Life on the farm with the Man…and our critters…

Archive for December, 2010

Out with the old…

Last night, Mother Nature blessed the farm with another stunning sunset, and I had the good fortune to be out walking the pups as it unfolded.  The crisp air of winter, along with the sound of our feet walking through the snow, added to the wonder of the view.  As I watched the colors fade to dark, I thought about what it signified.  Not just another day gone by, but also another year nearly complete.  It was a year that challenged me in ways that I would never have imagined.  Forced to define what I stood for, both to myself and others, I am no longer the man I was a year ago. I see things differently than I did before, and no longer do I question my faith in both my God and humanity.  I started out the year wondering if there were any good men left in this world, and I’m happy to say that there are, and they are now a part of my life.  Just as I searched for others that stood for friendship, morality, and brotherly love, I also had to examine those that didn’t.  Some hard choices were made, and even though the road to those choices tested my resolve, I have no regrets.  I took on the past year the best way I knew how and with a lesson my parents taught me long ago…by doing the right thing. The coming year will no doubt continue to bring challenges, but as the sun sets on 2010, I have confidence that I am on the right path.  Walk with me if you like…


When winter visits the farm…

For most people, the arrival of winter brings a sense of dread, of “hunkering down” for a few long months as bitter cold and snow rules the land.  Here on the farm, however, it is just the opposite.  For the Man and I, the shorter days and colors of fall whisper to us that soon we can rest.  We put away the tools of summer, gather the wood, and shutter the windows.  There is always a sense of unspoken urgency prodding us to have everything taken care of by the time the first snow falls, a task that isn’t easy. When the snow finally arrives, we quietly breath deep and sigh, welcoming the oncoming months.  The wood stoves warm the house, as well as the pups and cats soaking up their heat on the rugs around them.  With no outside work to be done, the Man turns his attention to baking, and the farmhouse is soon filled with wonderful smells and delicious food.  We spend time together, sometimes talking and laughing, other times just enjoying the quiet with silent contentment. We know that this winter vacation will end, and the fields and garden will soon beckon. Until they do, we’ll keep the cribbage board on a table by the fire…


Change is gonna come…

The imminent repeal of DADT, or “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, brings about a myriad of emotions for many people, including the Man and myself.  As with millions of other gay and lesbian Americans across this nation, there are no plans for descending upon the local recruiting offices in our best attire to sign up with Uncle Sam.  It goes much deeper than that for those of us who have been hanging on every article, every video, and the slew of hate filled sound bites that have come out of Washington. Our nation’s elected leaders, who look to the donations of special interest groups to line their own pockets and further their political careers, have for years denied gays and lesbians the right to serve our country openly and with pride.  As a group, we have been forced to choose between our love of country and who we were born to be.  Lives were risked, both on the battle front and on the streets of our communities, all in the name of freedom and equality. While the repeal of this law certainly does not equal the fall of the Berlin Wall, it does show cracks in the mindset of many Americans who can see that new winds are blowing, and it’s blowing their way.   In 1964, Sam Cooke wrote and released one his greatest songs called “A Change is Gonna Come”, and in it he sings “It’s been a long, a long time coming…But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will…”. Although that song was about racial equality in America at the time, the message within rings true today. There will always be those that continue to spread hatred towards gays and lesbians in the name of God, just as there are still people who think that African Americans should  be sitting in the back of the bus.  Over time, the latter have found that yes, even though it is their right to have their opinion, fewer and fewer people actually pay any attention to the hatred that taints their words.  The same will happen for those that oppose equality in all areas of life for gays and lesbians everywhere.  They will hold their rallies, wave their signs, and pass the offering plate to raise money to wage the war, but in the end, the result will be the same. Time will move on, and changes…well…they are coming…


