Sittin’ and Thinkin’ and…

“Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits.”

Been doing a lot of sittin’ since my surgery. A. LOT. And a lot of sittin’ and thinkin’ too.

I have never before in my life experienced anything like this. Where I’m just stuck. Still.

But what it has done is given me time for all this sittin’. And thinkin’. And I have indeed thunk.

And also done other things with an apostrophe at the end instead of a “g” while I’m sittin’.

Sittin’ and Listenin’.

Today, I heard the rumble of the school bus engine. It was going down the country road in front of our house. I thought about that big orange-y bus taking the kids to school on this first day of school. And I thought about the sweet, sweet woman who drives that bus. Summer’s over.

Sittin’ and Missin’.

I missed back-to-school shopping this year. It has always meant something to me, even before I had a child. And even now that my daughter is in high school and there’s not much school shopping at this point. It means end of summer. This time of year, I always pick up a big stack of notebooks and boxes of pencils and highlighters. Composition notebooks for 17 cents. A 12 pack of pencils for 49 cents. Nothing like a freshly sharpened yellow pencil. My favorite brand? Ticonderoga. I like it sharp, sharp, sharp. I often do my writing with just a composition notebook and a sharp pencil.

Back to school also means plaids and sweaters and blankets and boots and hats and pleated skirts.

And newness. New friends. New schedule. New classes. New teachers.

One of my all time favorite quotes:

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

William Butler Yeats

Just wow.

Sittin’ and Lookin’.

I look out the front door and I see yellow flowers in bloom beside our mountain brook. Another sign that summer is coming to an end and autumn’s on its way.

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Apples have fallen from the tree.

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Monarchs are feeding on the milkweed patch. This one looks tattered and torn. There will be another generation hatched before their long trip to Mexico later in the year. Thank goodness; I’m not sure how many more miles these wings can go.

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Siitn’ and Wonderin’ about Winter.

The old tale is that for every foggy morning in August, there will be a snow this winter. Unfortunately, since I’m kinda immobile, I haven’t been able to tract the foggy mornings this year. I’ll have to rely on someone else’s count.

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Sittin’ and Hayin’?

Eh, not me. But soon my neighbors will cut their last cutting of hay for the season.009Sittin’ and Not Walkin’.

I haven’t this year, obviously, but last year I walked our property across the road and took some photos. That white thing in the middle of the photo is my house. You can see some of the Christmas trees on the hillsides behind the house.
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Sittin’ and Enjoyin’.

Brown-eyed Susans planted by some previous owner.
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Sittin’ and Croakin’.

Again, not me.

But all our toad friends stay close by. We have TONS since our ditch became a pond.

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Sittin’ and Admirin’.

Queen Anne’s Lace is in bloom all over the farm this time of year.

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Oh, this. Sittin’ and Wishin’ I had invented this.

THIS.IS.LIFE.CHANGING.

Am I right? Just raise it up and voila!

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Sittin’ and Dreamin’ of Autumn.

Soon I’ll take out my Grandfather’s ’51 Chevy and fill the back with hay and cornstalks and pumpkins.

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As I mentioned in the last post, I’ve moved down to the guest room because I can’t climb stairs. The guest room is in the front of the house, in the original part that was built in 1890ish. My daughter was down here late one night with me, keeping me company, and she said, “You think anybody ever died in here? In this very room? What’s your position on ghosts?”

I’ve been so busy fixing things up since we moved here, that I never really did the research on the property that I wanted to. Her inquiry prompted me to find out more. Who could the possible ghosts be? Hmm.

So I did some Sittin’ and Researchin’.

The internet is an ominous and wondrous thing. The stuff that is available online will blow your mind. What you can find is previous owners, census reports, war service records, tombstone inscriptions, wills, even some death certificates.

Our beautiful farm was in the same family for generations, until us. It came out of the family when the heirs sold it to us.

The man who built our house was born in 1848 and died in 1928 of “kidney and liver trouble.” He was 79 when he died. His family settled this quiet mountain valley when they purchased 2000 acres in 1826. They had come from Wales, England in the 1630’s and settled in Halifax County, Va. They applied for land grants from the state and also purchased some property from private owners. They settled here and founded the local Baptist church. They also gave the land to the school board to build a school, as well as land for a local cemetery. One of the settlers became an early judge for the county. It is said that the first court session was held in his sheep barn and that the complainants were eager to resolve their cases due to the large population of fleas in the barn.

