Meet Jane

Meet Jane

Jane the goat

Husband and I welcomed the latest addition to our growing little family last night: Jane The Goat.

She’s a sweetheart of a little baby, just weaned and only 2.5 months old. It was honestly heartbreaking to take her from her mama, and the little thing bleated all the way home.

Bringing Jane home

Chappy was immediately interested in her new companion, although they are currently separated. And before long, Jane wanted nothing more than to be with Chappy. She now bleats when Chappy wanders away from their adjoining gate. I take that as a very good sign.

Chappy and Jane

Jane doesn’t like being caught, but gives up fairly easily once she is and lets me pick her up and hold her. We also introduced her to Ginger, who was fascinated and maybe a little jealous of the newbie (not uncommon for Ginger, she eventually gets over it).

When I went out for morning feeding, Jane actually approached me — it’s the first time she has initiated contact. I’m hopeful that with a lot of handling she will become very people-friendly, and with her young age, she’s likely to attach to Chappy just fine.

We couldn’t be happier with our new little girl, and she opens us up to a whole new world of things to learn.

Holding baby Jane

Bringing Chappy home

Bringing Chappy home

Chappy, at homeOne of the main goals with buying a piece of property was to be able to bring my baby girl, Chappy, home.

She’s been my baby since I met her at just two weeks old, then brought her home to live with me at 8 months. She’s a beautiful little 10-year-old mare now, and I love her to death. She has been residing at the home of a professor I met while in graduate school, and I AM SO LUCKY to have had her so close by. A HUGE thank you to the family who has kept her like one of their own. I couldn’t have done this without them.

But it is finally time to bring her home.

The fence is in place, the buckets are hung, the gates are up. Our backyard will be her new home. And looking out the big picture window in my own kitchen to see my girl grazing and lazing the day away is priceless.

But just like everything else with home-buying/home-ownership, it hasn’t been nearly as simple or straightforward as I would have liked.

First, it took far too long to prepare. Because, as is too often the case, other things cropped up. Other efforts were needed. Time was split.

Our first attempt was postponed. Our second attempt aborted when she refused to load onto the trailer. The next time I saw my girl, she walked right up to me and nuzzled my hand, clearly asking for forgiveness.

Another two weeks passed, with dedicated training involved. Finally, on attempt #3, we successfully brought my girl home.

Over the bridge to grandma's house we go

Trailering

Home.

I spent Memorial Day weekend constantly heading to the backyard just to marvel at the sight of her. So often I found myself distracted from my projects just gazing out the windows at her. She’s home.

Oiling my saddle

I truly believe that my love for horses is God-given. I believe that He placed in my heart a special place for these majestic creatures that He created with love and care. And in my life, I am to love and care for them as well. For this one in particular.

Chappy girl

I am so thankful that I was given this heart. It’s so much a part of who I am. And I don’t mean that I always want to be known as “the horse girl”. I mean that animals, horses in particular, are a part of my calling. Much the same as my work, my marriage and so many other things in my life. They are inseparable from the rest of me.

Arabian Horse

Someday, I’d like to write about more of the ups and downs and lessons God has given me in the past few years of trying to be wise and right. I was stretched and grown and learned so much. But it’s still a little raw. I’m still unsure of what it all means…

For now, I will bask in the knowing that my baby is home.

My baby

Adventure: DC (take 2)

Adventure: DC (take 2)

Apparently it’s a February tradition, we make a whirlwind weekend trip to DC to visit family and see the sights. I wish we could do it more often, but once a year is better than none. This time, we hit the National Zoo, Eden Center (for Vietnamese food), a couple REIs, LL Bean and Ikea, and Scott’s Run Nature Preserve.

National Zoo

National Zoo

Vietnamese food

Family

National Zoo

National Zoo

Scott's Run Nature Preserve

Scott's Run Nature Preserve

Scott's Run Nature Preserve

There’s so much more to do and see in DC. I can’t wait for the next visit…

Snowmageddon

Snowmageddon

They’ve been calling it “Snowmageddon” around here…nearly a foot of snow fell on Virginia Beach this week. It absolutely paralyzed everything. For two days, barely anyone has left home.

Husband and I spent some rare time together, drinking hot tea, playing with the pup, watching a zillion episodes of Psych, knitting, sledding, making mozzarella cheese and more. It was, in a word, lovely.

Ginger loving winter

Sledding

Husband in winter

Ginger

Snowy winter

Us

Making cheese

Playing with the pup

The days we love

The days we love

One thing has become so very evident to me in the past year — we must embrace every moment of the days we love.

Losing a loved one puts so many things into perspective. And sure, there’s nothing earth shattering or life-changing about canoeing. But, there will only be so many warm November days in my lifetime and I intend to embrace every one that I can.

So Husband and I invited my MIL and SIL to an afternoon of canoeing/kayaking/beach walking. I can’t think of a better way to embrace 73* in November.

Canoeing

The pup canoeing

Sunday afternoon

Back Bay

And even better, as we were loading up the boats to head out, a nice fog rolled in. We headed straight for the beach and watched it get thicker and thicker until we could hardly see the waves. There is nothing more magical than fog on the beach.

Fog rolling in on the beach

I hope I never begin to take these days for granted again. I hope that with all the tears of grief, there also remains the hope of life today. Carpe diem!

The pup in the fog

The pit of my stomach

The pit of my stomach

I think it was a sort of visceral reaction. I was shaking — imperceptibly to most, I’m sure, but I could feel it. My muscles tensed, exhaustion set in but fear kept me alert.

Really, it wasn’t a big deal. But to me, on that night, that week — it was.

The pup was having some sort of allergic reaction. First it was just itching, then hives on her chest, more on her legs. Next thing I knew her jowls were swelling big time.

Hives I can handle, but any sort of swelling near her throat and I get seriously concerned.

There was about an hour of back-and-forth with my mom (a vet tech) and her boss (the vet), several benadryl forced down Ginger’s throat, and then a lot of waiting and watching.

Watching for signs of distress, difficulty breathing. Because that’s the danger. Itchy hives we can deal with, swollen airways not so much.

I looked up the closest 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic — the first time I’ve ever had to do that. I had the number on hand just in case, and I memorized the directions. Difficulty breathing is nothing to mess around with.

My job was to monitor her until the next dosage, around 1am. Husband and I made an exception and invited her onto our bed for the night, so I could watch her closely.

We went through a bit more turmoil that evening, more forcing of pills, some vomiting, etc., and sometime around 2am I finally fell into a restless sleep. But I kept waking and hearing heavy breathing, always checking to make sure that was Husband and not the pup.

The whole thing felt eerily familiar. We had a similarly sleepless night one year ago. A series of them. Weeks of them. When we lost my dear brother-in-law.

I was tense, shaking, filled with dread. The same feelings.

As I watched the pup sleep, I prayed that this would not be like that night. That this would have a happy ending and not become a nightmarish new reality.

By morning the swelling had reduced. A few more pills and I felt safe heading off to work.

We escaped tragedy this time around, but I sometimes wonder if that visceral reaction will ever fade. Will I always feel that gravity, that twisting in the pit of my stomach when faced with such circumstances?

I’m inclined to think yes. I can never un-know or un-experience what we went through one year ago. And it will follow me for the rest of my life. The question is, how will I handle it?

snuggling with the puppy