A boy and his horse…

When I was a young boy, my older brother, Andy, had a horse named Thunder.  I remember watching the two of them as they rode across the fields, seeming to float across the grass at speeds that made my young mind dizzy.  The bond between them was special, and it was obvious to all that witnessed them when they were together that they were a single unit, body and soul.  As I grew, I never gave up hope that someday I would be able to share that same bond with a horse of my own.  The years passed, and as life would have it, that someday always seemed to be out of reach for one reason or another.  When my brother passed away 7 years ago, the dream of having a horse of my own was rekindled, perhaps as a way of keeping his memory alive.  As fate would have it, the Man works with a wonderful woman at the hospital who has a passion for rescuing horses, and I was introduced to Alex.  In his prime, Alex was a champion harness racer with the world at his feet, but once age set in and he started to slow down, he was no longer the darling of the track.   As with most aging horses, Alex’s future was a dim one, and he was literally rescued from the truck that was about to take him away.  While the Man and I finish preparing the fields and the barn that Alex will soon call home, I spend as much time with him as I can, grooming and riding him, and sharing treats.  There is no fear, no trepidation with either of us, and we easily slip into a routine built on trust.  When we ride, we become one, as my brother did with his best friend so many years ago.  What comforts me the most isn’t that I have that connection to a brother I miss dearly, but that I now realize that those were the happiest days of my brother’s difficult life.  He was full of life then, and in my heart, he is alive and happy still…


Christmas spirit…

I’ve never had a particularly hard time getting into the Christmas spirit, but this year it has been a challenge.  It’s hard to find joy in the lights, the sounds, and the gifts when I am painfully aware that there are others who will not have a Christmas at all.  I’m not only talking about those in this country who struggle to buy presents for their children, but also those who won’t even have food to eat, let alone a Christmas dinner.  I have been fortunate in my life to have been able to travel this globe we call Earth, and while I’ve seen some amazing wonders, I’ve also walked village streets where barely clothed children play near open sewers.  I’ve held the hands of men, women, and children alike, who speak no English, and were scared and crying before having simple surgeries that we as Americans take for granted.  I’ve watched homeless people try to ignore the scorned looks on the faces of the well dressed people they were asking to spare some change so that they may buy some scraps of food.  I’ve watched the faces of those very same homeless people go from shame to joy as I sat myself down with them in the gutter, giving them validation that they are also one of God’s children.  These experiences, those faces…they haunt me.  And so once again this year, I dreaded the holiday season.  I even went so far as asking the Man to not buy me anything for Christmas, and I meant it.  There was no joy in Whoville this year, and all prayers for a change of heart or a Christmas miracle were going unanswered.  And then, there it was, my Christmas miracle. One of my friends, who is absolutely the brightest shining light I have ever met, has had her share of heartache, including losing siblings to cancer and being diagnosed with it herself a few years back. Through all of that, she shines and encourages all those that meet her to love one another and find joy in the smallest of things.  Last week, she was declared cancer free after almost 6 years. Her simple gift this Christmas is the gift of life, and daring to think of a future with her very large, extended family, including a new grandchild that is due next July.  In the days since hearing that wonderful news, I’ve started noticing the lights and hearing the music, and despite my honest attempts to squelch it, feeling the Christmas spirit.  I realized that while this world has it’s share of sadness and despair, it also has it’s moments where it shines.  Christmas is the one time of the year where people do their best to find the good in others, and put aside their own struggles in life.  Be it large or small, life gives us gifts on a daily basis.  All we have to do is look for them. 


My Sedona…

I remember the day I took this pic well.  We were in Sedona with our good friend, Deb, and the Man wanted to go fishing. Off we went, with only one fishing pole.  He fished, Deb looked for rocks, and I wandered about with my camera admiring the beauty of the land.  It was a beautiful little valley, with a rushing stream dotted with small, calm pools full of large trout.  This clump of grass in the middle of the stream really stood out in the middle of the rapids.  It was a good day filled with laughter, and ended with an amazing trout dinner.


Hello world!

I figure today is as good a day as any to start my blog.  It hasn’t been easy, mind you, since I first thought of the idea a few days ago.  The program I am using, WordPress, is as impressive as it is complicated.  I’m slowly learning the lay of the land, and am sure I will find some cool tricks and effects as we go.

It will be interesting to see how this blog of mine evolves.  I’ve thought of blogging before but never realized the work that can actually go into it.  As with all things in life, I am sure that what I put into it will determine what I get out of it.  I hope to entertain and inspire at the same time, perhaps with a dash of personal therapy thrown in for good measure.

As I mentioned above, I am still figuring the blog program out, and I welcome all questions, comments, and criticisms.  If inclined, readers can subscribe to my blog, and can have an email sent to them each time I post.  I hope that you find my thoughts entertaining enough to want to come back.

Rick