I was able to find many interesting stories about the family online. The man who built our house was 14 when his father died. His father served as a Captain in the Civil War and was captured. He was eventually exchanged. And then released from service. But he probably never even knew he was released because he died a few days after the notice was issued. He never made it back home. The man who built the house served in the state senate in 1889. Very cool.

I think people who are not from the South sometimes think that we are all like the characters on Hee-Haw. Or that the typical male who lives in the Appalachian Region smokes a corn cob pipe, drinks moonshine, sits on the front porch all day playing the banjo, and wears overalls without a shirt and no shoes. This is a falsehood promulgated by the entertainment industry. It is hurtful and harmful.  The people who settled this area were refined, intelligent, hard-working God-loving, schooled, motivated, ethical, resourceful, independent, vigorous, adaptable, sharp-dressed, and incredible people. Not the “hillbillies” you see in cartoons, I assure you. And as far as the people who live here today? Nicest people I have EVER met. EVER. In my whole, entire life.

Our Farm has been a cattle farm, a tobacco farm, a dairy farm, the local phone company, and a Christmas tree farm. So far.

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Yes, you read that right. “local phone company.” One of the owners of the house (the son of the man I mentioned above who served in the Senate) established the phone service in our very rural area, buying the equipment to do so in 1924. They ran the switchboard from this house. Later in 1952, his children sold it to the large company whom I now pay my phone bill to. In fact, when we first toured the house, there was all sorts of old phone equipment in the cellar. We didn’t have any idea why at the time. When we closed on the property, all the phone equipment was gone.

The house has undergone many renovations, but we have done our best to remain true to its history. I honor this property and the people who created it and made it what it is.

(I just hope they aren’t interested in haunting the front bedroom.)

(Or any room, for that matter.)

 

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I’ve also spent a great deal of time Sittin’ and Writin’. I finally got that book going! At long last. And I’ve also been Sittin’ and Drawin’. So many of you have told me to paint and draw, that I finally decided to give it a go. I’ve never been artsy or craftsy but have to admit that this is fun. I’m working on trying to make something I can put on our Christmas cards this year. I was thinkin’ ‘ “Our Farm” and “Will Moses style.” And yes, that’s Merlin. I couldn’t have a Christmas card without my Soul-Horse. No way.

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But in all truth, I’m sick of sittin’. I’m ready to get up. And go.

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl in the Country, Rebekah

Leave a comment 62 Comments

  1. Brenda Towsley says:

    Yeah she draws! And it is beautiful! I have really enjoyed reading your post this morning while I am having my coffee before heading out to work. I so enjoy seeing pictures of your property and hearing the story behind it was wonderful. I love history. My favorite class in school, oh so long ago. But not political history, my worst class in school. Oh how I would love to be your neighbor, so I could come for a visit. Hope you are mending quickly and can soon do your thinkin’ while walkin’!

  2. Arlene Hiatt says:

    Great article! I, too, love back-to-school shopping, only now it is with our grandchildren. Loved reading about the family who bought the land . . . how the land has been used . . . and your photos . . . and your art work! If I lived near by, I would bring all my art supplies and paint with you. Prayers continue to complete healing and restoration.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Wouldn’t that be grand, Arlene! We could go school shopping and then to the art supply store and then climb a hill here and paint! I’m sure yours are much better than mine, but I have come to realize that making art is meditative and calming. That being the case, the end product is less important.

  3. Deborah McClure says:

    You being made to “sit” maybe more of a blessing than you understand. So may of us never “sit” and understand and enjoy the simplest of life. You have been blessed, I know, yea right! But your phiscal body is mending, and your mind has been given time to slow down to enjoy what so many of us never see, smell, and enjoy. This too will pass, and you will be back in the fast lane, but you will never be the same. For you were blessed to see the most important things and you will see them different now and enjoy them more! Glad your on the mend, and try not to fight the sitting time so much!❤️

  4. I do love to read your posts! This one reminded me of when I was laid up recovering from that fractured hip two summers ago. I also had lots of time to sit and think. I also finally had no more excuses not to write that book I’d been wanting to write. I don’t know much about the land that I live on now as I am renting only a small part of the house, but I do know that the village itself was a gift to a doctor and his family for his service to George Washington during the Revolutionary War, and that prior to that it was the summer hunting grounds for the local Indian tribes as well as the first trading post in the area. I love history as you do, but at this point I suspect you’d love your freedom even more. Soldier on, dear lady. It’ll be here before you know it. Take care.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      what interesting history of your village. yes, you said it! I’m ready to be free. But, in all truthfulness, this has been a very productive period. I’m just ready to move on to the next period!

