THE SHEPHERD CALLED THEM HOME

   The OLD SHEPHERD’S Barn

 

 The quaint old man in knee high boots prepared to call them in.  

“Get behind the barn,” he said. “If they see you they won’t come.”

“How many sheep?” I asked.  “‘Bout 300, lambs ‘n all.” 

  Now, gesturing toward distant field, no movement was revealed.

Obligingly, I took my place behind the aging barn.  Waiting, watching as I hid, chuckling as I did his bidding.

Toward a crumbling fence he moved upon a trampled path. Now he stood near leaning gate and I began my wait.

With steady steps, he walked and called.

No words escaped his weathered lips, just eerie, high toned wailing sounds known only to his flock.

Behind the barn and waiting,

I peeked toward leaning gate.  All I saw were rolling fields.

He stood alone to wait.

Suddenly a far off hill was filled with moving masses; now out of sight, no movement seen.

 A quiet moment passes.

Another hill and nearer now, all racing through the fields toward Him. There, he waited, calm and still.  His presence did not yield.

Three hundred creatures fell in line behind the One whose voice they knew.  Now through the gate, into the fold, safe at last.

The Shepherd brought them home.

“My sheep listen to my voice;I know them, and they follow me.”

(John 10:27)

 

copyright©2019

Photography by Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

Mr. Bischoff’s Sheep

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

THIS OLD FARM FEELS LIKE A LONG LOST FRIEND..

It’s always good to be back home again.

Married four years in 1959, living on the lakeshore
with a toddler of three and an infant of six months,
we began to look for another,  safer, and perhaps more friendly place to live.

Safer was my thinking.Never having learned to swim, we were living on the lakefront,
 surrounded on three sides by water.
In addition to the lake at the front, there were deep canals to the north and west.

We had no preconceived idea about the style of home for which we were searching.
Looking at several locations, none seemed to be the answer.

Someone told us there was an old farm for sale nearby.
Perhaps we should check into that possibility.
Neither of us had been raised on a farm.

The idea of a farm was a bit of a stretch.

Approaching the owners, we learned the farm included twenty acres.
a cobblestone house and an old barn.  A local business had planted pine trees to later harvest for Christmas trees at both ends of the long and narrow property.

Checking it out, we found there was also an old garage, chicken coop, root cellar and corn crib.

We decided to take a look.
The old farmhouse had been built by the sons of the original owners in 1936.
We’ve always assumed that’s when it was constructed
since the date is embedded at the top of the 13 cement steps leading to the basement.

f5c48-barn2bon2bfall2bday2bfor2bcenter2bcopy
Eventually we learned the barn had been built in 1917.
It was in need of painting along with other repairs
about which we hadn’t yet learned.

After our visit with the owners, we talked on our way home.
“Well, what do you think?” my husband asked.
“I liked it”, I said. “And you know what, I felt like I’d been there before”.
He responded, “So did I”.

It seemed this was where we were meant to be.

In 2019 we celebrate our 60th year of  life at Hidden Meadows Farm.

My husband and I were in retail businesses.
He owned and operated an Ace Hardware and Sporting Goods for 25 years.
I owned and operated a Hallmark Shop for 13 years.

During those years of involvement in retail businesses, we raised sheep for ten years.

A flock of 100 was ours
when we sold them in 1998.  At that time, since we both had retired from retail, we purchased a fifth-wheel and made plans to look around this great country in which we live.

Over the years, we’ve had goats, pigs and chickens. Our pasture afforded us the opportunity to have horses
for our sons and grandchildren.
We’ve also entertained ducks and geese and peacocks. (Or did they entertain us?)

Many wonderful dogs have graced our acreage,
including a St. Bernard , German Shepherd, and a Collie.  Several hunting dogs added greatly to the enjoyment of our sons.
Last but not least, we enjoy the one we have now, a Toy Poodle.
Yes, there were a few cats too. I seem to remember a rabbit living in the house for a time. But, that’s another story.

When we first arrived, there was an apple orchard
which has now been reduced to four trees.
(They have grown old even though we have not.)
We have two pear trees
still producing very, very small fruit.
This year, one tree produced two pears.
(It may be time to plant new trees.)
In the beginning of life on Hidden Meadows Farm, we had a small orchard of cherry trees.

