Summertown, where the living’s easy

Seriously, that’s what is on the ‘Welcome’ sign leading into my town:

‘Summertown, where the living’s easy.’

Pretty clever, I think.

Sorry for the delay in blogs- if you care- but for one, I went to a week long conference in Vegas, which was a blast but time consuming, and two, I’ve been chewing on a blog that I just can’t seem to spit out just yet… so I decided to give y’all an update.

Yes, I’m officially saying y’all.

On Mother’s Day, we will have been living here at the farm for exactly one year. I honestly can’t believe it. This place has felt so new, and so foreign to me, that’s it’s dang near impossible for me to imagine that I had only lived in my last home for two years. We’ve now been here half as long as I was there. That last home still feels like what home should feel like to me. And this house, in some ways, still feels just as foreign as it did the day we got here.

But just in some ways…

As we’re rounding the bend towards summer- and man are we ever coming in HOT towards summer- I’m starting to run through some of the old familiar feelings of being new to town, new to country living, and new to this old farm house. As I drive around town, and recognize friends at the grocery store, I’m realizing that this place is familiar to me. I am home. These people are becoming my people. But then, I’ll be outside on the front porch among the bees and wasps and beetles and spiders, and I’m reminded of how I felt my first day here: Afraid and unsure.

Today, I was talking with a new friend- seriously God bless the south, these people are so warm and welcoming- and I started to tell her the story of when a brown recluse spider almost made me move back home to Nevada (read more here). And I was reminded, as I relived the story with her, that I heard God whisper:

…you’re not a country girl, or a city girl, you’re my girl.

The memory of that whisper struck me. It hit me like a ton of bricks, actually. And it reminded me that THIS is where God wants our family. HERE, very specifically, in Summertown, Tennessee. He brought us here, He made this whole thing happen, and this is where we’re supposed to be. And somehow that gives me peace.

So yes, I’m still afraid and unsure. I’m still home, but out of place. But then I’m reminded…

When I moved to San Diego for college, I almost didn’t make it through the first year there. I hated it. SAN DIEGO for crying out loud! I wanted to transfer. I came home A LOT. I visited friends in Irvine A LOT. I just didn’t want to be there. But half way through my second year there, I didn’t ever want to leave. It was home to me for 6 of the best years of my life after that.

When I moved back home to Woodland, after leaving San Diego, I quite literally cried for two days straight. I mean it. I sat in a chair and watched tv (or laid in my bed or took a shower- one of those three options) with tears streaming down my face round the clock. I thought I had made a mistake. I was certain my life was happening somewhere else, and I was out of place. I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. Three days later- THREE days- I met up with a guy named Thomas, who would become the guy who makes anywhere feel like home to me.

When I moved to Nevada, I thought my life was over. I swore I would live and die a California girl, and although the arguments to leave California were- are are- numerous and valid, I just couldn’t believe that my driver’s license would say Nevada. And to think, it would even have a big horn sheep on it. Are you kidding me? I’m not a big horn sheep kind of gal. For one whole year, I spent more time in California then I did at my home in Nevada. Thomas would get off work in South Lake Tahoe and drive two hours down to my mom’s house- where I could be found- instead of heading 20 minutes home to our apartment in Nevada. It just wasn’t my home.

Seven years later, I could safely say that those seven years living in Nevada trumped my best six years living in San Diego- hands down. And I still cherish and adore pulling out my big horn sheep Nevada drivers license to this day, because change is hard.

No matter the change. No matter the season. No matter the reason.

I sit here on my couch in my living room by my Golden Retriever (who is a Nevadan!), and the ever present Summertown breeze is blowing through the open window behind me. The baby is asleep, and Merit and Thomas are picking up Cadence from school. The house is quiet. And when I say quiet, I mean ‘country’ quiet, which is a mixture of the most quiet and peaceful silence, combined with the sounds of creation. Birds, breeze, chickens and yes… bees. The sun is shinning. The smell of grass is in the air. And I can’t imagine that there is anywhere else I’m supposed to be.

And yet change is hard. Not every moment here is filled with the breeze.

