Ask Me Anything and Give-Away

THE WINNER IS “ROBIN IN NJ”! Congratulations, Robin! Email me ASAP at rebekah@maryjanesfarm.com with your address for your subscription! woohoo!

It is time for another “Ask Me Anything” post. I’ve gotten some great questions so far.

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Okay, okay. I know, everybody wants to hear about the Give-Away first. So here goes.

I’m giving away a year’s subscription to the best magazine on the stands. maryjanesfarm Magazine! 

I am about to renew my subscription and with that, I get one freeeeeee! So, if you haven’t subscribed yet, leave a comment below to enter. Your comment can be about anything at all. However, if you say something wonderful about my Merlin, like how dreamy or awesome or unicorn-y he is, then I’ll enter your name twice. Ah, digging for compliments. Nothing wrong with that.

I’ll do a drawing on 10/11. I’d do it sooner, but you see, I’m about to head out for a week-long off-farm adventure. Details when I get back! Oh, and your comments won’t show up until I’m back either, so don’t freak out. Just submit your comment once and know that when I return they’ll magically show up.

Oh, if you have already subscribed to maryjanesfarm Magazine, but want to tell me something wonderful about my horse anyway, I’d love to hear from you too. Just let me know in your comment that you’re not entering the Give-Away.

Speaking of Merlin, which I often do. My daughter and husband say I’m obsessed with Merlin, but I can’t understand why they think so.

Just because as soon as I jump out of the car to open the farm gate I call loudly out into the pastures…“MERZEY! HONEY! WHERE ARE YOU? SWEETIE! COME ON!” My Merlin Voice is high-pitched lovely-dovey, sugar sweet. It drives my daughter insane. She says that Merlin also cringes when he hears it, but he doesn’t. His heart sings (we make each other’s heart sing, see Cindy’s question below) when he hears it. And he comes running.

Well, sometimes, anyway. Other times? He doesn’t. It’s fine. I know the truth.

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Through-out this post, there will be numerous MERLIN POST INTERRUPTIONS. I’ll be sharing photos of My Merlin. You’ll see that he is silly and magnificent all at the same time.

Here’s the first MERLIN POST INTERRUPTION.

WE INTERRUPT THIS POST TO ADMIRE MERLIN

This is Merlin’s essence. My friend was trying to get a photo of us. Instead….

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Now, down to answers to questions.

Mary Can you smell the Christmas Trees from your house?

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So here’s the basic set-up. Pasture in front (Cowboy Dan, then Jesse, then Merlin), front yard, house, and then hills of Christmas trees. We have been trying to clear off the Christmas Trees on that hill right behind the house. I’d really like to turn that into pasture, maybe for cows? Most of the trees are on hills farther away from the house.

WE INTERRUPT THIS POST TO ADMIRE MERLIN

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Have I ever mentioned how mischievous Merlin is? Yep. Always into everything.

So, do we smell the trees from the house? Not very often. But one of my favorite times of the year is when the workers trim the trees. This is usually done at least twice a year. Our guys do the work all by hand. We are small enough that this type of attention to each tree is possible. Anyway, when they trim…OH THE AROMA! I raise the windows and enjoy the smell of Christmas all through the house. Our trees are Frasier Fir trees, which are the most aromatic of all. The aroma of the trees truly is aromatherapy for me. I go right back to every Christmas season I’ve ever had. Wonderfulness.

The other time that we get a big whiff is when the trees are being cut. Of course, the windows are closed at that time of year. I’ll go outside often though, just to enjoy the festivities of cutting trees.

Other than those times, we aren’t really able to smell them. When I walk through the fields of trees, I’ll often take my hands and carefully rub them on the graceful branches just to be able to smell that wonderful smell of Christmas. I do sometimes cut branches and bring them in the house. I also pick up scraps from trims and burn them just to enjoy the smell. Have you ever gotten a candle that smells like Christmas Trees when it burns? I love those too.

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Mary do you have trilliums on your farm.

We do! They tell us when spring has arrived every year.

 

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WE INTERRUPT THIS POST TO ADMIRE MERLIN

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I’m working and I look out my window and see this. I run outside just to touch him. Blue skies, green grass, red shed, white horse. Come on. Life is sweet. In my mind’s eye for many years, I dreamed that my view out the window would be green grass and blue skies and a red barn. Never in my wildest dreams did it have a horse in it. Much less a horse like this. Magic.

And Mary also wanted to know more about the community activities here.

We live in a tiny community about 30 minutes from a small town. The small town has lots and lots of activities that we often join in. But it is the activities of the small community that I enjoy most. People know each other here and care about each other. They are true neighbors. One of the churches sponsors most of the community activities here. There are two things that I particularly enjoy.

WE INTERRUPT THIS POST TO ADMIRE MERLIN

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This is his silhouette while he is sleeping standing up. His bottom lip gets so floppy.

Christmas Caroling on a Hay Wagon. The first year we did this I cried.

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It was so special and precious. The way it came about it that someone from the church called and asked if they could come caroling to our house. I asked if we could come caroling with them (we aren’t members of the church). He said, “SURE!” So we went. And I cried. Like a fool. I was so moved. We rode the hay wagon around the community, got out at houses, and caroled. This is one of my favorite days of the year: the day we go caroling in the hay wagon. 

P1130731ATV Ride. The second community activity that rocks my world is also held by the church. It is a monthly ATV ride in the warm months. We gather on a Saturday in the church parking lot and head out on a pre-planned path. We stop to eat a picnic and then head back. It. Is. Awesome.

