Chapter 1.12: Dear Diary, Horses, Chickens and Cows, Oh My!

Chapter 1.12: Dear Diary, Horses, Chickens and Cows, Oh My!

Entry 12:

Journal, can you imagine my excitement when I learned that we had finally done enough to the out-buildings to get our animals? I’ve been beside myself with anticipation and happiness! Once they arrive, this will be a full-fledged working farm!

And animals are so darn cute. Liev told me they’re a lot of work but the more he went on about the responsibility part, the more I heard, “Blah, blah, blah.” I know it sounds immature. I just don’t want to focus on cleaning the stalls. I want to relish the idea of cows, chickens and horses and how adorable they are. It’s going to be great! I’m gong to milk a cow! I’m going to play with chickens and ride horses!

“Yes,” Liev had said with a very sober expression when I gushed more of my thoughts to him, “we’ll be milking the cows and taking care of the animals daily. Even when you don’t feel well. Even when you’d rather be doing something else because there are a million other things that have to be done.” What a wet blanket. He must think I’m so dumb. I know that animals come with a big responsibility.

While I’ve been busying myself with gardening, canning and taking pictures of Keniesha, Liev has repaired the chicken coop, brought in hay and fixed the barn roof. It seems we are always busy!

The garden is coming along. I haven’t harvested anything yet and keeping up with the weeds is next to impossible, but this is kind of a stress free zone for me so I don’t mind spending my time here.

I hope that someday, I’m surrounded by my children in this garden. I can see their antics and hear their laughter now.

Speaking of children, Keniesha is doing pretty well. She’s six months along and not having morning sickness any longer, which is a huge relief for everyone, let me tell you.

She’s been eating some strange things, though. I really can’t understand it. The worst I can think of is when I walked into the house after gardening and I thought a skunk had died in there or something.

I didn’t like the idea of coming across anything dead but I knew I had to find whatever it was and dispose of it. Still, no matter how long I searched, I couldn’t find the source of the smell.

Finally, I asked my sister. She was in the dining room eating from a bowl.

“It’s my lunch!” she snapped, glaring at me.

Good gravy, how could anyone’s lunch be so odoriferous? And what would possess anyone to eat it? Presently, I found out she was eating beets, hard boiled eggs and sauerkraut. Together. And she was smiling while she did it, too, as if she’d never been so content in her life.

Isn’t she cute, though? I guess I can overlook some of these dietary faux pas for now. And Mango is so proud!

I made the mistake a couple months ago of asking her if she knew what she was having. She’d just had an ultrasound, for Pete’s sake. Why wouldn’t this auntie ask?

Her response? “A baby. I’m having a baby.”

Wow. I know I don’t always have the keenest grasp of the obvious but just… wow.

The fact is, lately, she and Mango have been keeping everything close to the vest. They won’t discuss what names they are thinking of either. It’s as if they have this really special secret just between the two of them.

Anyway, I am praying Keniesha is holding her ground with Mango in the name department.

Now that you have the pregnancy update, I’ll show you what we’ve been doing outside! This is the front of our house. I’m hoping that someday soon, they pave this road. It’s a real stinker to drive down after it rains. Liev says not to hold my breath, though.

See the tree house? When Liev was a kid visiting his Gramps, he played in that tree house. From what I heard, Gramps and Liev built it together. I can’t help but smile when I think of my kids playing in the very tree house their father and great-grandfather built.

This is the front porch. Isn’t it pretty? (Or “purdy” as some of the folks around these parts would say.) I really love the tinkling sound the wind chimes make when the breeze rolls in.

This is the side garden. There is a garden on the other side as well, but it’s really overgrown and I just don’t see myself getting to it any time soon.

Apparently, Gramps found that statue but no one seems to know from where. My bet is he dragged it home from a cemetery or some place abandoned and spooky. From the colorful stories Liev tells about Gramps, this is all I can imagine! Someday, I’d like to write down some of the stories Liev tells about Gramps. That would be a bestseller for sure!

Liev said that Gramps called the statue Annabel Lee.

There’s the barn and the hay bales Liev stacked. And guess what? The animals are here!

