Come on Over for a Visit

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, June 2010 – January 2012]

Now, there’s one cold-weather (or warm weather, too, really!) activity that I’d like to bring back year-round, the “visit.”

When I was little, I remember so vividly my mother saying for us to do something to keep busy while she and a friend were “visiting.” Or, someone would come by for no other reason than to “visit.” My mom still says that – if I call her and she’s busy, she’ll politely tell me that she and a friend are visiting, and she’ll call me back when they are finished. What a wonderful thing. An actual WORD that means to stop by and chat, for no other reason, really, than to have company. Visiting can be done while dinner is being cooked, over tea or coffee, while knitting or other such activities – it’s not really well-suited to really strenuous activities. One doesn’t go on a run with a friend and call it a “visit,” and one certainly doesn’t “visit” by talking on the phone to a friend while running errands. “Visiting” is an intimate time between friends – a sort of farmgirl “sister” time, if you will.

So, if you were to drop by for a visit with me lately, here’s what you’d find, and perhaps some of the things I would talk to you about.

First of all, come on in! My husband is at work, my oldest boy is at school, and my youngest boy is doing a big puzzle of Utah on the floor. Coffee’s on, but if that’s not your “cup of tea,” hot water’s on, too, for hot cocoa or tea for you, too. The fire’s revved up in the woodstove, and this morning, frost still paints the windows – on the INSIDE of the kitchen, even!

So, grab your mug and come with me into what we call the “stove room.” It’s the room with the woodstove, and aside from being enclosed in down comforters on the beds, it’s the coziest room in the house right now. Sit down on the sofa and grab your handwork – you brought some with you, didn’t you? No? Well, then, pick up the “community scarf basket” and pick up the knitting needles that come with it. The “scarf basket” is just a long knit scarf – 20 stitches wide – that is in a basket with needles and various balls of yarn. Visitors can pick it up and work on it whatever way they want while they’re here if they have busy hands… Oh – here’s a blanket, too – slip your shoes off and curl right up on the sofa.

Let me tell you about what’s going on around here. Evelynn the milk cow is still out to pasture with a neighbor’s herd. He has a small Angus bull, and I’m hoping that she’s bred by now, but I won’t be able to get her back for another month or so. I’m really starting to miss her. Truly, I was ready for a break in milking when she left to get “a husband,” as my little ones say, but now I miss her. She should be due to calve around May or June.

The horses are doing well, too. Doc, the old boy, is making it through the winter like a pro. He is very, very old, and we are grateful for every day that we have with him at this point. He’s too old for adults to ride, but he has this special relationship with my 7-year-old, and they ride around all over the place and get along famously. I SO hope that he thrives through the rest of winter and at least through next summer. Kate, my pinto, is a spitfire. I’m not sure quite what I’m going to do with her. She’s doing well, but she is a handful. I’m spending the winter trying to decide if she needs to stay or find another home with a more experienced horse trainer. I just love her so, and still, she frightens me a bit. I’m not generally scared of horses or riding, and I’m fairly experienced, but she has a couple of bad habits that scare me. We got her from a rescue, and I can maybe see why…. Anyway, I won’t decide for sure until at least summer, when I have a chance to ride her and work with her in a steady way.

The sheep are fat and fluffy and in with the rams right now, so the most interaction I have with them is feeding them and giving them water, but they look great – no weird coughing that sometimes comes with winter. Their big wooly coats look so wonderful this time of year!

And the chickens? They are very happy and doing their chickeny things every day – we received a few new hens from a friend, and they are integrating into the flock really well. Not too many eggs, though, this time of year. We decided not to do a light this winter because we had a new flock and they were so young that we thought we’d let them just “be” during their first winter without the stress of extended light hours for laying.

Let’s see – the dog and cats. All’s quiet on that front, too, thankfully.