I wrote a little about it in this blog post. I am trying to plan it so we can host the picnic at our farm after the ATV ride this month. We’d probably do it down in place where the Girl Scouts camped out, which you also see in that old blog post.

WE INTERRUPT THIS POST TO ADMIRE MERLIN

A couple of silly-faced Merlin shots

 

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Deb What has been your hardest adjustment to farm life? And your greatest joys of the new style? Any regrets?

Hardest adjustment? Moving to a farm has been a trip, for sure. There have been many adjustments. Many! But the hardest adjustment for me has been the distance to everything. It is at least 30 minutes to a grocery store. The church I like to attend is 30 minutes away. The school I drive my daughter to is 40 minutes away. If I don’t feel like cooking one night, I can’t just run out and pick-up Chinese food or a pizza. Those things are 30 minutes away. However, I love living out in the middle of nowhere and it is totally worth it. I have learned to plan. Always have plenty of coffee and toilet paper and cat food.

WE INTERRUPT THIS POST TO ADMIRE MERLIN

Merlin loves my daughter. My daughter loves Merlin. But let’s me clear: my daughter is not a horse person or a farm person or a country person. So, she doesn’t ride or clean out the barn. She just loves on him, which is fine with him.

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Greatest joy. The greatest joys come from my connection to the land and to the community. I was starved for time in nature and now I get it every single day. The community I live in is filled to the brim with people who are kind and helpful and generous. And have you noticed that I absolutely adore having horses? They were not on my radar. Until I was 50 I had no idea I loved horses. We fell into the horse thing because someone else’s horses were on our farm and they stayed for awhile after we bought it. Boy oh boy.

If you get a chance to know a horse, do it. Remarkable, magnificent creatures. They do something to your heart and soul, something indescribable. You can’t explain it, but you know it when it happens.

WE INTERRUPT THIS POST TO ADMIRE MERLIN

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Regret. On the regret question, I’m not one to look back and second guess myself. So I have absolutely no regrets. About anything, really. Is everything perfect? No. Will I live here forever? I thought so, but who knows? But no matter what, I don’t regret it.

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Kimberly Any more encounters with snakes in the chicken coop? 

Kimberly, Kimberly, Kimberly, what I am going to do? This is something I cannot deal with. I am not handling it well. There are snakes all over the place here and I am obsessed with it.

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The other day I got out of the shower and saw a snake beside the towel on the floor. I jumped back in and screamed, “SNAKE!” When my husband ran to help, he found that the snake was not a snake at all. It was a piece of silage or tall wheat that must have fallen off my jeans onto the floor (I can’t see anymore, btw!) I have lost my mind. I have learned, however, as I’ve dealt with the snakes in the chicken house that they want nothing to do with me. They do not want to bite me. They do not want to chase me. They do not want to drape around my neck.

It is ME. I am the problem. Just seeing A SNAKE hanging there on the rafter sends me into crazy-land. So, you know what I do now? I DON’T LOOK ANY MORE. I look where I put my hand and my feet, but otherwise, I do not look around me in the chicken house. I hum and I sing. We are working on fixing the problem. They are definitely living in the walls and we are working on the solution for this. I have named one of them BJ. Because they seem like Black Jello to me. I am also looking for a park or zoo where I can go to in order to have some personal contact with snakes. This phobia has got to go if I want to live happily on this farm.

WE INTERRUPT THIS POST TO ADMIRE MERLIN

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Merlin’s barn. He “lets” the other horses use it.

Cindy What makes your heart sing each and every day?

Cindy, this is a great question. So much makes me sing every day. Caring for and being in relationship with my animals is huge. This is our Rooster, who cock-a-doodle-doos all day long. He is sweet and kind and gentle, unlike most roosters I’ve heard about. He is also the most beautiful rooster I’ve ever seen.

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Also, walking in our forest. The moving water in front of our house.

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Nature. Quiet. I really need quiet lately.

Fire. Snow. Tea, iced and hot.

The old buildings and their history here make my heart sing. I wish I knew more about them.

This old barn and silo is still on our list of projects.

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Do you want me to go on? Because I could…okay, I will. My heart sings when I write these blog posts. My heart sings when I pick up my daughter from school and she is smiling and excited about her day. My heart sings when I see my parents (I moved soooo far away). My heart sings when I pick a basket of greens from the garden. My heart sings when I put on a flannel shirt every morning to go outside. Okay, I’ll stop, but there is more, a lot more. I guess I’m a singer.

WE INTERRUPT THIS POST TO ADMIRE MERLIN

Occasionally Merlin is asked to do something other than stand around and look pretty. He runs around and looks pretty. Angel.

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JosAnne I’m wondering about your campout with your horse. Any stories?

Oh JosAnne! This was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. It was perfection. My friend, Ashley, went with me. Ashley was my riding instructor and she knows how to camp and hike, so she made it easy. We took her horse, Andre, and my horse, Cowboy Dan, and drove about 3 hours away to a State Park. We were the only folks in the whole campground, so the horses had the barn to themselves. The facility was quite nice. One thing that I learned is that I tend to worry a lot about the horses. I couldn’t relax thinking about how they were and if they were content. As far as I know, Cowboy Dan had never been stalled before. And he is a horse with a lot of anxiety. So, I went and checked on him several times in the night. Notice the eyes. See all the white? Denotes inward freaking-out for Cowboy Dan.

