Appreciating it All


Like my sweet Daddy says, “I’ve been missing you!” 

Can you leave a comment and let me know how you’re doing? Maybe even insert a selfie? I’d love that. I just made one and will post it at the end — even though I’m not usually a selfie person.

I wish you were here on my farm with me. We’d sit on the back deck with a cup of lavender tea and tea biscuits, and we’d listen to the tumbling waters of the creek below.



When we weren’t laughing too loud, or cackling like a flock of birds, we’d hear the cows mooing next door.

They’re especially noisy these days, some of their moos sounding like mourning. I’m pretty sure that means that babies and mamas have been separated.

Although. It could be something else that has the cows carrying on. 4 days ago was chicken manure spreading day on their pasture. Maybe that strong smell is the source of their discontent.

Have you experienced this particular odor before? It’s rough for a few days, overpowering, then it begins to lessen in strength and offensiveness.

Today, day 4, I am sitting outside again and enjoying the farm where I landed a few years ago. The odor is still there and maybe you’re glad that you’re not here with me on the back deck. But, to me, at day 4, it smells like the country life to me.

Nature, woods, creek, cows, horses in the pasture, farm cats.

It. All.

Anyway, my forever helpful neighbor, Rich, the owner of the cow pasture, always lets me know when chicken manure days are coming. I shut my windows tightly and stay inside. No garden parties on those first days after spreading.

He told me one day that I was the perfect neighbor. I’m not. He’s the one who brings me some chicken when he fires up his smoker. He’s the one who helps me put black roof tar on the top of my hay trailer to stop the leaks. He’s the one who alerts me when bad weather is coming.

I mean, who ARE these people?

I bask in their kindness and generosity.

News from the Farm. Hmmm.

There’s a new cat that arrived unannounced at the farm, and I think it’s permanent. He forwarded his mail here last week. So I took him to the vet, got him tested for any cat diseases, and had him fixed.

I named him Hugh, after Hugh Grant, because he, like Hugh Grant, is funny, handsome, and a lover, and has a British accent.

Unlike Hugh Grant, he is humongous — HUGHmongous.


Hugh is the big orange cat. Strudel is beside him, drinking from the creek. Strudel’s my precious pup that’s lucky to be alive. They are about the same size.



We’ve come through winter fine. Most of our days here have been mild and most of our nights have been too.

Dandelions even bloomed most of the winter. So did Creeping Charlie. My bees were out of their hive finding pollen and nectar. I saw the little pockets on their little bee legs stuffed full of yellow or purple pollen. I also saw red pollen one day, which baffled me. I haven’t seen anything red in bloom around here.

I’m not sure I can call what we have here “winter.” I need to think of another name. Like, “fake winter” or “where’s the snow” or “not winter winter” or “dang it’s warm.”


Delicate wild crocuses have popped up all over the farm

It’s supposed to be 77 later on this week. Ugh. And sigh. The lack of winter weather is a big negative for me. But, Sister, it sure is good for tomatoes.


I think these are maple dangle-leys (official botanical name for them). They are full of pollen, and I hope my honeybees find them.

Speaking of gardening.

I took your, or someone’s advice, to have raised beds this year for my vegetable garden. Hopefully this will help me manage weeds on this farm without resorting to chemicals. (So far, it’s 3/0, weeds winning.)

But there are issues. I don’t have flat land or carpentry skills. So, I’ve been talking about my challenges to anyone I encounter who seems farmy.

Did you know that when one lives in the country, one manages one’s own garbage. One puts one’s stinky mess in the back of one’s farm truck named Elvis, and then one hauls it to “The Dump” on Saturdays. I am “one.” Ours is not a real dump because it has the dumpsters that some one else (not this “one”) takes to The Real Dump, the landfill. 

The nicest men work at the dump. They’re my favorite age, “not young.” There’s Mr. Phil and there’s Garnett. On my visits, I’ve been talking to Garnett about gardening, how to level dirt, and how to build and install raised beds.

So. A few days ago, I get a call from my nice neighbor, Rich. Garnett called him up and asked him to contact me. Some items had just arrived at The Dump that he thought would make great raised beds for me. He set them aside in case I wanted them.

I mean, who ARE these people? I bask in their kindness and generosity.

Oh yeah, I wanted them! They are in the back of Elvis right now. They’re perfect. And free. And I kept these out of a landfill. So, win, win, win.