  5. Kimberly Diener says:

    I love your drawing and Merlin in it is wonderful! I loved the history,I too loved history in school. I have never thought people form the south was like what Hollywood depicts them to be. My best friend’s mom was from Thomaston GA, she was my 2nd mom. They would take me along on vacation to GA. Loved it down there! Oh and the yummy biscuits and when her dad and my dad would go fishing and we would all gather at her house and her mom would make hush puppies!

  6. Monics says:

    Love, love, love that you are using your time so wisely! And that you are truly bloomin’ where you are planted! Just sittin and thinkin’ and researching and drawing- love the Christmas Card! Hope I get one!!!! What an excellent idea! I think I’ll never buy another one! Use those God given talents, girl! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us! Continue to heal! A great book to read ” 1000 gifts, by Ann Voskamp” she ponders every moment! ❤️Btw- loved the farm! Gorgeous!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Thank you so much! Someone sent me that book when it first came out–and I remember enjoying it very much. I’m so glad to get some positive feedback on that card. I’m feeling better about it now. In fact, my mom’s birthday is this week and I’m about to paint her a card. Trying to decide now what to draw. :)

  7. Jane Gurley says:

    Beautiful, creative musings. Love the family history of the house and your art work!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Jane, thank you! It was so easy to find information on the property and area. I can’t imagine what I would have had to go through 25 years ago to get the scoop. I love the internet for that and also because it has brought me new friends, like you!

  8. Bonnie McKee says:

    Loved reading your thoughts this morning, Rebekah! Local history fascinates me, even when “local” is on the opposite side of the country from me!
    And your art work makes my heart happy!
    What a sweet way to start my day :)

    Praying for your continued speedy recovery……have a happy day!

    Bonnie, in Oregon

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Thank you for your words and prayers, Bonnie! I am completely fascinated now with the “local” history. I can’t wait to be up and out of the house so I can meet some of the older people and interview them.

  9. Rene Marie Foust says:

    I really don’t know where to begin. Ill start with I am sorry that you have had to do so much sittin but I am so happy that you put your sittin time to such great use. Your drawing is great and it will make a wonderful Christmas card and I am sure that everyone that receives one from you will love it!

    I find it amazing how things seem to happen in this life; if you are not careful to look closely you just might miss the serendipitous moments. I find it amazing that one of the former owners of your beautiful farm was a judge. The connection is crazy and more than likely one of the main reasons you fell in love with your farm. You have more in common than you knew. sorry if I sound like I am rambling I am just intrigued by these similarities that some people call coincidences, I don’t see them as coincidences at all.

    I hope you are able to get up and get going soon and I look forward to more art from you.

    Your friend

    Rene

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      You’re awesome, Rene. You know you are. I know you are. Everyone who knows you in any capacity knows you are.
      Awesome.

  10. Stephanie Abernathy says:

    I so enjoy reading your posts and article in Mary Jane’s Farm magazine! You really make me think about the good things in life. Thanks! Hope you are up and about soon!
    Take care.

  11. Debi Dalton says:

    Can’t wait for your book!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      You know what? It’s become 2. The one I always knew I’d write, about moving here. AND a young adult fiction. I’m obsessed with the young adult fiction right now. It’s flying off the typewriter, as they used to say…I like having both going though! finally!

  12. kaatie says:

    Sittin…not so much fun…I once had a sprained ankle and hand quilted my sons quilt (hand quilted at his request). Had I not been unable to move around much it might not have been done in a timely manner…things happen for a reason…so they say.

    Soon you will be up and at it again…..and probably have a deeper appreciation for it all.

  13. katie says:

    Sittin…not so much fun…I once had a sprained ankle and hand quilted my sons quilt (hand quilted at his request). Had I not been unable to move around much it might not have been done in a timely manner. Things happen for a reason…so they say.