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He was bug-eyed the whole two days and one night. He didn’t eat any hay (he loves to eat, by the way). In spite of all that, he did great on the trails. I don’t think I could ever take Merlin on an over-nighter.

But. That campout was truly one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. Ever. We only spent 1 night camping, but we rode both days. Being in the woods on a horse was even better than just being in the woods. I had a ball.

Hmmm….Now that I think about it, I could write a whole chapter in that book I might write some day about my campout with the horses.

WE INTERRUPT THIS POST TO ADMIRE MERLIN

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I didn’t take my camera and my phone gave out, so I wasn’t able to take many photos. Next time, I’ll take my camera because I want to remember every second of it.

Pamela You are always so upbeat. What’s your secret?

This is something I am often asked. By people I know personally and online. I don’t know the answer. I have always tended to keep on the sunny side and am fairly consistent and even in my moods. My parents are extremely sunny and consistent and I really think that has a lot to do with it. That’s the way I grew up. We were pleasant and thankful at the breakfast table. That’s how each day began. I guess I just lucked out with genetics and example and environment. I also quote my Sweet Aunt Margie, who was such a bright light when she was on earth. She used to say, “God blessed me with a bad memory.” That’s me. I don’t remember what I need to be mad or sad or distressed about, so I just smile. Lincoln’s quote hangs in my house: “A person will be about as happy as he chooses to be.” I really do think it is a choice whether to be grouchy or pleasant. Hey, we’ve all got reasons to complain, but who wants to live that? I don’t. And to be honest, I don’t like to be around angry, bitter, negative people either. Sucks me dry. I know that I can be content no matter what. I try to be flexible and adaptable.

WE INTERRUPT THIS POST TO ADMIRE MERLIN

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(I can’t figure out why my husband and daughter think I’m obsessed with Merlin, can you?!)

Anyway, this week I had contact with my best friend from law school, Barry. I smiled all through law school too. I asked him how I should answer this question, he said, “Denial.” That may be partly true, too. But I doubt it. haha

Wendy Can I come visit?

I’ve always said, “If you’re coming to see the house, give me about a week’s notice so I can clean. But if you’re coming to see me, come on!” Someone once gave me a sign that said, “A messy house is a sign of a wasted life.” (I haven’t see it since I moved!) And, “You can’t expect me to be this creative and neat too.” My house is a disorganized wreck. It always is, always has been, and always will be. Same with my car. Am I alone with this? When I finally have a few moments, I’d rather be in the barn with my horses shoveling manure, digging in the garden, or mowing the grass than scrubbing the toilet.

Connie Will you write a book someday? I hope so!

Thank you, Connie! This is certainly one of my goals. I hope so too! But. Will it ever happen? I don’t know. I think about it, but don’t know how I’ll pull that off. LIFE IS FULL. When will I ever have the time? I’ve got such a long list of things I want to do. And it’s so complicated unless you self-publish. But I’d like to. This has been one crazy ride. Hearing from people like you who would actually want to read something I write encourages me big time. So maybe I will. Although, I’d have to learn to use a setting on my camera other than automatic focus because photos would definitely be a big part of it.

Frannie will you have a ‘gathering’ of ‘gurlfrenz’ someday? what fun that would be! 

This is also one of my goals. The answer is YES is you promise to come! One day, one day.

WE INTERRUPT THIS POST TO ADMIRE the setting. That’s the Church that serves as the community glue here. Those are our Christmas Trees on the bank in front of it. And that big Sycamore Tree is where the baptisms take place in the creek. That’s the little red run-in shed we built for who? Merlin, of course. But somehow Merlin’s not in this photo. That’s Andre. He is my friend’s horse who spent last winter with us. He’s a lovely horse too. They all are.

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

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl, Rebekah

Leave a comment to enter the maryjanesfarm Magazine give-away. Or you can email me at rebekah@maryjanesfarm.com to enter. Either way, double entry if you admire my Merlin and say so.

Leave a comment 120 Comments

  1. Natalie Adams says:

    Thank you for all the inspiration your words and enthusiasm bring to me. I look forward to your posts. They make me laugh, and they bring tears to my eyes. I am a city girl who yearns for the stillness of the country and I love to hear of your adventures on your farm. You inspire me that my dreams can still come true, despite anything. Your Merlin is a magic horse. There’s no doubt about that. Thank you for taking the time to share a piece of your world and heart with those of us dreamers.
    -Natalie

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Natalie, I have no doubt that your dream will come true if you want it badly enough. No doubt. Keep us posted on when it does. Merlin is magical in many ways, that is true. He was supposed to come to me. He is here to teach me certain things and I am here to support him through some of his baggage. That’s where a lot of the magic is. And that’s why I call him my Soul Horse. He has a corner of my heart that will always be his. I have, and will have, other horses. But he is my only one—Soul Horse.

  2. Barb P says:

    A delightful read, coming at a time when I could certainly use it. I’ll be sharing this in hopes that at least some of my family and friends will read it and experience the pleasure and the uplifting of spirits it gave me. Thank you – and thank Merlin, too.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Thank you Barb! I’m headed out to see Merlin in a bit. I will tell him you said Thanks. He’ll want to know if an apple goes along with it…

  3. Rowena Philbeck says:

    I love the pictures of Merlin and your giveaway. I have seen that magazine in some stores and looks like a great one. I love everything about country life. I have lived in the country and hope to get back to it soon. I can a lot and dehydrate and spin my own yarn. The simplicity of it all is wonderful. Thanks again.
    Rowena

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Rowena, maryjanesfarm Magazine is like no other you have ever encountered. Promise! How do you spin your own yarn? Do you have the animals or do you purchase the fiber? Sounds wonderful. Is it like meditation? I canned jellies when I lived in the city, but haven’t had time since I moved here. I agree, there really is nothing that compares to life in the country. I hope you get back to it one day.