But what’s really been on my mind? My boys. The loves of my life. My youngest one, Arthur, is four years old now, and he’s a little ball of redheaded fire. What fun to be around! He has a temper, however, and it’s really interesting as a parent to not cater to the tantrums, but at the same time, be ultra-sensitive to his needs, so he doesn’t feel the *desire* to throw one. Right now, he is full of life and as spunky as can be.

My seven-year-old, William, holds the fire of life in a different way. While Arthur sparks with life on the outside, Will holds a steady fire inside. He is reserved, sensitive, innovative and active. Oh, how I love these boys. Right now, we are working with an issue with William’s heart. He was born with a case of what they call “tricuspid valve regurgitation,” which is basically a leaky valve. We found out a couple of weeks ago at his yearly check-up with a cardiologist that it IS going to have to be “fixed.” I can’t tell you how difficult this was to hear. I was holding out hope that his wonderful little heart would somehow miraculously mend itself as he grew, but the leak is “moderate to severe,” and in the opinion of his cardiologists, it will need to be fixed. I’m not sure if this mean’s repaired or replaced, but we will know after he has an MRI in a couple of months. When I first heard this, I almost passed out – you know that feeling where your head gets sort of bubbly and your ears sound fuzzy and all – and then I re-realized that my little one was sitting there on the doctor’s exam table watching me. What does a mother do? You get it together, and fast.

I am still reeling, still gathering information. We knew about his heart problem from the day he was born. That’s not the hard thing to deal with. The difficulty for me is thinking about possible dangers of surgery, pain for my little one, and the general fear I have of anything happening to my boys. He is such an amazing person – so stoic and accepting in so many ways, and so young and innocent in others. I wouldn’t wish this uncertainty on any mother – on anyONE. I have to think of the old prayer by Julian of Norwich that I love: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” And yet there is still the part of me that ventures into the wasteland of “what if…”

There are so many mothers, so many PEOPLE, big and small, dealing with such difficult truths right now – on the Farmgirl Connection and throughout the world – that I feel like it’s almost an indulgence to say how worried and scared I am, but I still am. And I have a measure of compassion and empathy for others in similar positions that I didnt’ have before.

So, my farmgirl friends, peace, and plenty – health and happiness – and all that is good…

And now, tell me, what would YOU like to visit about?



  1. Regina says:

    Hello Libby!
    Thank you for the invite from one farm to another! It’s chilly here in "sunny" Florida. Shouldn’t complain, I know, after seeing the Northeast these past few weeks, but it’s a TAD cool for my bones here too! January always brings up thoughts of getting my seeds sorted, bought and finally planted in pots. Will be time soon (end of January) to plant taters. Can’t wait, as that means it won’t be long til warmth comes back! Thank you for sharing and for the opportunity to visit. Come on over to the cottonfieldfarm for a visit when you have time. So nice to visit over the fence. God bless. Regina

  2. Terry says:

    Thank you and God bless you as you embark on a new year of farmgirl fun. I just love to visit . I grew up in the country and certainly remember how quiet or out of sight children had to be when grown up women were visiting .
    As a child it was great because I loved being out doors .
    I still love the outdoors . Thank you for sharing this really lovely post about visitng .
    Friendly hugs from Texas
    Until next time
    Happy Trails

  3. JoAnn says:

    My prayers are with you and your son. I know a little of what you’re going through as my son’s best friend since birth had heart problems too – not the same type as you’re sons. He is now 19 years old and has had to go through 5 major surgeries so far with one more possible by the time he’s 35. He is a wonderful young man and like my own son. It is amazing what doctors can do – and how quickly children can recover from all they have to go through. Things are improving all the time and what we thought of as miricles just a few years ago are now common operations. May God bless you and hold your son in the palm of his hand.

  4. DD says:

    Wonderful update on all the happenings at the farm. Sounds like such fun. We will include William in our prayers.