    Soon you will be up and at it again…and probably have a deeper appreciation for it all…

  14. Krista says:

    What a grand way to spend your time sittin’. I am so sorry that you have to do so much sitting and can’t get up to do what you want. But it seems like you are getting so much done even while sitting. I loved hearing the history of your house. It’s amazing and super interesting when you find out all that has occurred in your home. There isn’t a lot of history to our home. We are the second owners and it’s only 7 years old. Your pictures are super beautiful and peaceful looking. Keep on resting and get better soon! Love your posts!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Krista, most of my homes have had no history either. and that’s okay! newer stuff works better and things fit tighter. I never realized that my living room floor was slanted until I had to walk across it with crutches. oh yeah, it’s slanted alright! Thanks for your note and kind words! :)

  15. Wendy Curling says:

    What a sweet post! I love, love, love the way you write. I can just imagine you sittin’ across the table from me and chattin’ over a nice cup of tea!
    The drawing of your farm is wonderful and a lovely Christmas card it will make!
    I know you must be gettin’ awful tired of sittin’ but soon you’ll be healed and your heels you’ll be kickin’
    Many blessings to you!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Me too, Wendy!
      And I love the way you write too! Your poems are so creative and entertaining and just wonderful!
      Waiting on the day my heels are kickin’. I love that!

  16. Rosemary says:

    Rebekah,
    I love all your writings and your photos! You’re artwork is GREAT!! I just love it. So sweet :)
    Praying for a full recovery for you. Also, thank you for sittin’, wonderin’ and writin’ for all of us who are readin’ this. You touch us all!! Blessings

  17. Jamie says:

    To be fair, my husband does occasionally smoke his homemade corncob pipe barefoot and shirtless on the back porch while he practices his fiddle! Thankfully the neighbors don’t mind.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      LOL! I think that’s grand!! But you didn’t mention moonshine! Though also to be fair, a friend brought me some home brew in a mason jar a few years ago. I drank it when I suffered with the shingles last year. Granny’s tonic, you know? Did you know that studies have been done showing in the US people who have southern accents are considered less intelligent than people who don’t? I can’t understand the prejudice and that’s what I was trying to address. But more power to your hubs! :)

  18. Lynn Walker says:

    I truly enjoyed your blog and would love to sit and drink coffee with you! I felt like you were in the same room with me just chatting about daily life. I agree with another post that sometimes it’s good that we have to stop and look around us. It brings us back to importance of life. You have a special gift of storytelling. I loved hearing about the history of your house!
    Several years ago I had foot surgery and the day I got to take off my boot I slipped and broke my ankle. 5 casts later, lots of physical therapy, and being on a scooter to keep my leg up I was free to walk! Ha! I had hours of sitting and thinking, knitting and reading…
    Thank you for sharing your story and you will be up and about soon!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      oh Lynn, my heart skipped a few beats when I read about your experience…how are you now? 100% better?

      • Lynn Walker says:

        Oh Rebekah, I’m doing great and my silly experience was only told to relate to sittin and thinkin! Ha! I had fun decorating my cast with Christmas lights as well as my scooter. You can’t keep a good woman down!
        I adore reading the blogs and feel so connected! Have a great day!

  19. Mary Rauch says:

    When I opened Facebook today, I saw a drawing and thought to myself, “My goodness, that looks like Rebekah’s house/farm”!…and opened it to see that it really is! ! !
    What a grand drawing! Did you know that you could do that? Amazing. And you can actually identify Merlin!…This is just too good to be true.
    I don’t have talent to draw, but I’ve always yearned to do so…I’m so jealous!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Mary, you are too generous. I have zero talent. For real. I am not an artist and never will be, but the process of creating is very cleansing, healing, and enjoyable. If I can do it, YOU CAN. Just put the pencil to the paper and see what happens!
      I’m glad it looked like my farm though! And my sweet Merlin! thank you for saying that!

  20. Robin in New Jersey says:

    Hi Rebekah! It’s good to hear from you. I hope you are healing well while doin’ all that sittin’. A book! How exciting! What is it about? I really enjoyed your article in the recent MaryJanes’s Farm magazine. You are a wonderful writer. Keep the faith as you continue to heal.

  21. Meredith Williams says:

    i hope you are getting near the end of your sittin, Rebekah! I too have bad feet and ankles- the Dr. told me surgery and 6 MONTHS off my feet, for each foot. A WHOLE YEAR.! Hell NO! So I keep hobbling along , praying I can keep hobbling along. I was thrilled to read your mention of Halifax Co. Va.! I knew you must be fairly close to me based on your pictures and the landscape. I am just north of Roanoke. This is a wonderful part of the country to live in with the most wonderful people, as you have discovered. Well, I hope you will be up and around in time for all the fun fall brings……and so you can get on a horse and enjoy it! Take care!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Meredith, that’s exactly where I was. I know how you feel! And this is tough, believe me. But I’m thinking it’s going to be so much better when I’m done. There are many things I’ve wanted to do that I haven’t been able to. So you know what I think…..?? get it done. I was in such pain before and I bet you are too. Okay, I”ll be quiet. You didn’t ask for my advice! But there’s this saying I’ve always had, one of my philosophies in life: “short term pain, long term benefit.” This surgery is that.
      yes, I don’t really know how far Roanoke is from me. I’ll look it up. I am in Western North Carolina.