  4. Julia says:

    I adore your writing, Rebekah- count me as one of many who would love to see a book from you! I’d also love a magazine subscription. Merlin is just beautiful- and right now this city girl is dreaming about her own farm one day!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Thank you, Julia! One day your farm dream will come true! Sure is a lot of work, though. Have I mentioned that? haha

  5. Debbie Miller says:

    Merlin is indeed a beautiful horse! The first picture with the tree makes him look like he is wearing a crown. Loved the blog post and I agree with you about snakes-can’t stand them!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Oh, Debbie! He should wear a crown. Definitely! I am looking forward to the cold weather when the snakes find a hole!

  6. Sherry Holmes says:

    I love your posts…I love your pics of Merlin…(you can’t post too many pics of him) He is gorgeous….My dream is to have land with horses…and other critters too. I envy you and rejoice for you!!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Sherry, the hardest part for me with my horses (and chickens) is to relax. I’ve always had pets in the house. The first winter I had horses I was so concerned about them being cold and wet out in the weather. Of course, they have a barn and other sheds they can go into, but often they are just hanging outside. After a couple of winters now, I can finally relax and know they are okay. There are cows across the street from me that do not have shelter. I mentioned to the guy who owns them that I worry about them in the frigid winters. God gave them a leather jacket, he told me. True. Keep dreaming–it will happen for you.

  7. Tracey Holly says:

    You are living the life that I wish I could have. My love for animals drives my husband crazy. Right now we have four farel kittens in the house. Love, love, LOVE the pic of Merlin where he is looking back! He is beautiful!!!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Tracey, dreams do come true. But the thing I have learned is that the journey really is the destination. Love where you are in the journey, but never quit dreaming. Oh my, four wild kitten in the house. You could handle farm living for sure!

  8. Mary Rauch says:

    I know this is not a business-like comment, but I have come to sort of love you and Merlin. Is this possible through cyber space? Anyhow, I am so happy to stop and “visit with you in your postings”. The idea of your book is ideal! The sooner, the better!
    Maybe next year there will be a book including you, Merlin, and your family life on the farm? Put me down for one of the first copies off the press!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Mary, you inspired this whole post! Thank YOU! I know exactly what you mean. I love all of y’all too. It’s strange that we’ve never met, but feel like we know each other. I guess we really do!

  9. Lois Versaw says:

    I loved this post and reading your passion for Merlin, nature and the majestic beauty of your farm. Glorious!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Thank you, Lois! Those are three things that keep me grounded, motivated, and content. They make me warm inside–gives me “warm fuzzies.” Merlin, nature, our farm.

  10. Rene Foust says:

    Rebekah I have so many questions I am not sure I can narrow it down to just one but I will try. I live vicariously through you and enjoy all that you share with us. Your farm is stunning and a dream come true.

    I guess if I have one question it would be How did your chestnut floors turn out in your kitchen? I just loved the story you told of the day you found your flooring in the older gentleman’s barn and I have thought about how wonderful it must be to have those boards as your kitchen floor. I just finished reading “A Walk in the Woods” and there is a part in the book where the author describes the majesty of the Chestnut tree and I thought of your floors and how awesome they must be.

    Thanks for sharing

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      I KNOW I wrote about those floors again, didn’t I? (ever since I hit 50 the ole memory isn’t the same.) We finally finished the floors in the new part of the kitchen, just sanded and put a clear coat on them. GOR-JUS! We are still working in the old part of the kitchen. We hit a standstill on that. The floors are down, but not sanded and not finished as we try to figure out what to do in there. I’ll try to find the post. If there’s not one, I’ll write one! That book is so much fun. I need to re-read it. I’ve heard the movie does it justice, too. Have you seen it?

  11. Rene Foust says:

    I forgot to mention how beautiful Merlin is!

  12. Joan says:

    Joy Joy Joy down in my heart!!!! that is what I feel when I read your postings, from your first word to your last AND PLEASE don’t not admire the great pictures – YES Merlin is one beautiful horse and his pic’s show his personality – silly guy. Thanks for sharing. God bless

  13. Ruth Ann Smith says:

    I also love horses. Never had one of my own, however have ridden a friends horse on several occasions. But she was not as gorgeous as Merlin. Love an animal with a personality and Merlin looks like he has just that. Love reading your blog, miss living on a farm and this takes me right back to my childhood. Never did and still don’t, like snakes. We had a pond on our farm, I had on a white bathing cap (back when they wore them) and turned around to see a snake chasing me in the pond, attracted to the cap, I guess. Needless to say, I never went swimming there again. Love Mary Jane’s magazine that I get at the News Center. Awesome magazine. Merlin really is a pretty horse!!!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      note to self: do not swim in the pond wearing white. Thank you for the heads up! Merlin has more personality than any horse I’ve been around or heard about. When he came to me, I was told he is the barn clown. He IS a clown.