  5. Kathy Suhr says:

    HI! The kettle is on and there is a loaf of fresh baked bread just waiting to be sliced. After years of working to just to survive and not enough time for visiting, I can now say " Come on over for a cup of tea and some goodies.". There is something about the sound of ladies when they are together laughing,sharing,just being women that is a healing balm to the soul. So come sit a spell and lets share life!

  6. Patricia Yelle says:

    Thank you for a wonderful visit! It was so enjoyable hearing about all your farm animals, and I loved the idea of a "visiting basket" for when friends come.
    Needless to say I will be keeping you, and your son in my prayers and sending good thoughts your way. Thank God we live in this age where so much can be done medically. I am sure it will all work out.

  7. KimberlyD says:

    Thanks for the invite and the cup of herbal tea, I like a bit of honey in mine please. You will have to stop by my place in Michigan some time!
    I don’t know how you felt when hearing about your son needing surgery, but when I was a child at the age of 11 yrs old, I had to have surgery for scoliosis, years ago(over 30 yrs ago) and I know its important to have "strong" brave parents for we are scared, we don’t understand why, but as long as we feel your love it helps. I hope you don’t get offended by this, but I just remember how scared I was being left in a hospital at night it was the loneliness and scariest times.

  8. tina marie says:

    i love love your farm house, greetings from wisconsin ,-7

  9. Brenda says:

    Hi Libby I have been reading this site for awhile but as yesterday I am a certified farmgirl of the sisterhood. Thanks for the invite and I love both coffee and tea. I love the pictures you posted. I live on about 50 acres but horses,dogs,cats are all I have now. I have started planning our garden I can all I can. Anyway enough about me sounds like you are busy all year too. And as a mother of grown boys you are right they are the most important thing. Sorry to hear about William but what ever has to be done I am sure he will have a loving family around him to help and the doctors hands are blessed with prayers to guild him. Thanks again for the visit and I hope many more I am excitied to be a new member of Farmgirl Connections

  10. Becky says:

    hello,Libby Thanks for the visit and confiding in me about your farm,family and life.I am glad to hear all is well,and I would be worried too about my child,but I am sure all will be well,Dr.s are amazing and can do so many things now that were almost impossible not long ago.educate yourself about your sons’ condition,ask questions so you understand the prep,and procedures,and turn it over to the Dr.and God,and stay positive!I can’t wait until spring,it has been so cold here in Minnesota -38 this morning on my thermometer,so relieved my chickens,bunnies,goats,and mini mare were all ok this morning.I am looking forward to warmer temps.,baby animals,and getting ready for gardening.good to visit with you take care,and know you,and your family are in many peoples thoughts,and prayers. Becky

  11. O'Dell says:

    Hi Libby,

    I can relate to much of what you have said here….I do love to "visit" too. Your description of a visit fits me to a T! I’ll take a blanket, and take my shoes off, and sit on the couch with you…wood stove sounds lovely, too.
    We had several horses when I was growing up. I was afraid of them, but helped with their care anyway. My older sister rode them. For a time we also had a bull, and cow. One day, when I was in high school, I was walking home, and saw all the neighbors gathered around our yard (7 acres, all fenced in ). I ran to see what they were watching. Well, my mother -at age 40 was being chased up the hill by the bull. It seems that she had gone and waved her apron at the bull, when she saw he’d gotten out the pasture and tried to get him back in.He was determined to tromp her good! I never knew my mother could run so fast! The men finally got him corraled before he could harm her, tho.
    I will say some prayers for your little William, too. My daughter was born with a major heart defect (she’s now 37)that can’t be fixed. She has 2 little ones, during which her labors she had to wear a heart monitor, to make sure she did not have a heart attack. They have also said that she should not have any more. I worry she may need a transplant some day, but try not to think about it often. She just wants to live long enough to see them grown. I pray for that too. We know that organs are not always available when the need is there.
    I see you posted a month ago….I believe that others have not responded, with the holidays’ "busyness" abounding. It is now Jan. 21, and I only just recieved your blog alert. As most folks I have been extremely busy too -we have just had our 3rd snowstorm since Christmas, and are due for another big one next Tues.
    Let us know how things are with little William….we do care!