I can’t wait to show you our beautiful horses! I’ve been taking riding lessons but I’m nowhere near as good Liev. He says he’s been riding all his life and not to compare myself to that. He thinks I’m doing just fine.

This is the back of the house and my garden there on the left. Oh yes, and the chicken coop that Liev repaired on the right. Now, it’s chock full of chickens! Their antics really crack me up.

On a side note about the chickens…. the sweet, dear things…. upon first meeting them, the rooster made it quite clear that I’m to keep my distance. He chased me all the way back to the house! I ran inside and was afraid to come out again. Liev calls this rooster “Gus” but I have a secret name for him… which I’ve decided not to share in writing.


And Liev… he really surprises me sometimes.

“What are you wearing?” I’m not one to be all that picky about what someone chooses to wear, but I gotta say, this had me raising an eyebrow.

“Work clothes,” he said simply. Then he rewarded me with that lopsided grin of his.

“Work clothes. Hmmm. You look like some kind of bumpkin.”

He put his hands on his hips and twirled like a deranged, drunken fashion model. “Thank you. I’m just a good ol’ boy.”

I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Look, I’m out here to work and get dirty,” he said, “not to look all sophisticated for you.”

I playfully smacked him in the shoulder. “Okay, okay.”

“Well, sometimes you act like such a city slicker.”

He was immediately rewarded with another playful smack in the shoulder.


In those work clothes, Liev was determined that I should learn the ins and outs of farm life.

There are the cows! Aren’t they beautiful? Their names are Mabel, Delilah and Effie (because at least one cow should always be named Effie).

I braved the chickens long enough to feed them while Liev fed the cows. Apparently, the rooster doesn’t see the need to attack if you’re feeding him. I warily kept my eye on him just the same.

Then Liev offered to show me how to milk the cows and I have to admit, I was quite eager to learn.

Until this city slicker got closer to one of them. I think it was Mabel, but honestly, I really can’t tell. I don’t know how Liev recognizes which one is which.

“Good gravy! What is that smell?” Skipping any attempt to be delicate or graceful, I pulled the collar of my shirt over my nose and mouth. I think my eyes were watering.

Liev just stared at me for a moment. It was his turn to raise an eyebrow. “Ummm… it’s a cow.”

Needless to say, he milked the cows by himself. Maybe each day, I’ll get another foot closer. I don’t reckon we can count on that for certain, though.

Liev, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to notice it.

“All I smell is fresh air,” he declared at one point. As if that statement explained everything and should make sense to me.

All I can think is, if this is the smell of fresh air… well, I’d just as soon not find out what the opposite smells like. I sure don’t remember the city smelling badly but Liev insists the city stinks something horrible.

Speaking of odors, there is a whole lotta “fresh air” around these beauties as well, but I’m getting used to it. Maybe. I mean, there is just something about these guys that really make me forget what I’m smelling. So, meet Dilly and Dally.

And what farm or ranch would be complete without cats and dogs? Well Misty and Mister here are the best mousers in the county! Not that I’ve ever seen mousers before. Liev says they’re very good, anyway. I didn’t figure I’d want to pursue how he knows this as a fact.

On a side note, Liev wanted to call them Beatrice Minerva and Elwood P. but I put my foot down.

These are my sweet pups Biscuit and Gravy. Liev says the little one is a Beagle and should be a good companion when hunting. All I know is they’re both about the cutest things I’ve ever seen.

At least in the late afternoon before things get crazy again, we can usually take a break.

“I wish this day would never end and that we could stay out here all the time.”

He stroked my hair and then murmured, “Me, too. But tomorrow’s Monday and it’s back to the grind.”

No matter how often I tried to convince him it would work, he just didn’t see any possibility of quitting his job to work the farm full time. While there was nothing he’d like better, it just didn’t make sense financially.

So, our routine began to slowly fall into place. I did what morning chores I could and worked in the garden. He took care of the animals before and after work.

I pushed unpleasant thoughts of Monday out of my head and reveled in the feel of his fingers smoothing my hair.

That particular afternoon, we stretched out in the sweet smelling grass and talked about our future together.




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