  14. Adrienne says:

    Whenever I admire your beautiful Merlin, I think of him as being the color of Ivory soap. Not just the Ivory soap bars but the Ivory soap flakes. I remember them when I was very young and my great-grandmother would put them in the sink to wash her dainties. When I see Merlin, I think of Ivory soap flakes, snowflakes and a handsome snow white prince.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      When Merlin first came to me, I thought, “I hate that name. He will be Snow.” Shortly thereafter, I tried to call him Snowflake. And there was a time when I called him Snow Dancer. Soon, however, I learned that his personality is more like a Blizzard. The name Merlin just stuck. I love the image of Ivory Soap Flakes. He has white fur and grey skin, except for the little circle on his forehead where the unicorn horn would be. That is his only spot of pink skin. Because he lives on a big farm and loves to roll in the pastures, he is usually dirty. Happy, but dirty!

  15. Janet says:

    When I was growing up I wanted to be a cowgirl, so, of course, I think Merlin is wonderful. I didn’t get to be a cowgirl, though I used to be a country girl. I truly enjoy your posts and the final photo in this one is just beautiful. If I win I would give the magazine to my sister-in-law as I already have a subscription.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      I think we can all be cowgirls. We don’t need a cow or a horse, just the right mindset! I finally got some killer cowgirl boots and that has helped my cowgirl mindset considerably. :)

  16. Diane Van Horn says:

    How can I not mention your horse soulmate Merlin the Great! He is a stunning horse and I hope someday you will be able to ride him. I just love your posts! I have been reading them for a long time. Long before you had your farm. You write like you are talking to a friend. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  17. Nanette says:

    I love the picture of Merlin where he’s looking back like – “Whattttt”.

  18. Michelle says:

    Rebekah, I would love a subscription to MaryJane’sFarm Magazine!!
    I live in Idaho, just like she does! Merlin makes me think of the pure white, fluffy
    clouds that have been floating by in our bright blue autumn skies lately. Idaho is wonderful! I’m sure Tennessee is wonderful too! MaryJane is wonderful! Merlin is wonderful! And you are wonderful! Have a wonderful day!!
    Michelle in Idaho

  19. Merlin is as beautiful and magical as his namesake. I moved from the city to the country 23 years ago, then had to leave it for job reasons, and just last year moved back after a 15 year absence during which time I prayed every year for an opportunity to go back to what I considered my real home. You would have to pry me away to get me to leave again Even though it is only 2.5 miles from town, I am up on a hill and last winter it was only the bravest souls (and the milk trucks) who traveled it so I really get you when you talk about stocking on up the coffee/toilet paper/cat food. I used to get MaryJane’s Farm in my local grocery store back in the city (go figure) but they don’t have it right here in farm country … cows right up the hill for neighbors and everything! I love, love this magazine and was going to ask for a subscription for Christmas. It would be so lovely to have Christmas come early! Why do I truly believe that this is my real home? Because I would trade the best food in the best restaurant in NYC and a shopping spree at Saks for the view of a sunset across the valley below me every night. You can’t put a price on that. Love your blog. Give Merlin a hugs and a big, sloppy kiss from me! Barb

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      I know exactly how you feel! exactly! there is nothing quite like living in the country. I’ll def give My Boy a kiss from you! Did you return to the same area when you moved back out to the country?

  20. Kristy says:

    My granddaughter discovered horses this year. Her dad’s friend Laura was going to go riding with her dad on Father’s Day, so Rylie decided she should ride with her dad. It was a great success. They found an instructor who loves both kids and horses.

    Merlin is an exceptionally photogenic horse.

  21. Rebecca West says:

    I would love to win a subscription to Mary Jane’s Farm, I have let mine lapse.

    By the way, your horse Merlin is beautiful. It reminds me of the white horse my daughter had when she was a teenager and loved riding horses. We do not have him anymore but he was a pleasure like your white horse is to you.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Was your daughter’s a quarter horse as well? You’re right. Merlin is a pleasure. There is nothing like looking out of my bedroom window and seeing him out in the pasture. That white against the green, green grass. I just looked out to admire him YET AGAIN and there are 7 deer out in the pasture. Two young ones are playing with each other. TOO CUTE

      • Rebekah Teal says:

        I just took a video with my phone. are you my friend on facebook? I’ll try to post it over there in a bit. those deer were having a ball in the front field! Merlin was just standing there watching them and their craziness.

  22. Beth Havens says:

    beware of wizards, they may bewitch you and steal your heart…. especially horsey wizards…. 😉

  23. Linda says:

    Merlin, your diabolical plan worked, your handsome good looks and charm stole your moms heart!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      It really did! Although, I have to say that when he first came here he was pretty grouchy. I used to think that this is what an arranged marriage must be like. I was wild about him, but he was grumpy. Now he realizes how awesome it is here and he took over the farm. It is his.

  24. Dori Troutman says:

    Hi Rebekah! Great post. Love everything you had to say – especially the part about being happy. I try always to follow that same motto. And when I don’t feel like smiling? I hear my mother saying, “Put a smile on your face and straighten up” and it always works!

    – Dori –

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Oh Dori, your Mama was right! I remember seeing studies that have proven that “smile therapy” works. My daughter’s kindergarten teacher used to say, “fake it ’til you can make it.
      That one is true too. :)

  25. Kathryn Porterfield says:

    Do you miss law offices? By the way, Merlin is the most beautiful horse I’ve ever seen.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Kathryn, I absolutely miss dressing up and being in an office with people. I feel a little remote so far out. And I barely get out of blue jeans. I’m thinking about opening up an office here though. So, yes, I miss the office scene. Same here, he is the most beautiful horse I have ever seen. I used to want a Gypsy Vanner (before I experienced Merlin). No more. He is my fantasy horse.

