Have you ever clicked with someone instantly, as if it were cosmic? That’s sort of how me and my girl Alexandra a/k/a Alex started out. We met while taking a course in aerial silks last year. To put it simply, she is my kindred spirit, my soul sistah. She’s a Louisiana girl, tried and true, amateur aerialist like me, animal enthusiast, CC’s cold brew coffee lover, has a beautiful yet quirky personality and is not afraid to break into dance with me when a good song comes on. She gets the part of my heart that not a lot of people do and because of our deep faith and love for Jesus, our souls connect on a much deeper level. God knew what he was doing when he planted us together in that first aerial silks class at LSU.
For today, I thought it would be interesting to hear from someone other than me in regards to the new-found farm life and that someone will be my sweet friend Alex…
It was love at first sight the first time Catherine invited me over to her new home one Sunday afternoon. She was painting the sign that would soon hang from the gate of the barn when I pulled up.
With splotches of yellow paint on her hands, she joyfully showed me around the property and the farmhouse, which looks like it was taken out of a page of Southern Living with it’s hardwood floors, high ceilings, whitewashed walls surrounding expertly coordinated furniture and décor.
The place is a sanctuary. Situated just thirty minutes north of Baton Rouge, it’s tucked away in a quiet corner of Zachary. The only sound you really hear is the occasional car driving by the house. Absolute peace.
So it may seem strange when I say I was hesitant at first when Catherine asked me to watch her farm – which consists of a horse, two young boars, and a stray dog – over a long weekend.
She and her husband, Andrew, have been working tirelessly on the house, as I’m sure you’ve read in some of her other blog posts. Needless to say, they deserved some time off. During my first visit, I’d offered to watch the farm if they ever felt like they needed to get away. Of course I meant it, but I wasn’t sure they’d ever trust me to handle such a responsibility. Honored by their faith in me, I accepted.
Now, I’m no stranger to waking up early. However, 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday early to do farm work is a whole different story. After downing a cup of coffee, I slid on my work boots and headed out.
Gypsy, a small stray dog who is the most recent addition to the farm, was always the first to greet me and my dog Louie at the back door in the morning. She’d hop through the grass and follow us over to the barn, where she’d settle in a giant haystack while waiting for me to complete the morning’s chores.
Sparkle, the horse, would neigh before I even reached the front gate – a sign that she was eager for me to feed her. Like, now lady.
Next up to feed were the two young boars – Nibbles and Nacho. You will see Nacho hanging out in the background as usual.
You can easily discern between the two because Nibbles is like a dog. Rescued as a newborn, he’s only ever known humans. On the other hand, Nacho had some time in the wild, and he’s less enthusiastic about humans. In short, he’s nacho friend.
The next task was probably the most humbling – shoveling manure out of Sparkle’s stall. Horse manure doesn’t smell as bad as I thought it would.
Side note: When I later recounted this experience to my mother, she remarked that she couldn’t ever picture me doing this. Ha!
Sparkle and I shared a moment of solidarity over this. She saw me wheeling the cart back outside the barn and her eyes met mine. “This is your poop,” I said. She gave an amused nod.
I discovered that horses can have attitudes. She liked to hang out by the pig pen and eat some of the corn that Nibbles would dump out of his bowl through the fence. And she liked to stay there as long as she pleased. And it didn’t matter how I felt about it.
I googled “average horse weight” and got a range from 840-2,200 pounds. So yeah, let me just boss this giant creature around. She wasn’t having any of it. I did finally manage to muster every ounce of courage I had and grab her harness to lead her out into the pasture. She resisted at first, but then gave in. After I secured the back gate I realized I was able to breathe again.
Day one, morning one. Check. Thankfully, the rest of the weekend followed suit.
Lessons learned? First, enjoy peace when it’s granted to you. I’m so grateful to Catherine and Andrew for sharing their little farm with me. And for having so much faith in me. Their home is truly a haven. I feel as if I was able to hit pause on the hustle and bustle of life for a bit and reset.
Second, sometimes life demands patience. Horses are not creatures that are to be rushed. Be okay with where you’re at, here and now.
And third, be thankful for the incredible friendships you’re blessed with. If everyone on earth had a Catherine in their life, they’d be all the better for it.