Arising early in the morning, the house was chilly but I decided not to turn the heat on yet. It would be the first time since last March that I even considered it. Instead, I got out some jeans instead of the often appropriate shorts and a heavy flannel barn shirt as I prepared for my chores. Walking outside, the steps were wet from the rain and the sky was overcast, but off to the east where the sky was changing from the dark of night to gray, I could see that the clouds would soon be breaking.
Despite the heavy flannel work shirt and gloves, it was chilly, but I knew my preparation for feeding in the barn would warm me and I enjoyed the clean crisp air that replaced the usual humidity of warm weather. The horses were frisky in the pasture, a sign that they noticed the chill as well and I know I had to take care to step back as they came in. As long as no visitors are present, I let them run in since they all know their stall. Taking them out was, of course, a different issue since they would devour the yard around the barn and the house if I let them.
The barn cats were sitting on the ledge near their feeding place and the outdoor dogs, Val and Sal, the Great Pyrenees, entered the barn to greet me and look for their food as well. They were especially chipper since it was quite chilly, just the way they like it. The colder, the better is the way they see things with their double coats of fur. Before putting out the grain and doling out hay for the horses, I checked the thermometer and found it was thirty seven degrees, chilly indeed.
Once the horses were in their stalls which I secured, I fed little Angus, our Shetland pony and his sidekick, Sammy the goat. They have a special paddock and despite their continual squabbling, they are miserable when apart. Today was no exception in the disagreeable department for, as I went to their feed buckets, Angus nipped Sammy and he in turn, reared up and banged Angus with his head. Angus thought nothing of it, chasing Sammy around the paddock until they both realized that there was food in their buckets.
Before returning to the barn to put the horses out to pasture, I spread scratch for the chickens and looked for eggs and then fed the koi in the fish pond. When I put the last of the horses out, I looked to the eastern tree line and saw fast moving clouds of purple, then pink and golden and I knew the sun was about to show itself. I went inside, grabbed a cup of coffee and stood at the fence to watch the beautiful spectacle unfold.
The first indication was the sky brightening and then fine rays of sun shining through the line of pines to our east. It wasn't long before the rays were reaching beyond those trees and starting to shine down on the land about me and the added brightness brought something else to view. A family of deer was grazing in the field and a flock of turkeys was also nearby. They weren't frightened of me, for they know that I am not a hunter and that my property is safe during hunting season. Even the horses follow peaceful coexistence with them since neither is a threat to the other.
As I savored my rich coffee and looked at the scene I see so often yet never tire of, I realized that the reason I wanted to live in the country was clearly present right now. The peace, the serenity, the beauty and the abundance of different, but all very special creatures makes this homestead so special for me and my wife. And I know that it is all part of the wonders of this world that we all owe to God. Thank you, Lord for giving me this beautiful day and for making it fulfill my wish for a real fall day even down here in the Sunshine State. I couldn't ask for a better start to what turned into a most wonderful day.
And now, the day after, I begin my day with a repeat performance, sunny crisp and cold. I guess that living in Florida has made these days so precious to me. Rather than finding myself complaining about the cold, I revel in it since it isn't an everyday event. It is, rather, a special treat which reminds me of days long gone by. Life is truly wonderful when we take time to really savor all that it brings to us. It is precious, so enjoy every minute of it and realize how blessed we all truly are.