  26. mona r. arevalos says:

    your way of life is like a dream with your beautiful unicorn. you are so blessed.

  27. Meredith Williams says:

    I used to think you were a little crazy over the whole snake thing, Rebekah. Until I found one ( a small one, but one nonetheless) in the floor of my BEDROOM!!!!!! Now I am totally with you! I couldn’t sleep in that room EVER AGAIN! I told my husband we had to sell the house ( our daughter is the ninth generation of our family to live here- he just laughed at me). So I completely understand your trouble now:). By the way, Merlin is quite beautiful. Especially next to his red barn!
    I would love a subscription to MJF again- I had to let mine lapse when we had to tighten our belts so I read it at the library. If you picked me I would be ever so grateful! And I would never question your snake phobia ever again. And Merlin is a handsome guy!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      I feel your pain, Meredith! I’ve had one in the bathroom, in the hallway, in the attic…I think that’s all! Oh, yeah, in the living room too. Farm living. I do know, however, that my fear is more than fear. It is definitely a phobia. here’s to no more snakes!

  28. Sheena says:

    I have fallen for Merlin….. He’s Beautful! Are you sure he doesn’t belong to Marry Poppins because Merlin is Practically Perfect in Everyway! He Sparkles with Majestic Charisma! Thank you for a delightful peek of Merlin and your farm!

  29. Sharee says:

    ♥️Merlin♥️

  30. Sandy says:

    You and Merlin are both extra special this post must be for the Merlin Adoration Society.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Oh, I am so pleased with this comment. The MAS has been formed and I appreciate the membership! :) So does he! I think he knew it all along, that such an organization would be formed.

  31. cindy says:

    I think the quote should be “a clean house is a sign of a wasted life.” It is messy because we live in it.

  32. Jinx taylor says:

    Love ! I loved your blog, every word, every photo. Was it because beautiful Merlin has such mischief in his eyes and I bet a
    mind of his own and we can all tell you are smitten? Your photos have made me love him, too and wish you both many years af happiness and health. Would you please give him a special huggie rub from me?

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      You’ve got him pegged, Jinx! yep! There are so many horses I have met that are “dull” or “empty” or “broken.” They do their job, but are listless in doing so. Goodness knows what they’ve been through. Horses seem to often be victims of human unkindness. Anyway, Merlin is special. Yes! huggie rub from you headed Merlin’s way! Thank you!

  33. Lynnette Dodge says:

    Love the array of questions and of course Merlin photos.

  34. Claudette says:

    I’m always so glad when I see your posts come up! Would love to see some more of your house redo’s. It looks like a gorgeous home. And your property-Wow. I live in the country also and everything (everything) is at least 30 minutes away. Really enjoy MaryJanes magazine. I usually get it at the library, so having a subscription would be awesome. It’s not always easy to get it, everyone else enjoys it too!
    Thanks for the giveaway :)
    Claudette

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      I promise, when we are finished I will do a house tour! Maybe by Christmas? It is so slow. Our project list is L-O-N-G. But it keeps us motivated. :)

  35. Judy Mac says:

    I live in rural Maine, and know exactly what you are writing about when you write about traveling for anything you need, the goodness of your friends and neighbors, but I am not a horse person. It is not that I don’t think they they are beautiful animals, I’ve just never had the opportunity to be exposed to them. I am a dog person, I feel about my Nellie the way you feel about Merlin. When I started reading this post, I thought my goodness how can I write something admiring about a horse…he’ s good looking, he’s big …rather bland comments… But after seeing all the we intrupts for Merlin, I get it…that horse is like my Nellie…his personality shines through with every picture…he’s just a big love bug! Thank you for sharing Merlin with us all…and giving me some exposure to horses…maybe it’s time for me to visit my horse neighbors and get to know them better.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      You did great, Judy! Great! I had never been around horses either. Not until we moved here. I have no idea. But yes. If you are given the chance, spend some time with a horse. Nellie is lucky to have you love her so much. We have 3 dogs here, Blue, Strudel and Oreo. None are farm dogs, though–all house dogs!

  36. Carol Peterson says:

    I love, Love, LOVE when I find you have posted, Rebekah. I have country running through my veins, pooling around my heart…but my feet landed in Omaha, Nebraska some 30 years ago. So, it is my magical journey when I am transferred to my soul’s longing through your heart, words, and pictures. I appreciate each time you share with us, for I know that you have taken time to to confine to words what makes you sing. Thanks for sharing your heart’s songs so that I, too, can be whisked away.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Carol, I love sharing here at maryjanesfarm. You know why? Farmgirls are awesome. Thank you for being awesome! Have you seen farm vacations? Someone was telling me about them. You might get your fix that way. Thanks for joining me on my journey!

  37. Cathy Harvey says:

    You seem to lead a charmed life but I know it’s a lot of hard work! You’ve definitely got the spirit for it and are an inspiration to me and many, many others. Your Merlin is a beauty and I can see why you’re so enamored with him, lol. One day you’ll be riding him in a parade as the Lone Ranger and Silver! I love to read your posts as they always give me a lift for the day.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      I WILL ride him one day soon. I WILL. I want to wear one of those long, flowing dresses. Have you seen those pics online? I’m really dreaming on that one! I’ve always felt like my life has been charmed. But I don’t really know what that means anymore. You’re right, it is really hard work. I think maybe that’s it. I think the main thing is to keep smiling. Through it all. Thanks, Cathy!