This weekend I’ll start working to set them up. I’m planning to fill one with lettuces, kale, and sugar snap peas. It’s time to plant those veggies now in Georgia.

In other news, I recently met Patty and Johnny who shared bulbs and flower plants from their gardens with me. I stayed and visited too long, probably wore out my welcome, but it was hard for me to leave. They were both so interesting and friendly. I admired their raised beds and their huge vegetable gardens. As it turns out, they grow and sell veggies and flowers in the summer. Johnny even gave me a stupid-funny movie recommendation, Joe Dirt. It arrived yesterday thanks to Amazon. I need some stupid-funny in my life.

Wait until I tell you what else I came home with. Fig preserves. I heart figs. Patty leaves hers whole in the jar rather than chopping them. This makes them even more heavenly than usual. I can’t describe the party my mouth has every morning when I spread the figs on a warm English muffin.

And check this out. I also came home with a big slice of 11-Layer Chocolate Cake that Patty had just made.

I came as a stranger and left as a friend.

I mean, who ARE these people? I bask in their kindness and generosity.       

That’s one thing that I’ve been doing, working on creating a new flower bed for the new plants. As usual with my equipment, nothing would start. So I did this like my Grandma Teal did when someone gave her flowers. Grabbed the shovel, hoe, and pick ax and tried to conquer the red clay we have for dirt. 


My Merlin after enjoying his share of the baked apples

Not much else is going on around the farm. The horses are good. My Soul-Horse, Merlin, heart heart heart, kiss kiss kiss, hug hug hug, is beginning to show his age. As am I. We drink lots of water every day and share baked apples every evening.

I’m hoping what they say about apples and doctors is true.

He does too.

Until next time, Friends,

Savor the Flavor of Life!


The City FarmGirl living on a lovely farm in the middle of nowhere-ville, where the people are nice and helpful and neighborly and we take our smelly trash to the dump and our smelly chicken manure to the fields. Ah, country living!


Selfie since we haven’t seen each other in SOOOO long!

  1. Pat says:

    It seems like it has been a long time since you’ve written or maybe I just haven’t gotten it. But sooooooooooo nice to hear from you. I don’t always read other’s blogs all the time but when I see it is from you I always do. 🙂

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Hi Pat. I think it has been forever since I have been able to post. I’ve been working all the time.
      Your encouraging words will make me do better!
      I appreciate you.

  2. Ramona Puckett says:

    I have missed reading about your adventures! And I used worn out stock tanks for raised garden beds, just layers of wood on the bottom and then leaves and compost, the vegetables and flowers (zinnias!) loved it! I hope everything is going well for you. ❤️

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Hi Ramona! So, I have a worn out tank. It’s so deep, I hadn’t thought about using it for plants. But padding the bottom would make it feasible $-wise.
      I’m putting it on my list! Thanks for that idea. Take care!

  3. Sheena says:

    Your farm sounds wonderful! I hope you grow some lavender in your raised beds! That would be lovely!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Hi Sheena. I love lavender. Love it.
      So far I haven’t had any luck here in Ga.
      I hadn’t thought about trying it in a raised bed! I will do exactly that and cross my fingers.

  4. Thank you for the blog today. Needed it. Kinda jealous of your “Fake Winter”. We had rain, then thunder sleet and snow today. Looking forward to planting flowers and warmer weather.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Bleh, fake winter. You’d tire of it soon enough, I bet. Esp when our sticky hot summers come around. lol
      I am looking forward to the challenge of trying to stay ahead of everything on a farm. Each year, I lose, but it’s fun to try.
      Thank you for your comment, Michelle! I’m so happy you stopped by.

  5. Tracey says:

    I’ve been a subscriber to Mary Jane for forever. Your column is the reason I renew my subscription year after year (and now Dr Lara K too).
    I live across the creek from a farm that spreads slurry but thanks to Covid, I can’t smell a thing.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Oh no, covid. 🙁 Hope you are better soon and can once again enjoy all the smells of life.
      Tracey, you’re precious. Thank you for telling me this. It put a BIG OLE smile on my face!

  6. Jan Galbreath says:

    So happy to read your update! Your writing always brings calmness and a

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      “and a…” do I get to finish that sentence? Cause I will. lol
      Bring calmness is exactly what I aspire to do.
      Thank you for coming by, Jan. It means the world that you left me this note.