  12. Valerie says:

    I second the task of handwork especially if it is hand piecing or quilting! I hope that everything goes well for your son. Will keep him and your family in thoughts and prayers.

  13. Mary Anne says:

    It is so difficult when our children get ill, even when they are in their adulthood. As you take care of him please take special care of yourself! Will keep you in my prayers.

  14. Cathy K says:

    Dear Libby, First of all, what a lovely visit with you. As one of your Utah neighbors (in the Salt Lake Valley), I don’t get out to your parts often, LOL. But I do work on the farm – Wheeler Farm – so, I truly appreciate the down-to-earth and basic ways of days gone by. And I enjoy helping to keep – and see others keep – those ways alive. 🙂

    Being a mother is always scary. To love so deeply has that scary edge to it. Thank goodness we live in a time with all the miracles of modern medicine. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but that goes for any one of us at any time. All WILL be well. And in a few years it will just be a memory – a story you can tell a friend on a future visit.

    Big hugs to you and your family,
    Cathy K
    Murray, UT

  15. Suzy says:

    How I enjoyed the "visit" with you just now! I have to have those same kind of "visits" with my beloved Jenny in Utah but we are sister just the same!

    I am glad to that you shared about your son. You will all be on my prayer list from this day forward….I often say my prayers as I am feeding and watering my chickens, ducks, goats, bunnies, cats,and dog in the early mornings….somehow I just feel so close to God at that time…And you will be mentioned by name every morning and believe me, the power of prayer can see you through ANYTHING, no matter what is your "religious" views!

    I’ll be glad when you get Evelyn back at home….I so love hearing about Jenny’s sweet cow and her little steer friend Stewie! We’ll be hoping that Evelyn has a beautiful little heifer just like her and Mona! a/k/a bamasuzy

  16. Joy says:

    As a mother, I know what nervous feeling you have for your son. If you can get over the hump of doubt, and push toward the possitive, you will make it and so will your son. God Bless you both.
    Only 11 degrees here in NY this morning, and I live near Lake Ontario, which usually keeps us warmer. I got a cat on my lap, fire blazing, and a cup of coffee that is just right! Life is good. Thumbs up for you and your son. 🙂

  17. Genny says:

    Hi Libby,
    What a wonderful visit! My heart hurts for you. I think we can stand whatever happens to ourselves, but let our child be under threat and our hearts spasm with fear. I will be praying for him and strength for you. I know you have the courage it takes.
    Genny(in very frigid PA)

  18. Keleen says:

    You are so right–"what if" is such a wasteland. I’ll be in prayer for you and your son, and your whole family. Thanks for sharing your mother’s heart in your visit with us.

  19. Debbie says:

    Hello Libby!
    Thank you for the wonderful visit! You are a gracious hostess and your tea was fabulous! There’s nothing like a good old fashioned visit " farmgirl to farmgirl" to share what’s on our minds and in our hearts… I love your farmhouse and the cozy feeling you have created there for your family. You will all be in our prayers as you go steadily forward with treatment for your son.
    Sending prayers and a big farmgirl hug!
    Beach Blessings

  20. janie isham says:

    I work in healthcare and see struggles everyday of families with sick children. It presents a special challenge because we so want to fix everything and the fear and worry that can consume us over our children. You seem like a very strong woman and loving mother. I have no doubt you,your son and your family will come through this and be closer for it.Keep the faith and know that i will be praying for you all.
    P.S> it was -18 this morning in balmy South Dakota!

  21. Emily says:

    My first time "visiting" with you and it felt wonderful. Inspired me to make that extra effort to "visit" with others without having a reason that makes me stop other than to enjoy each other’s company.
    I have added William to my prayers.

