I returned on a beautiful Sunday afternoon from an amazingly peaceful, fun, and rejuvinating vacation (of sorts) to our midwest farm, where I have no connections to a telephone or internet, to find my only milking goat dead, butchered, and neatly packed in ziploc freezer bags designated for Athena, 2 less chickens, and my middle son wearing thick, black, double casts. 

OK, so to answer the question probably weighing forefront on your mind, “How much did S tell me during the trip?”

Outside of Air Force career, S and I have no secrets, and we talk regularly when traveling.  Using my mother-in-law’s cell phone, I was able to call S on a daily basis, he just couldn’t call me.  Thus, I knew everything that was going on.  In regards to the goat, she was ill when I left, but we had pretty much done what we could do, and she was still seeming OK for the most part.  He told me as she went downhill, and left it to me whether to pay for vet services to get to the bottom of it.  After reviewing all the symptoms, however, and after the vet informed him that even she was clueless and would likely need hundreds of dollars worth of tests and farm calls, we agreed that he would do what he could and then put her out of her misery if need be.  He was here, and I totally trust his opinion and decisions.  After all, God has designed and called him to be the leader and make decisions for our family.  And I think he did a great job.  In regards to A, that was a bit of a shock–for both of us.  I only knew he had his first appointment for physical therapy.  So, after his appointment, I learned that he had been given his first set of casts to stretch his muscles and strengthen his hip flexors.  Sean had taken him to the appointment expecting PT exercises, and walked out with a kid who looked as bad as the goat! Poor kid is leaving bruises on anyone who happens to get too close to those heavy-weighted legs and his poor balance, but he has actually adapted very well.  Of course, within moments of my arriving home and beginning to unpack, he tripped, lost his balance, got his legs all tangled together, and tumbled backwards right into my suitcase. 

So, life is returning to normal–if there is such a thing.  For a while there, I feared S might manage to find plenty of extra work or even volunteer for an immediate TDY to keep him away from here for the next week or two, but, thankfully, he actually came home at his normal time this evening.  To reward him, I served a dinner consisting of a made-up casserole and no-bake cookies–with the primary reason being that he had run out of flour for bread (or pretty much anything else), milk, veggies for side dishes, spaghetti noodles, and fruit.  I didn’t have much choice.  Looks like a grocery store run might be in order!

For the record, Red Gate Farm was beautiful!  I worked my hiney off for the first few days, and got the kids bedrooms totally painted–my number 1 priority this week, did a bit of gardening, pruned the orchard, and spent some time just visiting the few people I know there.  I think read 3 full novels, and spent almost every “break” I took just sitting on one of the porches enjoying and dreaming.  The flowers, dogwoods, and red bud trees were in bloom, the peach and cherry trees were starting to fruit ( albeit a bit early), and the pasture grass was gorgeously lush.  I drooled for my animals, as I thought of the hay and feed we have to buy in and import here.   I did a little shopping too, which is something I only do about once a year or so–shopping is totally sensory overload for me!   The temperatures were generally between 60 and 80 the entire week, and it was sooooo incredibly nice to be warm.  Now that I’ve been home 24 hours, and the temps are dropping into the low 20’s tonight, and we’ve had already had snow flurries all day with accumulating snow predicted for the next 48 hours, I am already dreaming of my next trip, when we go as a family this summer.