Third Time’s A Charm Part 1

Woke up to the sad realization of what day it was.  My stomach is churning.  My heart is beating fast.  My eyes feel tight and teary. Today I will begin to leave.  It’s time to start packing.  It’s time to leave Florida.  How can I even fathom leaving?  I struggle with the thought.  My heart is here, on this rustic natural land.  My heart is here, with the people I’ve worked with side by side all winter.  My heart is here….

But it’s time to head north.  I must.  Time to head home.   Home?  Where exactly is home?  I’m not sure anymore.  I’m thinking it may be right here.

My mind is reeling, my guts are wretching.  It has been 90 degrees or more for days.  I’ve been miserably hot.  Still, I force myself to focus, and “break camp”.  The dogs watch with great anticipation.  They know something is up. Cleaning off, folding down and stacking up our outside furnishings.  Down comes the screen porch.  Down comes the dog yard.  Everything is strapped and stored in its secure place. Gone is all evidence of our comfortable home.  Soon after, I sort through the interior; putting things away, picking out things to leave behind, checking off the essential steps that must be completed prior to departure.  And I am one hot mess.

“When are you heading out?” I’m asked.

Not sure.  Planning on Monday.  I say with a sigh. Today is Wednesday.

ThirdTimeP104Morning farm chores are difficult in the next few days.  Every morning my walk to do chores and back presents a new natural wonder to me.  Perhaps it’s seeing the turkeys.  Or the eagle fledglings in their nest.   Sometimes it’s getting very close to the deer in the vineyard.  Some mornings it’s simply the exquisite beauty of the dew filled spider webs along the trail.

Carrying a fresh bucket of hay, my walk down the trail is a somber one.  Sugar has been acting strange lately anyway. Now she won’t even approach me.  I coax her to me and brush her down while she munches on fresh hay.  I think she knows I am leaving. Sugar3 I hug her, and tell her everything is going to be just fine.  I’ll see her again before long.  The mini horses are being strange too.  They jump and pull and cause quite a bit of commotion as I walk them from the barn to their pasture. How I love to jog with Happy.  And the boys?  Well they are just a bundle of trouble that I adore.  Maybe they notice my lack of eye contact.  Maybe they’ve caught me staring at them for long moments from afar.  Funny how animals sense these things.  But every time I look at them I almost cry.  I’m not even gone and I already miss their stubby little legs and bushy manes!

ThirdTimeP101From the mini’s I head to the Welcome Center, where the bunnies wait for their morning alfalfa.  They look up at me, eager for morning greens and cuddles.  Cotton and Scarlet, delicate balls of softness.  How I want to take them home with me!  The Welcome Center–where all the action is.   I stand behind the counter, place my hands firmly on it and with arms stretched out, soak up the feel of the thick, wood counter top.  How many amazing people I had the great fortune to meet right here!  People from around the world.  People from around the neighborhood.  People who believe in a natural, farm to table lifestyle, searching for tools to help bring them closer to their own. This solid counter, the solid foundation of nature, and all things natural are all here.  ThirdTimeP103Then I peek into the garbage can-turned-nesting box to see how the newest baby chicks are doing. Mama Hen looks up with a suspicious eye as I switch out their water.  The chicks are nestled tight under her fluffed bosom.  I’ve been here for 4 rounds of broody hens hatching chicks.  I will miss them all so much!

Emotions are getting the best of me. Quickly, I grab the key ring to the historic buildings, step outside and grab the chicken feed, and head over to greet the rest of the flock over at the chicken coop.  Birds bust out the door in all directions, ready to peck around the yard all day.  The third batch of babies are my favorites.  Although they are almost grown, they still follow me everywhere.  Some jump up on my arms.  The sound of chickens is so comforting.  I should tape record my babies!

Next, I open the Pioneer building, and take a long, lingering glance around the room.  Everything in this room is old.  Even the air smells old.  The story starts here.  The family started their journey with this cabin.  It chokes me up just imagining having roots and a legacy that can be traced back so far. Taking a deep breath, I cross the yard over to the Museum.  I unlock the big wood door, swing it wide, prop it open with the rustic, weathered pole, and pull the big rubber mat across the entryway.  I enter and flick, flick, flick the light switch until the room illuminates.  Walking through the Museum is like taking a giant step back in time.  Hundreds of artifacts displayed here tell the Cracker story.  I start up the boom box, locked and loaded, ready to play a constant loop of Cracker Cowboy tunes.  Cracker Museum ambiance. Standing in the room, I sigh and look around at the amazing piece of history I am leaving.

On the way to the Tatum House I stop at the corral and lean against the rail.  Visions of our March Festival come alive as I study the old, original sugar cane press and boiler, remembering the boiling, steaming brew that cooked all day.  Beyond the far rail, sugar cane is growing tall in the big “kitchen garden”, along with a plethora of fresh, organically grown produce.  I will miss that too.  And next to it, Paula’s ‘work in progress’ pollinator garden.  My chest fills with worry about where funding will come from to complete that garden.

ThirdTimeP102As I continue to the Tatum House, there he stands, just looking at me from across the yard, grunting.  Head down, unlocking everything, my mind drifts off, recalling the unique outdoor weddings Ivy and I took pictures of on this enchanting, rustic porch. Yes, my heart is heavy as I make my way across the grounds to take care of morning chores.  Even Squirt the pig seems to know, as he continues to stand and grunt at me.  I finally greet him with my last carrot, and walk away.

Chores are done.  I return the key ring to the office wall, and make the long walk back to the Toy Hauler. My daily routine will soon be no more.  Yes, I leave on Monday.  The ground becomes a blur as tears fill my eyes.

Can’t believe I’m going to leave all this.

 

Thank you for reading my post.  Was it inspiring?  Scary?  Funny?  Unbelievable?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  Life is an adventure—and it begins today!  Why wait for an invitation to live an amazing life full of great experiences? There are lots of inspirational stories under my blog category, “PRs Amazing Outdoor Adventure Update”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website. You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’. 

 If you find yourself spending your time not doing what you love, I invite you to contact me for help to create your own, amazing adventure.  As always, please feel free to share with others who may find meaning and value in exploring limitless possibilities with PR Brady AdVentures. Thanks again!

 

 

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Comments

  1. You paint such beautiful, vivid pictures with your words. I felt like I was there with you and the animals. It’s so hard to leave sometimes, but it’s often what we most need to do. Safe journeys!

    • Thank you Mary! I feel fortunate that I can connect with and express the “heart string pulling” level of what it’s like to bond with the earth and animals. I am honored that you were touched by it, as I know that you too, are so very in tune with nature.

  2. LIfe can be bittersweet at times….yes. I’m always sad when it comes time to leave my family or friends, but once the journey begins my excitement of what might lie ahead overtakes my sadness.

    • Yes, I feel blessed to be able to live in the moment and share those feelings with others. Love my life of adventure–indeed each new journey—each new day begins a new chapter of exciting. Wouldn’t trade it for the world.

  3. Thank you for your heart felt blog and wonderful pictures. I hear the grief of goodbye in your writing. Wrapping you around with infinite love and piece during this transition.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! Something I’ve come to discover about myself over the years is that I have the ability to step into situations without bounds, without fear, or conditions, judgments, or limits, to fully experience the moment–or hour–or week–or season with all of my senses, heart, and soul. I seem to be able to embrace each experience as though it is “the first time” every time. So grateful to be that way, it makes for a very rich, authentic and rewarding life.

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