There are enough maple trees surrounding the house and barn to hang ten or twelve sap buckets in early spring.
Many labor intensive hours have provided us
with wonderful maple syrup for the family. The hours of labor are, of course, provided by my husband.

The years of “Living The Life” which have been given to our family
at this wonderful homestead are indeed a treasure. 

When we were considering the purchase many years ago,
we asked my Dad, who was a carpenter by trade in his early years,
what he thought about the place.
He said, “There’s probably nothing that’s level or even.
It seems solid enough, though.
If I were you I wouldn’t put much money in it,
because you don’t know how long you’ll be living here.”

If he could only have known!

copyright©2018

Photography by Mary Anne Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

A MOMENT IN TIME

I began to think of the way we are linked together
 through His creation. The markings of the geese are specific,
  always the same for a particular breed.

 

AT THE END OF THE DAY

Looking Back

1995-2019

 
 

While enjoying the END OF THE DAY during a late August evening
 on our porch swing,
 The readily identifiable sounds of approaching geese
 could be heard.

 

The maple trees in our front yard formed a thick canopy over the place where we sat.We could hear the geese, yet couldn’t see them clearly.

 One glimpse through the leaves,
  told us there were five.

 

The farm has twenty acres, eight of which are hay fields. Geese often headed toward the fields at the end of the day, during late summer, to feed and to rest before starting their journey south for the winter.

As the five flew over our yard, 
a fluffy white feather floated quietly to the ground.

 What were the chances that a tiny feather
 could find its way
 through those thick leafy trees,
 coming to rest on the grass before us?

I began to think of the way we are linked together
 through His creation. The markings of the geese are specific,
  always the same for a particular breed.

 

Our family has now lived on this old farm 
for 60 years.
 This was an August evening, the END OF THE DAY,
 when my husband and I decided to rest 
on the porch swing 
to enjoy the quiet of the evening.

 

Just then,
 our Maker placed us together
 with other creatures of His creation.

 He is the One
 who all the oceans placed,
 set the world in space 
and created us.

 On this late summer evening, 
He chose to join His creations together 
for a special moment in time.

A coincidence? Perhaps…

* * * *

 

Winging low across the evening sky,

with necks outstretched,

the five in line responded to imprinted flight

formed countless centuries ago. 

A canopy of leaves formed overhead,

blocking them from view.

Gliding lower, wings now set,

the five flew toward feeding fields at dusk. 

How quickly they had come into our solitude,

then disappeared into the evening shadows. 

Now out of sight, ghostly silhouettes,

markings meticulously ordained when time began.

A snow white feather drifted slowly to the ground. 

Now cradled in the grass, 

The evening dew its bed. 

Binding our lives with theirs, 

All, now ever changed.

The great creative plan of One

who set the world in space,

the oceans placed, species defined,

now paused with us for a moment in time. 

We were one with Him.

It was the END OF THE DAY.

copyright©2019
 
Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck
 

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

THINGS I SHOULD NEVER FORGET TO REMEMBER..

I wouldn’t even be telling you this
 if it wasn’t that I had recently seen posts on Facebook 
from women 
who had observed the same event
 that I experienced…….

 
“You need to change your ways!”

 
I’ve heard that statement many times. 
Like the words to an old song, 
they keep going ‘round in my mind.
One of my life changing events was in early spring of 1989, as I recall.
 A few years before,
my husband and I 
had decided to raise sheep.
 
One day, I suggested we should get a lamb.. 
After all, we have this little farm.
Our grandkids lived next door, 
it would be fun.
 

 It wasn’t long 
before my husband came home
 announcing
he’d found a lamb.
 In fact, he’d found two, a male and a female. 
They were orphans.
They needed people to love and care for them.
That would be our family.
I don’t remember the exact time frame
as the events began to unfold.
It wasn’t long after the arrival of the lambs,
I casually suggested to my husband, we should start 
a flock.
“We have “Bo” and “Betsy” and the grandkids love them.”
We also had this old barn 
with nothing in it but nothing.

It was then we began our search for mature ewes.
 We would use them to build our flock.
 We had Bo.
who wasn’t what you’d call a breeder at this young age.
He would be in a year or so
when he was no longer a “lamb.”
 The plan to become shepherds 
was quickly put into action.
We were proud and excited about our new, proposed lifestyle.
 My husband was in the retail hardware business.
  I owned and operated a Hallmark shop. 
This would be fun.
A little something extra to give us something to do in our spare time.
One day a gentleman came to call
 who was interested in looking at our lambing operation.
I was more than happy
 to show him
  our nearly 100 year old barn,
 and our new flock of sheep.
Now, this is the point where I veer away from the sheep
 and explain some of my habits to you.
 I wouldn’t even be telling you this
 if it wasn’t that I had recently seen posts on Facebook 
from women 
who had observed the same event
 that I experienced
on my journey to the barn that day.
 