  7. Terry Steinmetz says:

    What a way to wake up! I’m enjoying my tea on this cold winter morning (it’s -5°) in front of the fireplace and reading my email. Your words were so encouraging. We have snow and cold here, but hubby and I still go outdoors–we have a wood boiler in our garage that needs to be fed every now and then. He hauls wood everyday to keep in the garage for days when it snows. That’s better than getting wet wood for the stove! We also do garden planning, puzzles, and read. I have been making LOTS of cards to send to people in my life. Thanks for the pics of your place. We will have green sometime in April. But I agree with you, country life is great!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Oh Terry, your writing is lovely. I pictured it all. I see you and your hubs bundled up in all that snow and cold. Headed to the firewood pile and then the boiler.
      And now you’re i front of your fire planning, doing puzzles, reading and making cards to share.
      You’ve made a good life for yourself.

  8. Maureen says:

    Sure have missed you! May I suggest the book Lasagna Gardening” by Patricia Lanza? I think you might find her system works well, time and effort wise. It certainly made a difference for us, with our lovely Colorado clay!

    Best of luck on your produce ventures and congrats on the new Hugh in your life.


    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Thank you for that book recommendation, Maureen. I will check it out for sure.
      It’s good to hear from you.
      Hugh’s a love; but man, I’ve got a lot of cats on this farm and in this little house.
      Talk again soon!

  9. Diane Van Horn says:

    It is so good to hear and see from you! We really missed you in October when we did the YOU Challenge minus you. That new cat, Hugh Grant is stunning. He is one lucky cat to have stumbled on to your little piece of paradise. Your lovely neighbors remind me that there are good people still out there. What a wonderful little community. Raised beds are the way to garden. The best way to minimize the weeds in them is to make your own soil. Google “Square Foot Gardening” I have used the soil mixture the author recommends and it is amazing. Every autumn I just add a top layer of compost then work it in before planting. Here is the mixture:
    The classic square foot garden soil mix is made from 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 finished compost from several different sources. Measure by volume, not weight. We used a 5-gallon bucket to measure out equal amounts of each ingredient.
    So nice to hear from you! Hopefully we hear more for a May YOU Challenge!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Ah, so happy to see your note! I’m glad to hear from you.
      I appreciate you carrying the baton, Diane! I’m hoping to do better in the work/life balance this year. We shall see. So far, I’m failing again. But it’s only mid-Feb.
      Thank you for that recipe. I hadn’t even considered peat or vermiculite. Cool! OXO

  10. Donna says:

    Country living. Can’t beat it

  11. Elizabeth says:

    That was so beautiful to read and inspiring. I live in Western New York and it’s cold snowy and blowy today. So I find reading these blogs makes me feel alive. Thanks for sharing. Beth

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      I’ve been watching your weather, Beth. It’s been rough.
      I’m glad I put some warmth in your day.
      You put some in mine too.

  12. Roberta says:

    Enjoy it all! Just reading about it brings relaxation and beauty. Many thanks :-).

  13. Very enjoyable read. I envy you your warm temps. South Dakota has been very windy and sometimes very, very cold. We don’t have much snow so I’m afraid the perennials and roses might not survive this year – again.
    Sorry, no selfie…I don’t know how to attach one. Enjoy your Spring or is it Summer!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      I’ve always loved your name, Nanette! I’m glad you left a comment so I could tell you so.
      I sure hope your plants make it through.
      Apparently, there is no way to attach photos in a comment—so, I was asking for the impossible.
      Take care!

  14. Cathy burt says:

    Cow and chicken manure days. I remember them well.

  15. Elaine Cardell says:

    This winter has been very warm in the N GA, and I miss the cold and snow we use to have. Chicken manure is not all that pleasant for sure, but does the pasture a world of good. I refer to cow manure as Eau de Moo, and doesn’t bother me..except for the flies. Hope the garden will be a huge success this year. And you do meet some of the most helpful folks in the country. Great selfie!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      I agree with you, Elaine. Cow manure and horse manure don’t bother me in the least. Eau de Moo, lol! But shoe-weee, that chicken litter!
      You all got a few good snows, didn’t you? I thought about jumping in the car and heading up there just to see a flake or two.
      People in the country are truly neighbors.

  16. Patsy Crippen says:

    So enjoy reading your blogs

  17. It’s so good to hear from you! Thanks for posting.

  18. Hello dear lady! Yes, I have missed you, too. I am going to be totally honest here and say that I am so-so jealous that you are already seeing spring pop up around you. As I write this, the snow is flying around on 40 mph winds and the wind chill is 13! Send some warmth up north, please! So glad you are surrounded by kind, caring, and down-to-earth people. Good luck on your raised beds!