  38. Stephanie Abernathy says:

    Merlin is magically magnificent! Love your posts, they make my day when I read them!

  39. Mary Pitman says:

    I LOVE your posts! and I LOVE horses, but have never had one of my own. I am 61 years old……..may not ever own a horse, but still love them, and have transferred my love of them to my son and granddaughter! how awesome is that? but they don’t own one either. ………………. maybe some day

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Mary, I have met plenty of first-time horse owners in their 60s. All women! It is never too late! But there are other ways to enjoy horses without having one yourself. Horse rescues. Trail rides. I hear being a grandparent is even better than being a parent!

  40. Cathy R says:

    WOW BEKA! Thanks for answering all the questions and sharing your life with us!! We do need a book from you!! Contact Susan Branch ~ maybe she would publish it for you are at least give you lots of pointers!!!! I love how you moved to the country and wasted no time getting all the things you dreamed of! You’ve made it a beautiful place! Would love to see more pictures of what you’ve done inside the house. SNAKES! YIKES! I use to have the same fear level with snakes but my husband didn’t and that made me determined to change. Not having any poisonous ones where we live now has helped tremendously ~ a super blessing. I still jump when I see one in the garden but my heart stays calm. PRAYING for you! I think you are well on your way just by going into your chicken house without looking up!!! OH BY THE WAY! Merlin is all the things you say he is plus a horse angel ~ white! When I close my eyes I see wings!!! Heavenly blessings to you and your family and your FARM!!! AND thanks for the giveaway!!!
    Cathy in the hills of Idaho

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Cathy, you are right! Feathery white wings for that boy! That’s great advice- I should contact Susan. I have enjoyed her books so much through the years. The inside isn’t finished. I keep thinking that when we get done I’ll get it decorated and share it. I just can’t believe how long it takes to whip an old farmhouse into shape. sigh

  41. Rebecca says:

    You really should write a book….we’d all read it, I’m sure. I love all the Merlin pictures and I can even see his unicorn-ness shining through in the second picture. You just have to use your imagination a little.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Maybe one day I will! My friend sent me a link to a unicorn horn you strap on a horse’s head. It lights up! I should get that. Poor Merlin!

  42. Dianne says:

    Rebekah: I love you blog and I am like a kid at Christmas when it comes. I cannot wait to read what you are up to. Merlin is beautiful. I grew up around horses are love the smell of them and the hay and the barn. Everything horsey. Your picture of the land and pasture and the church would be a beautiful Christmas card. It is so beautiful where you live and being in nature is the very best church of all. Thanks for all the sharing you do. We all love you for it. Do you have the new James Taylor CD? It’s a good one. xxoo

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Oh yeah! You know I do! I happened to be in ATL the Tuesday it was released. I ran to the store to get it that day. It’s super! I wish I could make that photo into something, but I took it with my phone and the quality is too low for anything. :( I am the same way with the smell of horses. When I first got him Farmgirl Donna told me to take a big whiff of his mane. I did and I was like–hmmm, that smells very unique. I wasn’t sure about it at the time. Now, I do love it. And the aroma of hay! yes! Hey-I even love cleaning out all the manure in the barn. I’ve come a long way, Baby!

  43. denise says:

    i always love your blog and Merlin was so cute sneaking in like that through out it! I already am a subscriber but its cool that you are giving away your extra free year.

  44. Natalie M says:

    Seeing your photos of Merlin makes me extra miss being around horses, I worked at a small barn in high school that bred Paints and Quarters for reining and showing. Then in college I volunteered for the Indiana Horse Rescue, now I’ve been an apt for over 10 years in Florida, but my husband is well aware that in the next couple of years we will have land and horses will follow, great pics of your guy, gorgeous horse, love that sweet face

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Natalie, So, we’ve been on the farm 3 years now (I think!). There have been times when I’d give up on riding horses. I just don’t have the skills and have had a hard finding someone to help me. During those periods I realized that it didn’t really matter to me if I rode. I just love to have the horses here and to take care of them and to be in relationship with them. Something about horses! Yay for you! Keep us posted!

  45. Denise Duncan says:

    Your Merlin, is absolutely magical. My DH doesn’t understand horses but I would love to have one. I enjoy our miniature donkeys. Love all your writings. A definite connection for me. Throughly enjoy The magazine as well. My indulgence from time to time.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Denise, I’ve come to the conclusion that guys have different relationships with horses than gals do. In general. Apparently, there is a huge group of middle-aged women who are just discovering the magic and majesty of horses. Do you ride? I wish I had started learning A LONG time ago! I’m such a beginner.

  46. Robin in New Jersey says:

    Merlin is so sweet! I would love to come and visit and take him for a ride. I have not been able to subscribe to my favorite magazines due to my husband’s unemployment. I would love to win!

  47. Gigi says:

    Based on your own experience, what would you tell someone that was looking to make a lifestyle change like yourself and move out of NYC (possibly upstate) to pursue their passion for farming, gardening and a more sustainable life?
    By the way, my daughter (who’s 11) LOVES horses (she gasped while looking at pictures of your Merlin – he is certainly handsome!) and she’s been begging me to get one if we move. What would be your advice for someone her age wanting to own a horse?