Without getting too personal,
 I’m going to reveal my lifetime habit
of getting ready for bed at night. 
Included in my habit,
was the removing of my jeans and underwear
together in one swift motion. 
Unfortunately this has, on occasion, 
caused a slight “public” embarrassment.
That’s odd, I said I would be
getting ready for bed “at night”.)
How could that possibly affect my actions in the daytime? Hmm…
Back to the fine gentleman 
who had come to look at our flock.
We were walking to the barn
 when he turned around, 
looked quickly back toward the driveway, 
and said,
 “Oh! You’ve dropped your hanky.” 
Intuitively, as I turned, I knew what I was about to see.
 The clump of white lying in the driveway 
was instantly recognizable to me. 
It was definitely not my hanky. 
It was my underwear, 
which had been clinging,
 (with the help of static electricity from the dryer, )
to the inside of my jeans. 
The undergarment had chosen that moment 
to release itself from the fabric of my jeans,
 and to embrace the ground 
in the driveway. 
“I’ll get it”, he said,
 turning around and taking a step
 toward the object. 
“No”, I said, 
“I’ll get it”.  
We were immediately in competition
 to get to “the hanky”first .
 I outran him by seconds,
 scooped up ‘the hanky’ 
and shoved ‘it’ 
into my jacket pocket.
 Bless his heart.
 He seemed totally unaware ,
of the rapid beating of my heart,
 which was not caused
 from the exertion of running
 to the area of the driveway
 in question.
 
You might think 
the experience would have been a lesson
 forever etched in my mind. It was definitely time to renew my habits.
 However, that was not to be.
Continuing…
One quiet morning in summer 
I had opened my Hallmark Shop at nine a.m.
 allowing my employees to come in later.
 
 A pleasant fellow was the first to stop by.
 He stood just inside the front door,
where we visited for twenty minutes or so.
 As he turned to leave, he said, 
“You may want to check the leg of your slacks
 near your right shoe”.  
With that, he went upon his way.
 
Looking down at my shoe,
  in full view
 was a visible display of one of my nylons, 
which was making its way
 past the static electricity in my slacks
 to heaven knows where.
Can you imagine
  what the nice fellow must have been thinking 
as we stood there and talked?
 He apparently had decided 
he would tell me 
just as he went out the door,
 without looking back.
 He must have envisioned the expression he would surely see on my face when I found the scene he’d described. 
I don’t know if men are prone to giggling. 
But I’ll bet this fellow was giggling as he made his way to the car.
At this moment,
 it’s important for me to tell you
  I’ve never had either of these experiences again.
 I really have changed my habits,
 about certain things.
My friends and family would tell you it is rare for me to change my mind about anything, and I still have some mind changing to do.
At Christmas that year, 
 my family gave
 me a bottle of fabric softener 
and a pair of nylons
with lace edged suspenders sewn on them.

One of the changes I have yet to make
 is not to share with anyone 
the embarrassing things 
that happen to me.

I really do need to change my ways.

Photography by Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

[email protected]

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

 

WHERE'S THE BEEF?

 When lilac bushes appear in a vacant field,
we know an old Michigan farm 
once stood nearby.

Where’s The Beef?
Spring 1964

Musings of a Homemaker (3) – Houghton Lake Resorter


Strolling down our lane 
one may be overwhelmed

 by the aroma of lilacs and apple blossoms.

 Tiny pink flowers
 nod gently in the spring breezes.

 When lilac bushes appear in a vacant field,

we know an old Michigan farm 
once stood nearby.

We are careless with adjectives;

 lovely, cute and sweet. 


 When something is found worthy of a special description, 

words are used

 in a careless fashion.

They are overdone and unimpressive.

Have we become a nation of adjective droppers?

Little girls are sweet and cars are sweet. 
Dresses are sweet.
Fishing rods are sweet.

 Sugar is sweet.

The weather is lovely.
 Your wife is lovely.
 Children are lovely. 
Dinner is lovely.