  22. Marilyn says:

    Thanks for this post,very interesting. I loved the part concerning the previous owners of the farm. I always loved shopping for back to school clothes and supplies. There was such a feeling when you got to wear your new clothes and there was nothing like a new notebook and pencil with a great eraser. Hope you are feeling better. Looking forward to your next post. Your art is beautiful.
    Marilyn

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      yes, Marilyn! you get me! that’s exactly how I feel about back to school. A fresh composition notebook-oh, the possibilities! I’ve always kept a stash. Thank you for the get well wishes and the gracious words about my art. :)

  23. Dianne says:

    I love hearing from you. When I see your e-mail I cannot wait to read it. I look foward to you book. Just sitting and thinkin sometimes is a blessing. You will be up any walk in out to kiss Merlin soon. Your drawing turned out really nice and will be a perfect Christmas card. All the best to you. God Bless

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Thank you, Dianne! yes, I miss my BOY in the BARN! a lot….
      thanks for the positive energy and kind words!

  24. Nanette says:

    Hi Rebekah. I really enjoyed your sittin’ and writin’. And your drawing is a perfect Christmas card. What talent – you captured the essence of the farm and Christmas all in one.

    I know what you mean about people’s misconception of the South. Would you believe there are people who have never heard of North Dakota, and some still think we are the movie version of the Wild West. Yeah, that’s me traveling on a stagecoach and using my smartphone for directions, haha. What’s really sad is those people don’t care, and that makes me sad.

    Here’s a little (moonshine) toast to your quick recovery, and more wonderful musings and photos. Cheers.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      you mean you DON’T have a stagecoach?
      lol
      I can’t believe y’all think my card looks okay. I am feeling much better about it!
      and ah, yes, thanks for the toast!!!!

  25. Jo Gill says:

    That’s going to be an awesome card! You ARE an artist.
    How are you healing? Hope you will be better than new, soon.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      thank you for saying that! and thank you for asking…I’m okay. just ready to be done with this and not quite there yet.

  26. Rebecca says:

    What a wonderful drawing of your farm! It’ll make a perfect Christmas card. It bothers me sometimes when people assume that all southerners are uneducated and lazy because I know that’s not the case. Some of the most kind-hearted, intelligent people I know are true southerners. As a West Virginian, I still get the whole “oh, what part of Virginia are you from?” and politely repeat “West” Virginia, which became a state in 1863.” It sounds like you have accomplished a lot while you’ve been recuperating. I hope you’ll be well soon and able to get back to walking around your beautiful land.

  27. Rebekah,

    Your farm is breathtaking. Love love love the vintage truck. I feel for you…I don’t do sittin’ well, but had to when I was on bed rest back when I had my girl. After a while, it got kinda nice. Nice to slow down. I also love that I am not the only adult who still buys school supplies (my girl is in high school this year, too) this time of year!

    Farmgirl Hugs,
    Nicole (Suburban Farmgirl)

  28. Dori Troutman says:

    Hi Rebekah,

    I’m way behind on my blog reading. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about you doing all that sitting. I would be MISERABLE at it. I am such a terrible sitter.

    I loved reading about the history of your house. How awesome is that????

    I’ve discovered the same thing about the people here in the South. Nicest people EVER!

    Big hugs,

    – Dori, the Ranch Farmgirl – ! :-)

  29. Aunt JAN says:

    Hello, Beka! Let me add my appreciation to you for the lovely article. I also am doing a lot of “sitting”. Unfortunately, I am not as productive as you have been. Please put me on the list to receive one of the beautiful cards. What talent!!! I am both envious and impressed. Seeing the picture of the 1951 truck brought back many memories. Would you believe that I remember when dad brought it home “brand new”? Continue to take care of that foot and know that I do say a prayer for your complete recovery. Love, Jan

  30. Rowena Philbeck says:

    What a great story. That would be such a cool house to live in with all that history. You and your family are truly blessed.

  31. I discovered you while sitting in my doctor’s waiting room – I put the note in the side pocket of my purse, and at last I have looked you up. It won’t be the last time. I enjoyed this post so much, and the others. Thank you.

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