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Gigi, I would tell everyone to CHASE THEIR DREAMS, whatever they are. I think the key is to do enough research to be certain that whatever you decide to chase is really the DREAM. For us, we wanted wide open spaces and snow in the winter and to live around people who were nicer. We got all of that. But. Moving out into the middle of nowhere is not for the weak. There’s a saying that every horse deserves to be loved by a girl. The key to horse ownership, I have learned, is TRAINING. Of the horse and of the human. Maybe MORE of the human, actually. Get her involved in lessons or volunteering at a horse rescue. Oh, there’s another saying that always cracks me up when I see it: Get your children to love horses, that way they’ll never have money for drugs. Funny and True!! Horses empower and heal. However, if you get one horse, you need to get two (unless you are boarding at someone else’s barn). Horses need horses. They are pack animals. Sometimes people get a goat or a cow or a donkey to be the companion animal; and sometimes there is a rare horse that has lived alone so long it doesn’t need another horse to be happy. But as a general rule: you need two. The other thing I learned about horses is that the purchase price is the cheapest part of owning a horse. You need a pocket full of change, for sure. But there is nothing like it. Oh, one more thing. We have a friend who used to have horses. When he found out that I had caught horse fever, he said, “horses are like boats. You don’t actually want one of your own, what you want is a friend who has one.”

      • Gigi says:

        “horses are like boats. You don’t actually want one of your own, what you want is a friend who has one.”

        So true! Wanna be our friend? I’m sure my Zoe would LOVE to play with/take care of/ride your Merlin! 😉

  48. Carol in NC says:

    My MJF subscription is out. Here’s hoping! And fyi, i always start at the back as well. Yes, Merlin is awesome. Do you know his breed? A touch of Arabian? He does have a sweet face, the little devil. Cowboy Dan is awesome too, but then again, I have a soft spot for Rockys.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Carol, Merlin is a registered Quarter Horse, 100%. He was born on a farm in Va. I emailed the folks there, but never heard back. I’d love to trace his history since he was born. We all think he had some rough years with a rough handler. But those days are over, you know that! Yes, the Rocky breed is exceptional. So far, I don’t ride Cowboy Dan fast enough that he gaits, but he is a nice ride. Just quick. He’s also a little rolly polly, but honest and steady. He’s a great horse.

  49. Linda says:

    I love your Merlin! He is gorgeous and reminds me of the true love of my life, my mare Sunny. She was a “pale-o-mino” or maybe a “creamy”. I got her as a yearling and trained her gently and we understood and trusted each other. When in a questionable situation, I would tell her “It’s okay” and she would generally do whatever it was that I was asking (crossing a ditch, bridge, etc.) She has been gone for a few years now and I miss her like everything! You go ahead and enjoy every day in your paradise, for you never know what lies down the road. Thank you for sharing with us, and bringing back memories! I recently got my notice to resubscribe to the magazine, but am in a tight financial place right now, so am hoping my entry is lucky! Thanks again for your lovely blogs.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Linda, what do you think it is that made Sunny so special? Why do some horses just GET to us? I bet she was beautiful. I think the blonde horses are so lovely. Did she get dapples during the summer? Sounds like you had a great relationship with her. Merlin doesn’t have that trust for me yet. I’m not strong enough a leader for him—YET.

  50. Debbie Cook says:

    I think that Merlin is beautiful and I will continue reading your blog to find out more about him and you and your family. I haven’t yet subscribed but I want to, just haven’t saw an order blank in your magazines.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Thank you, Debbie! There is also a link on the main maryjanesfarm webpage where you can subscribe. Thank you for admiring Merlin! Double entry for you!

  51. Teri says:

    Rebekah,
    I love Mary Janes Farm. Thanks for the chance to win. :) Teri

  52. Brisja says:

    I LOVE MaryJane’s Farm magazine! And, yes, Merlin is absolutely dreamy. I’m so glad you found each other!

  53. Brenda Towsley says:

    Merlin is s beautiful horse. Whe I was a kid and wanted a horse, my dream horse looked just like Merlin. White and magnificent. Thanks for a chance to win, I have been picking my copies up when I go to the city from a grouchy store or a bookstore. Would love to find them in my mailbox again!

  54. Bonnie says:

    Do you ever miss practicing law?

  55. Leslie says:

    I too have an aversion for snakes, I have also enjoyed your moving reports. I am so envious, being a child of the suburbs of southern Calfornia.Your chicken reports have been laughingly enjoyed. I also adore your interruptions for Merlin (which is a perfect name for a white horse.) Love life and keep reporting!!! Big hugz to you and yours!!!

  56. Mary Rauch says:

    I’m worried that ROBIN did not get your message. Maybe their monthly computer bills are too much for their stressed budget?…
    I wonder if Rebekah has a mailing address for Robin?
    Just thinking.

  57. Robin in New Jersey says:

    Thank you so much Rebekah! I am so excited!

  58. Lori Stamm says:

    I am new to Mary Jane’s magazine as I just discovered it while we stopped for gas in Montana. We were on our way back to Canada from Phoenix. I grew up on the farm but have lived in the city for over 37 years. I long for the peacefulness of the country and to have my own horse and chickens. Your horse Merlin is very beautiful and angelic. I love his soulfoul eyes. I have two sheepdogs and when I look into their eyes they are so beautiful and innocent. My husband and I both hope to retire on a small acreage in the next few years. I look forward to more of your inspirational stories.

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