Alas, my favorite parts of this year have been realizing that relationships and ‘my’ people are here. They’re everywhere. They’re numerous! God is good, and has delivered on my most concerned prayers- will I be able to find ‘my’ people here.

I love, love, love watching the kids on their farm. When Merit wants to, anytime he wants to, he can pop on his shoes and head outside and I don’t have to worry about where he is or what he’s doing- for the most part. He visits the pigs, catches the chickens, plays with the baby chicks, or the kittens, and swings on the tire swing. He is so full of life, curiosity and discovery and it melts my heart every single day to know that his life will be one big adventure here. The three of them play together so well, and report back each day with giant, excited eyes about what the many animals outside are up to and what they’re learning!

On that note, we can confirm six new baby pigs! Although Elsa did give birth to her three little ones in the enclosure right up against the fence for our viewing pleasure, Charlotte took to the woods to have her babies. And despite many, many attempts to locate her and the babies, Thomas finally had to surrender and trust that natural instincts would win the day. Even when Elsa up and moved her babies into the woods as well, not to be discovered by us, we had to lean into faith, believing that they hadn’t escaped the pasture and they would return safely when the time was right.

And they did. Two moms and three healthy babies each. And boy are they cute.

The kittens are growing beautifully, and have now moved from Cadence’s pj drawer, to the back porch, and now into the shop. Each time we move them a bit further away from the house, mama Smokey brings them back. It’s a process. But as they are growing- only just a few weeks old now- they are starting to play with each other and us and although I stand firmly against cats, I will admit that they are dang cute.

We’ve added baby pheasants to the crowd. They came to us by way of a fertilized egg exchange- our chickens for their pheasants- and they are now hatching and living on our back porch by the space heater that is making the back porch intolerably hot.

The two baby ducks, quickly became one baby duck (lost one via fox), and that baby duck became a grown up duck in about half the time it takes a chicken to grow up. He or she- I’m not sure which- is freaking awesome and I’m kind of in love with seeing a duck waddling around the barn and swimming in the pig trough. He/she ‘Aflacs’ every time you come near.

We’re missing Scout, of course, and have planted wild flowers all around him. The flowers and bulbs are blooming like crazy all over the place right now, which reminds me of when we first arrived. Flowers of every color in every direction. It’s really beautiful.

Our next adventure will be cows, it would seem. We’ve got a deal worked out with a farmer about two hours away for two pregnant cows. Yes, that’s four cows for the price of two. It’s a long game, of course, and most can’t be so patient. But we’ll either end up with two boy cows, who we’ll grow for meet, or two girl cows, who we’ll sell for dairy. Or a mix. All are fine by us. As is the case with most of our endeavors, we figure we’ll just work out the details as we go. So stay turned for the introduction of the two new ladies to the farm sometime this month.

Thomas is coaching Merit in baseball, and despite taking up 4 days of our week every week, we’re learning how very competitive sports can be in the South. Merit is in the 4-6 year old league, and although that might sound like a ‘just for fun’ kind of thing, one of the local teams went to the world series last year in this age group, so it’s not ‘just for fun,’ it’s very serious and we may or may not be in over our heads. Thomas signed up to be an assistant coach, but in the absence of a volunteer for head coach, guess who filled the shoes? We won’t be going to the world series this year, that’s for sure, but we’re starting to figure out how to get a dozen or so 4, 5 and 6 year olds to stand up and face the batter all at one time, so that’s a win in my book.

All in all, spring is flying by and we’re heading head long into summertime. I’m eager to celebrate one year here, and I’m also weary. Not because I’m not loving where I’m at, but because moving forward also means moving away. The more time that goes by, the more time there is separating me from what still feels like home. Like I said, when I think about my last house, it seems strange to think that I’ve been in THIS house half as long as I was in the last. Time has a funny way of carrying you away and towards…

But at the end of the day, I think it’s okay to be both; both nostalgic and hopeful. Both reflective and optimistic. Both distant and closer. Life is mixed. Life is all. And I just find myself smack dab in the middle of life…

… right here in Summtown, where the living’s easy.

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