This morning we found that our dear old family dog, Maxi, had died during the night. She was over ten years old, had been a great part of our children's lives, and was a very good dog. She will be missed, to say the least. It made for a sad morning with a bit of a scramble to drop all plans and deal with God's gift instead.
We had to wait til dawn to find a spot to bury her, deciding on a little area out of the main thoroughfare, near to a small patch of pine woods in a clearing to the left of the goat pen, away from the house but not too far away, and without the additional encumbrance of rocks and roots which makes digging - already a heavy task especially given the reason - extra burdensome. We only had to contend with red Georgia clay and a little layer of white crumbly rock at some point, and dug til we felt satisfied, and were too worn out to dig any more. It was a family affair - our oldest boy away at school happened to call while we were digging, so he shared as best he could in the moment - and naturally tears were shed (we thought she might hang on for a couple years more after all) but in the end all is well. A hard piece of life but one good for the soul, surely, as we were all, each in our own way, plunged unexpectedly into reflections on mortality - which can, if God blesses us, be a very good thing.
A couple of months ago we had, with help, replaced all the purple martin houses that had blown off in last year's storms. This time we installed stronger wire so they'd hang to last (we live in a bit of a severe thunderstorm belt), and as fate would have it the night after we rehung the martin homes we had a windstorm! Thankfully in the morning the nests hadn't budged, and we were all glad. The martins spend several months with us and migrate south for about the other half of the year, so we got things ready just in time for the scouts to come through and find everything in order. We waited a few weeks in some trepidation as we weren't sure if we'd missed the window for the scouts - when one day while visiting with family outside we spied three martins circling over and over again, for at least twenty minutes, high above the nests on the pole in the north field. Hooray! Before we knew it the whole group of martins had returned, and we felt grateful for having the opportunity to provide them shelter. With their return, we have poured much thought and effort into our son's upcoming return home for his Easter break. Lent is already a time of reflective and concerted preparation involving sacrifice; this year's Lent had seemed even more so - more full of sacrifice, more full of anticipation, more full of the need to prepare for something special. God added a small extra to our food for thought this morning as well as to our physical tasks at hand, may He always be praised!
Mid morning, after the difficult task of burying our beloved family dog was done, we trudged back toward the house carrying shovels and tools with mud-caked boots and lightly tear-stained faces. Gazing up we saw a beautiful blue sky, bright with the morning sun and embellished with soft, lovely white clouds, all over a landscape of lush and green spring-life of verdant grass, little field flowers, and trees covered with blossoms and new leaves. Our goats were full of greeting, the chickens and roosters noisily hailed the morn, the puppy played in the back yard. Birds of all kinds were flitting about and singing, and way overhead, wheeling and wheeling, were numbers of twittering purple martins, recalling us to the happy homecoming that awaits those of good will. Our time here is short; what shall we do with our time? God bless our work and keep us on His path!
On this little homestead our family aspires to work the land and hand on the Catholic Tradition, walking in wonder and learning to live by the fruits of our labor, in honor of Our Lady of Fatima, who guides us to Him.