    Chilly in Virginia as well 😉

  22. Nella Spencer says:

    Hi Libby, I so enjoyed your post. I inherited 10 acres in Wisconsin and know how friends just drop by for a visit and we stop what we’re doing and chat as long as time allows. So much different than my life in Chicago, where I actually live. My dream it to live in Wisconsin but one thing that keeps me here is my daughter who is mentally and physically disabled. Her friends and the accessiblity make me wonder how we could manage in the country. I’ve never seen this addressed in any posts. Anyway, I think your son is blessed to be living in a quiet, serene place around family and friends, looking out at nature — it will help his heart heal and along with your abounding love for him, all will be well. Take care of yourself, my prayers are with you.

  23. Joanie says:

    Hi Libby,

    It is balmy, in the 40’s here on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Hubby is off, and we are going to prune our fruit trees today, and my parents’ tomorrow. No rain, but it is still damp and cloudy. I’m going to make my favorite blender soup for lunch(cook up potato, onion, kale, broccoli and blender up!) My prayers go out to you and your son’s doctors and nurses; be strong, and try not to worry. Take care

  24. Ruth Turner says:

    Your lovely description of your farm makes me want to be there, walking all over it and petting animals as I go! I SO enjoy reading your blog each month! Your William – all of you – will be in my prayers as he faces surgery ahead. It’s incredible the advancements and technology that have occurred to not make this as daunting a fear as it once would’ve been! I just know William will come through w/flying colors and be all the stronger for it! God bless! Ruth

  25. Cheri says:

    OK- first- research ask questions and write down lots of notes. Be an advocate for your son. It will help keep it all straight. Having lived through a few of these scary kids/family things. I find it helps to be on the prepared side of the medical conversations.

    Horse- i know the whole OLD feeling. We buried out old pony a year ago. But being 39, he had a very amazing happy life. We also were happy everyday that he was there to great us with a little whiny. And he wld watch us through the back windows.

    Rescue- we rescued our, hmm 3rd, this past Mother’s Day. She is a thoroughbred rescue. Sweet, smallish mare. She never pulled on the bit, ran away or bolted. BUT she did LAY DOWN when we were riding her. We found that her teeth were very bad (open sores in her mouth even). AN equine dentist and a chiropractor and she is doing much better. With all the snow and ice in our part of the country, she is enjoying some good- be a horse time. Maybe talk to your friends and get an equine dentist to look at your rescue.

    I will keep you, your family and horse in my thoughts.

  26. Kate Talley says:

    I cried when I first heard the news of Will’s heart and I am crying again. He is such a sweet boy and I love him so much. Libbie, I miss you so much and love you more!
    Call me when you can.

  27. Adriana says:

    Thank you soo much for your invitation, my prayers are with you and your family, may the lord bless you and keep in his arms. The eagles and owls are good luck and prosperity and good health, There is a lot of blessing and prayer give to you and your family at this time, keep the faith and give thanks to GOD. He loves you and your wonderful family. love a simple lady. I don’t know what is to have or live in a farm so I truly enjoy your life. thank you:D

  28. Darlene says:

    I just wanted to post and let you know that my son just had open heart surgery to repair his mitral valve. He is 23 years old and his valve was damaged by bacteria that entered his blood stream when his wisdom teeth came through. I want you to know that it is not as bad as you are imagining that it is going to be for your son! My son is now 6 weeks post-op and life is returning to normal. If you would like to email me, I would love to answer any questions that you have. Having gone through it so recently, its all very fresh in my mind.

  29. Sadye udley says:

    Hi Libbie, Enjoy reading your Blogs. Prayers from Texas sent your way for Williams complete recovery.


    Thank you so much, Sadye! xoxo, Libbie

  30. Cheryl says:

    This is the first time I’ve been to your site, but I really loved it. My farm is so small; only two goats, three dogs, 20 chickens and hopefully, a miniature horse for Christmas!! I’m lucky to be living my dream of being a "rural farmgirl." I’ll come back again soon to see what you’ve added. Thanks for sharing!!

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