families who have sat in the very same spot. To me, the train can be one giant nuisance. Besides getting in my way when I'm trying to get somewhere, my dogs insist on howling back at the whistle, every single time, early morning or dark of night.
But to the families who lived here 140 years ago, the train meant something very different. It meant supplies. And fast travel. And progress. An expanding world.
I am so blessed to live in this old house, on this beautiful piece of property.
For my list this week, I thought I'd take you on a tour of things I am so happy to have here on our property as well as the things we are able to have because of the property.
To make it even better, some of the tour will be in video form!!
Well, that was the plan.
Problem #1: I don't know how to use my camera phone. I forgot the important fact that when I hold the camera sideways, I can see the scene properly, but when it downloads to my computer, it is sideways.
Problem #2: A pig escaped while Cuckoo had the camera. While it made for funny and "Aww, ain't he cute?!" footage, it wasn't exactly the intro to pigs I was hoping to give you.
Problem #3: It has rained/stormed almost every minute we've been home, so I was limited in my photo opportunities.
I will do my best.
1. I am thankful for the chicken coop. We get so much enjoyment from raising chickens, and the fresh eggs are miles above store-bought eggs in all ways. The chicken video is the first one we shot. Cuckoo is taking the video, in true Cuckoo form, while I toss some cantaloupe to the hens. Once again, the video is here more for the audio. I just can't get enough of that child's voice. And you will notice at the end, I do a little foreshadowing...
2. I am thankful for the pig barn. You had a good look at this barn in the pig video yesterday. I swear it did not look like that in April. This bunch of pigs has been more destructive than any we've ever had. They have practically torn down one of the barn walls. I'm just praying they don't knock the whole thing down before they go to the butcher on Wednesday. Which, by the way, is why I'm thankful for the pig barn. We can raise pigs.
I know many people don't think they could raise something only to have it butchered for the freezer. If a person eats meat, this really is the best way to go. The pigs are fed well and have a happy life. When it is time to go to the butcher, the work is done at a small operation, where we know everyone who works there. It is very open-door, so we know exactly what happens. We are able to have an entire year's worth of high-quality meat in our freezer with very little cash out of our pockets. (We sell the other two pigs to cover most of the cost of raising all three.)
3. I am thankful for the main barn. I posted a tour of the barn a while back. It was built in 1901. We know this, because the date and names of the kids who lived here are etched in the cement of the doorways. The kids have had so much fun playing in that barn. When I had my photography business, it was used many, many times for portraits. It's just a great, old barn.
4. I am thankful for all of the space we have to grow our own food. I had never planted a seed before we moved here. Not even the grass or flower seeds some kids do in class. Now, we have a huge garden and a small orchard which gives us an abundance of food. I get a thrill every single time I put something on the dinner table that we grew or raised ourselves. Just two days ago, I picked this for our meal.
It tasted sooo good. And there are more where this one came from.
5. I am thankful for the hundreds of trees on the property. They give us tons of shade, and between the shade and the ever-present breeze in the country, even the hottest days aren't too hot. Plus, there are climbing trees for all ages.
|I don't lift kids into trees. If a child wants to sit in one, he has to get into the tree himself. Turken is finally big enough to get into some of them.|
|Can you see Turken in "his" tree? He would want me to tell you he climbs much higher than this, but this is the only spot with a break in the leaves good enough for a photo. The red oak tree behind Turken's is the best "big kid" climbing tree.|
|He was in a picture-taking mood. He insisted I take a photo in the other tree he can climb.|
|The view from one of my second-floor, bedroom windows.|
7. I am thankful for the characteristics of our old house. Walking through our house is like a little history lesson. So many details in the house are original and really show how things were back when the house was built. In the basement visitors will find the low section in the floor where ice was kept, the gas lamps in the walls, the coal shoot, and the 4-brick thick foundation. Throughout the house a person will find original glass in the original windows, original mantels around the fireplace, wide interior walls (which are hollow in the middle except for the ladders allowing access), a gorgeous curved staircase, and a plate above the front door inscribed with the name of the builder and the year the house was built.
8. I am thankful for the opportunity to show our kids the value in trying new things. We moved to this house having never laid eyes on a chicken which actually had feathers and a head. Each and every year the kids see us come up against situations we have never before seen. They get to see us find solutions, and many times they get to be a part of the solution. I want them to be unafraid to try new things. I want them to have grand adventures and soak up every single experience. We only get one life on this earth, and I want them to make the most of it. Showing them is the best way I know to teach them.
(The next two are completely unrelated to the house and property. That #8 pretty much summed it all up, so I'm moving on to a couple of other things for which I'm grateful this week.)
9. I am thankful for Lizzi giving me the chance to guest post. On Monday, she had things to do on other people's blogs, so she asked me to write a post for hers. All she said was, "Can you write something about good parenting?" Maybe I shouldn't have used quotes. It was something like that. I wasn't feeling especially good at parenting the week my post was due, and I rewrote that post at least 10 times. Two hours before the deadline, I finally, finally came up with a way to do it. I am so glad she asked me. There were some things swimming in my head that I never would have written down if she wouldn't have nudged me to do so. And I'm grateful to her for the support and encouragement she is constantly showing me.
10. I am thankful for the years I have spent teaching and working with kids in general. When Cuckoo told me Friday morning that he wanted to do a craft, it took me all of 45 seconds to come up with an easy one we could do with just a few materials. He could not have been more thrilled. All we did was make a jack-o-lantern lantern out of construction paper. It took us 10 minutes, and that includes collecting the materials. When we were done, he carried that lantern around all morning. He played cards with it (War, specifically. At one point he asked me, "Which one wins? A jack-o-lantern or a three?") and held it while he watched Sid the Science Kid.
Clearly, I need to dust off the cobwebs in my brain and do some more crafts with the kid.
That's it for me! Let me hear all the things for which you are thankful this week.
Have a lovely day!
A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall, Considerings, Finding Ninee, Getting Literal, I can say mama, I Want Backsies, Rewritten, Steps into Parenthood, Thankful Me, The Wakefield Doctrine