As children, we grow up taking things for granted. I lived in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains until I was 30 years old. For 6 years of my adult life in that vicinity, I lived in a little cedar house surrounded by a 2,000 acre state nature preserve. I woke up in the mornings & watched hummingbirds sip from the feeder on my bedroom window, deer track prints in the newly fallen snow, I watched squirrels break into my little, wooden log cabin bird feeder out in the front yard & I witnessed extremely intelligent (and relentless) raccoons find ways to remove the bungee cord attached to the trash cans out back. I shouted at groundhogs digging in my landscaping, I jumped over snakes on more than one occasion & I listened to the sounds of falling rain on the leaves all around me while enjoying the spring peeper chorus in the background. My how easily we take those moments for granted when they are readily available. We’ve spent the last 8 years living in neighborhoods in in cities. Although Ocean Springs – the town we lived in down in Mississippi – was small & filled with nature, it was still a town & not situated in the middle of nature’s glory. Living in Norfolk, we were surrounded by pavement. I worked hard to stay connected to the natural world while we lived there. I walked to the river almost daily & watched the jelly fish in the fall, chased the geese with Jasper & kept close eye on the neighborhood squirrels as they annihilated everyones outdoor seat cushions & stashed nuts in my planters. But it’s not the same as looking out your window & seeing nothing but green, hearing nothing but croaking bullfrogs & buzzing bees. We’re here now. We’re back, living in rhythm with nature once again. The other day we watched a herd of deer – like maybe 8 to 10 – meandering through the woods behind our house. After growing up in Jackson county, Ohio this should not be that exciting for me. But I promise…. It’s a VERY BIG DEAL. It almost brought me to tears. I’ve missed these moments that I took for granted for so many years. I feel alive when I’m surrounded by all of earth’s bounty, not just a few critters here & there & lots of people & buildings filling in the world around me. I understand how & why folks love the convenience of living in a city. It makes sense & it feels right for so many. I deeply enjoyed being able to walk down the sidewalk & stop for porch time chit chats with neighbors along the way on a Summer evening. I loved being able to ride my bike to a coffee shop or borrow a cup of sugar from a friend next door. All of that is wonderful. But I’ve had a longing deep in my heart for the sounds of nature & the scents of earth & the vividness of a star speckled sky that just does not exist among the illumination & clatter of the city. The kids are on cloud 9 as we have now officially become the owners of 2 turkeys, 3 ducks, a rooster & 5 hens! (At least I’m hoping they’re all hens!) My magical realtor friend Chanda, who ironically enough is also into breeding these birds (making her even more magical) hooked us up with our first flock! We couldn’t be more excited & Teagan is such a natural birdy Mama! She’s so loving & helpful in every way. It makes my heart swell to see her give such kindness, so freely to these baby birds. Teagan is a special child with a big heart. She’s never going to be able to eat these turkeys! I could be turning my child into a vegetarian. She loves them so much, she’ll never look at eggs for breakfast or Thanksgiving dinner the same way again. She carried her rooster (Pedro) around all evening yesterday. We managed to snag the nicest rooster on earth. Jasper loves the baby ducks.. WAY HARD. Possibly too hard. Poor little chirpers! In other news, I went to pick up groceries for the week today. I bought all of our veggies at farm stands on the side of the road on my way to the store – minus an artichoke. Most everything homegrown in local greenhouses & open air, honor system & available 7 days per week. Amazing. Keely & I picked up 4H info yesterday & we’re chatting about the possibilities of all sorts of projects. Josh & I conquered a few outdoor tasks last night that made my heart sing & we spent some time chatting & dreaming up new ideas for a custom homestead experience. We’re getting used to this new life. Counting blessings daily. Now…. About these boxes in my garage. Should I bother opening them or just drop them at the thrift store?