Sunday, June 28, 2015


Home is where the heart is, truly! I enjoy our time on the road, and when we are home, there are certain aspects of our road life that I miss. But deep down, and always, my heart is at home.

We've been here since the end of May. We came home for first cutting of hay. See, we truck for a living, but both our hearts are more in farming. And so what started as cutting a little hay for our horses turned into a side business which gives us an outlet for our love for farming.

We bale enough round bales to meet our needs,

and then we square bale the rest and put it up for sale.

We've learned that first cutting can be tricky because it's still raining quite a bit here in June. Last year we had a hard time getting the hay up before it got rained on. So this year, we sat back and tried to take things slower. It meant a longer haying period, but we succeeded in getting all our hay ground put up rain free! And maybe to some that seems like not a big deal, but considering how the weather goes around here, I feel like we accomplished something grand! And even better, we sold almost all of it, so we have very little to store in the barn. Best of all, we already have orders for most of second cutting in August! There is a demand for square bales and not many people putting them up around here anymore, which works in our favor. And we're starting to have repeat customers. Our goal is to eventually have it all sold in pre-orders before it's even cut. And we're almost there!

With the rain that was coming and going, we'd get a field or two cut, dried, baled and picked up, and then have a few days before we could cut the next one. So we filled our time with other pursuits. Malcolm worked on the equipment, tinkered in his shop, and enjoyed relaxing in the evenings.

I have spent the days doing all the things I love and enjoy and dream about while I'm driving. I worked in the flower beds, pruning, weeding, planting, and admiring.
bee balm - mom gave me a little bit from her garden last year and now I have a large patch of it
I worked on and finished a quilt top that I had started this winter. And enjoyed that so much that I've been fiddling with a couple other quilt projects that I had started over the years and not yet finished.

We had guests a few times, for lunch, for the day, and some special girls and their grandparents came and stayed overnight, enjoying much farm fun during their time here.

When we got home the weather was unseasonably cool for early summer, and I was outside as much as possible. And then it immediately turned unseasonably hot for early summer, and I stayed indoors as much as possible, sneaking out to soak in the rare moments of comfortable air.

And of course I spent lots and lots of time enjoying the horses. I miss them when we are gone, so even just standing and looking at them makes me very happy. I seem to do that a lot.

One of the most exciting things that happened around here this month is that Duke bred the mares! I'm pretty positive that Reba is bred. Fancy came back in heat after breeding and Duke didn't seem to have much interest in her the second time around. So she may still be open, but I'm hoping they took care of business when I wasn't watching. Time will tell! Either way I'll be happy. I'd love to have a Fancy foal again, but I'm really eager to see a Reba baby! It will be her first, and she should foal sometime around May 19. It's going to be a long 11 months of waiting for me!

Can't you see the pretty babies standing in this picture in your imagination? If Fancy foals it will be prettily painted for sure. She's homozygous for the tobiano gene. So I'll get a painted baby from her regardless. With Duke and Reba it's a little trickier. They both are half paint/half quarter horse. (for those that don't know, you can breed American Paint horses to Quarter horses or Thoroughbreds and still register the foals as American Paint horses. All American Paint horses are descended from "crop out" quarter horses and thoroughbreds, or horses that were not allowed in those registries because they were born with unwanted white markings. But some people liked those markings and started their own registry, which became the American Paint horse breed. So all American Paint horses are essentially quarter horse and thoroughbred descendants. Now you know...maybe more than you cared about.)
So back to what I was saying....trickier with Duke and Reba's foal. They each carry a solid gene and a paint gene, and each will contribute one or the other to the foal. So we could end up with a solid baby. What I'm hoping for is a roan paint! That would be my first favorite choice. But we all know that when that baby hits the ground, I'm going to love it no matter what it looks like.

All this stuff we've been doing has been so fun. But one of the best and most important things we've kept busy with was spending time with family. June has been an eventful month for our family. I haven't shared on here yet about what's been going on, and I may do that at some point, but I'll keep it brief for now.

First, my nephew was born in March with some rather serious heart defects that needed attention. He had his first open heart surgery at 9 days old and it went well. The surgeon had planned to wait till he was 2 or 3 years for his second heart repair surgery, but Tyson wasn't able to wait that long. So on June 18th he had his second surgery. It was a tad scary and known to be risky, but it went really well and the recovery has been amazing and just a little over a week later, he's about to go home! Praise God! I'd got to visit him once when he was just a few weeks old. And mom and I drove to Nashville the week before his second surgery to visit and I got to hold him for the first time. Me and this kid are going to have a lot of fun together!
a great big thank you to the staff at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital for all your love, caring, and hard work to save this boy's life!

The day we arrived home, actually still on our way home that morning, we got the news that my mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and that it was aggressive and the whole first couple weeks was kind of overwhelming with information and how fast they dove into treating it and just everything. We hadn't really ever been through anything like this in our family before. It's been a lot at once. But Mom's doing really great, the chemo is working like it's supposed to, and there's been more good news than bad recently. So where I had planned to stay home when it was time to go back to work, I feel comfortable now heading back onto the road with Malcolm. And I know if I'm needed, he can get me back here in good time.

I have two links for you. If anyone who reads this wants to keep up with my nephew's story and progress, my sister is keeping everyone updated through her blog, My Lens on Life

And my mom had started a new blog right before her diagnosis. She planned to write about her gardening and other activities, but now she's added to it and is writing about her journey with cancer. Her blog is Rabbit Valley Gardner.

Our house has it's centennial birthday sometime this year. We don't know when it was built exactly, just that it was 1915. We've started a Facebook page for the farm where we can share a few pictures, and let people know when we have hay available for sale, or other things of interest. If you want to, check out Thatch Farm on Facebook, just follow the link.

It's almost time to get breakfast and then get ready for church. That's another thing we've been doing while home. I've missed and longed for a church family for years. Growing up we always attended services and Sunday school nearly every week. It was a big part of my childhood and I benefited from it tremendously. We've visited a few churches off and on, more off than on, through the years. But this year I decided that I really needed church! And right about that same time, we went to one fairly close to home and it just feels right to be there. Sunday morning is something I look forward to all week, and I know I'll miss it when we're on the road. I enjoy so much the opportunity to worship our Lord with other Christians, and also to fellowship. That's something I want to do more of. Now that we think we've found the church where we belong, I'm looking forward to getting to know the people better, to building some relationships and friendships, and getting involved, at least as much as I can when I'm here.

So I'm off to fix something to eat, and start this beautiful day. Church, lunch, visiting with family, and then it's time to pack the truck because the road is calling us back out.