Freckles are cute. 
Puppies  are cute.
 Babies are cute.

Everything is sweet,cute and lovely.

WHERE’S THE BEEF?

Teen-agers are sometimes
 juvenile delinquents.
 We may have delinquent taxes.

Senior citizens may have
 gray hair.
Gray haired people may be
 senior citizens.

Phrases overused
are lost.

 Adjectives become
 bruised, broken and meaningless.

Let’s save them for another day.

***

(This all seemed like a good idea in 1964)

And then..

2018

Where Are We Now?

What happened to the adjectives? 
They were sweet,cute and lovely.

 Now it’s PC,

G and LOL,. It may be ESP and APP
We are politically correct. 

Or are we?

Oh, and by the way, we type PC for “politically correct” now.

Those in the know understand 

what we mean.

We  type G for “grin.”
LOL  means “laugh out loud.” 

ESP stands for “extrasensory perception”;

APP for “application.”

We type COOL for good, 
wonderful,
 smart 
and up to date.

A perfectly wonderful language
 has been simplified 
to nothing.

Children in elementary school are not being taught cursive writing.

Much of their writing  
is unreadable.
Making matters worse,
many young people
cannot “read” cursive writing.

Think about it!
The United States Constitution
was produced in cursive writing.

President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
was written by him, as the story goes,in cursive writing,
as he was seated on a train
on his way to Gettysburg.

Why have we decided
to avoid teaching cursive writing
 to generations of  young Americans
who will never be able to read
those original, historical papers?

In response to questioning,
 a teacher informed me,

 “Within ten years
 no one will be using handwriting.

 Everyone will be using computers.”

Think of the handwriting experts
who will be unemployed.
(That’s a joke.)

With this information in mind,
 the overuse of “adjectives ” becomes cute and darling.

Describing anything at all
with the terms, “sweet and lovely,”
for they have become the only remaining,
 desirable speech.

Our English language
 is bruised and broken.
 It has been transformed into 
disconnected letters.

Bring back the adjectives.
 Bring the verbs and the adverbs.

I long for them.

Is it just me?

copyright©2018

Photography By Mary Anne Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

VIEW FROM MY PORCH SWING

The View From My Porch Swing

1996

Through the years I’ve watched our trees that never seem to change.

Across the road,

where once our sons and neighbor children came to play

on stubby fields of meadow grass,

there grow trees and underbrush

so high

no pathways show.

Even now,

those boys and girls seem ever young.

My thoughts are filled with

visions of them playing there.

Hidden there midst oak and pine,

in memory,

there lies an open meadow.
Joyful youth played games

on long, 
hot summer  days

in full pursuit of life.

Those days and sights and sounds of living

never left my inner soul.
 Returning to this quiet place,
 from the porch swing

I relive those treasured days

of years gone by.

Gently swinging,

deep in thought,

MEMORIES return.
 I recall each day with love.

The day begins at summer’s dawn

and ends
 with muffled, evening sounds.

Nothing troubles,

thoughts abound, peace is found.

2019

Now sixty short years have passed

and MEMORIES remain.

Our porch is now a deck.
 The swing remains a “porch swing.” 
“Deck swing” somehow cannot recall 
those precious times

of years gone by.

Three sons have grown to men.

 Two grandchildren have added to the enjoyment

of this peaceful homestead.

The barn is now one hundred-two years old.

The house is eighty-three.
 In addition to our three boys and two grandchildren,
 this homestead

has entertained many animals and pets and gardens. (Or did they entertain us?)

The neighbor kids have grown. 
They now have children and grandchildren of their own.

Our son, Tim, died five years ago. 
Even so,

family love and CHERISHED MEMORIES

will never change.

Tim

The porch swing now provides a peaceful place
 to remember

all the times of joy and sadness.

 We were sitting on the porch swing 
when the news of my Father’s death

came to us.

 We gathered here as a family
 to enjoy the wedding receptions of our sons,
 and to celebrate
 their high-school graduations.

We’ve entertained our friends at church picnics.

We celebrated birthday parties.
 Friends of our grown children 
have come to share an occasional Sunday afternoon

MEMORIES are many,

from our porch swing.

My Husband, Don…1930-2017

And Laddie…

copyright©2018
Photography By Mary Anne Tuck
memoriesaremadefromthis.com
Prime Pantry $3 bounty