We ordered our wedding rings from a local jeweler, and when he let us know they were in a week earlier than expected, we stopped by his store on the town square on Saturday morning to take a look and see if we liked the rings as well in person as we did online. I situated my flowery blue and green mask so that it sat snugly beneath my glasses and happily hopped out into the sunshine.
At first, it seemed the store was closed because of the unlit neon sign and the front door’s darkened glass. I tugged on the handle anyway, and the door opened. The jeweler greeted us and brought out our order, summoning us to a side counter near the door.
While traveling in New Zealand, I searched for Lord of the Rings filming locations and found some of my favorites. Today, I present a special edition of “Five Fave Photos.” These are five photos from Lord of the Rings scenes.
Can you figure out what Middle Earth action happened in these locations?
One of my favorite sounds in the world is the hum of sheep shears.
It’s a murmur and a buzz as the shearers clip wool, a natural, warm fabric, from a sheep’s body. The blade and comb whir back and forth. There’s a clap at the end as the shearer sets the clippers down on the wooden shearing platform and releases a brilliant sheep, which scrambles through a small door to its friends in the holding pen.
Our farm is woven into a few hundred acres of woods. Fences wind across the creeks and up the sides of the hollers, and the livestock graze among the trees. I often walk along the fences in the woods to look for spots that need repairs. Sometimes, Jeff would join me while we were getting to know each other.
“This is a really nice patch of woods, Elise,” he would say. He’d tell stories from one of his college courses in which he learned how to gather sap from maple trees in the spring. “I’d really like to do that again.”
A couple of weeks ago, he scouted out four trees along the road, drilled holes in their sides, and secured spiles in the holes. He then pushed a short piece of plastic pipe over the spout of the spile. The end of the pipe dropped through the narrow opening of a milk jug, which he secured to the spile with twine.
It’s snowing heavily, and I returned home from chores not too long ago. Jeff and I spent the afternoon in the barn cleaning the chicken coop and completing some miscellaneous tasks. I let the poultry out of their pen to roam around while we cleaned. They were a bit reluctant to go, but as soon as they realized they could go eat some bugs, they flew the coop.
Everything was peaceful, snow a dusting, until 15 minutes in when every sheep, who had been standing peacefully in their pen, suddenly bolted. Szarlota and New Zealand smashed into each other in their hurry to escape from the danger. All of them gazed toward the opening of the barn lean-to.
Then, past the barn beam, outside of the sheep’s enclosure, strutted the Leghorn rooster and the Australorp hens. Butterscotch the Buff Orpington crept curiously around them to the front of the group.
The chickens had scratched their way along the outside of the barn, obscured from view, and now they were suddenly appearing. The sheep weren’t quite sure what to make of their feathered friends, even though they lived in enclosures right next to each other. Continue reading “Chicken Adventure”
I dropped a mic a couple of blog posts ago when I announced at the end that I was marrying the guy in the picture. Haven’t said much since then. So here is our story, as written for our wedding website:
Jeff and Elise met for the first time in July 2018 at a local Purdue Extension meeting on agritourism. Elise was part of the speaker panel and talked about New Zealand. Jeff was looking for ideas for the Christmas tree farm on which he was working. The two bumped into each other a couple of weeks later at the county fair. Then, in October, before the melodrama at the local theater began, they ran into each other at the concession stand. He was buying a drink and attempted to strike up a conversation about her tour guiding experiences during the Covered Bridge Festival, but she had to tell the workers that her mother had spilled her Coke and it had surged all the way from the back row to the front row and ice was everywhere and could someone please bring a mop?
A few days before Thanksgiving, Elise’s brother asked her if she wanted to use his extra artificial Christmas tree. However, she had resolved to always have a real Christmas tree and declined the offer. After Thanksgiving, she drove to the local Christmas tree farm to scout out the possibilities.
She picked out the perfect Charlie Brown tree, a tiny Eastern White Pine. Jeff handed her the saw to cut it down, and she proudly carried it away.
When she loaded it in her dad’s diesel F-350 truck, she heard someone yell, “Is that truck big enough for that tree?”
She turned around to see Jeff with an amused smile. He had just insulted her tree.
But he was carrying a Christmas tree on his shoulder.
I’m in the barn on the farm where I grew up, holding the first lamb to be born there in seven years. She’s one of the realizations of a tightly held dream: to be a farmer and shepherd when I grow up.
Ten minutes after this picture was taken, I nearly fell, my knees giving out, suddenly becoming desperate to lie down.
That was nothing new, though. That sort of thing had been happening for several weeks because of weird health issues. Those challenges have continued, but we’re getting closer to an answer. Continue reading “This Is Me”