After many days of beautiful, spring-like weather, the official first day of spring dawned cold and rainy.  I oftentimes struggle with sudden changes in the weather, and predictably spent the day feeling pretty low.  Around dinner time, as I stood cooking at the stove, I burst into tears.  I’d been fighting them all day.  It was just a moment though, and I quickly regained my composure.  Jonny noticed my red spotted face though, and asked, “What’s wrong?  Is it your friend?”  We both knew what friend he was speaking of.  He knows that I miss Sarah, and the missing becomes more acute on days when I am down.  It’s a nasty thing, the way that sadness snowballs.

But the next day, the sunshine and warm temperatures were back.  We had a slow morning followed by a big afternoon.  Seth was confirmed.  And while he was happy about the Confirmation part, he wasn’t thrilled about the dressing up, my attempts to neaten his long hair, and to put a tie around his neck.  He has his own ideas about what is important, and he is not flexible.  When he asked who came up with this stupid fashion, the wearing of a tie, I replied, “For all I know, Jesus did.”  Seth didn’t crack a smile, but I think it’s possible that Jesus chuckled with me.  Still, the day went well.  There was a lightness to him afterwards.  Maybe it was just a relief that the culmination of more than a year’s worth of preparation had been reached, maybe it was something more.

Upon arriving home, we did not throw a party.  We quickly changed out of our niceties and headed outdoors.  Seth went out to collect scrap metal, while I grabbed a pitchfork and the wheelbarrow.  I cleaned out the goat’s home while Jonny and Gabe worked in their blackberry patch.  It was a beautiful day, everything about it.  I couldn’t help but think about how quickly life transitions from one thing to the next:  the gray dreariness, the grief, the brilliant sunshine, the solemnity of the Confirmation Mass, the muck in the goat’s house.

The raindrops on the willow were exquisite, the Confirmation Mass beautiful, the smell of the soiled straw acutely powerful.  I know that there is much that happens that is unseen, much that that we take on faith.  Changes, transformations, gifts.  But I can’t help but love the really and truly tangible ones.  The mucking out of dirty, smelly straw, replacing it with new.  Lovely, fresh, and clean.  The seen reflects the unseen and makes it all feel real.


The barn’s roof is almost finished.  (Jonny says I need to call it a mini-barn.  I suggested “barn-ette.”)  To cap off a day full of small disasters, I got the van stuck in a friend’s driveway during the last hour of daylight and Jonny had to stop working to come and rescue me.  He teased me a little, but was mostly a good sport.  And the truth is that he was running out of roofing panels anyway, so he wouldn’t have been finished that day even if I hadn’t gotten myself in trouble.

We got a LOT of snow yesterday. The baby goats had fun romping in it, but my dear big girls (I can’t stand to keep them a secret any longer.  I’ll introduce them properly very soon.) weren’t quite so keen on being out in it.  They followed me around while I filled their hay bag, but were happy to head back into their (temporary) house.

The barn-ette is for them.

After much thought and deliberation, we have decided to house train the baby goats and make them long-term indoor pets in an attempt to live this book.

(insert Ginny giggling)

Actually, they are just going to have their own housing elsewhere, separate from the girls.  Mark my words, I plan to have them out of the house in a few days despite their immense cuteness.