  19. Dianne Beach says:

    WOW, It is wonderful to hear from you. I have missed your news. It sounds so nice when the neighbors are friendly and helpful. We had a ginormous gold cat with beautiful eyes and a fluffy tail show up. Also had a bit sore around its ears. Probably from a fight. My neighbor and I put food out however I haven’t seen him (or her) in the last couple of days. Love your selfie! Mine would scare others so I do not post. HA HA Well take good care. Best of luck with your garden. I await your next posting. Huggs

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      It’s funny how many cats show up here, Dianne. Is it the same for you? Some are wild and some are lovers.
      I just tried to upload a funny thing about collecting cats, but the comment section doesn’t allow for photos that I can find. So you couldn’t post a selfie if you wanted to. 🙁
      Yes, I feel lucky to have wonderful neighbors. Wait until I tell y’all about my other neighbor. She’s incredible.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  20. JoEllen says:

    You look so young and pretty Rebekah! Country life sure agrees with you! Was so glad to see that you’re back and sharing your life with all of us. I started using raised beds about 4 yrs ago and get special weed free dirt to put in it. I always get great crop results with NO weeds, ever! Such a bonus for my aging body. Can’t wait until frost season is over and I can plant my favorite vegetables. Still in the low 40’s here! Will be looking forward to your next post.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Hi JoEllen! It’s so good to hear from you. Yeah, that photo is blurry, one of the reasons I used it! But, thank you.
      I am thinking along the same lines as you–how to set things up today so that they will be easy even as I age.
      I share your spring fever. Just wish we had enjoyed a winter first.
      Talk again soon!

  21. Margaret Hamel says:

    This is my first time to respond. I am retired, living in a forested area of the TN Great Smokey’s foothills. Quite a change from city life where I grew up! But, I have experienced a lot of that.

    My property is far from level & close to a lake. Growing up, my Dad had racing pigeons, odor comparable to chickens, ugh! I got the chore of cleaning the coop occasionally. Dad also had a dump truck load of manure brought to our back yard in spring. He spread it on the grass & his roses, which were beautiful & thriving every spring to summer.

    I, too, am learning about Raised Bed Gardening. My Arthritis will appreciate my following through with it. I have not been doing a lot of outdoor gardening due to my health, including allergies. But, this year I am going to make an effort to get out early in the morning to do what gardening I am able.

    I also belong to a group of quilters that make them for needy children in our community here in Appalachia. Might be joining a second group making quilts for Veterans. Hope to have time to devote to this cause.

    Living in the rural area of TN has been great for me. My Veteran husband blessed every day he lived here.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Sounds beautiful, Margaret. I adore the area where you live. In fact, I left my heart in the Appalachian Mountains.
      I love that you have such a giving heart. So many of us talk a good talk, but don’t make the time to give back. You’re walking the talk. There is a lot of need in Appalachia, as there is everywhere.
      My first farm was outside of Waynesville, NC. I bet that’s not too far from you? Good luck on your raised beds this year! Rebekah

  22. Denise says:

    Hi Rebecca, I have missed you. You are my favorite farm girl blogger and the one that I always make the time to read. I sense a little tiredness in your voice and share in it. It has been a tough year here in New York for my family, but keeping positive and looking forward to a better 2022. Please send my love and well wishes to Merlin. Watching loved ones age is the hardest part of loving something with all of your heart. Stay well, denise

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      You’re a sweetie, Denise. You’re right, I’m tired. But stay energized with all my projects and work.
      Later on, I’m giving Merlin a big ole kiss on his precious muzzle from you. He thanks you for the love.
      Take care!

  23. Sylvia Bengisoy says:

    Good morning City Farm Girl, I love love love your blog and your friendly helpful neighbors. My kind of people. I live in the city but am a farm girl at heart but I don’t think my back, hips, and knees (approaching 69!) would take it!
    I can relate to getting the soil ready for planting as I would take the pickaxe to my mom’s yard in Taos, NM so she could plant her flowers. ️ Today I am diffining up (I don’t think that is a real phrase) vegetable and flower seeds to my moderators of It All Starts with a Seed. It is a great site that recently had a virtual open trunk event where you requested awesome seeds that were offered for free. Any hoo I am itching for spring. We have had some warmer days but it is Fake spring here in Seattle. I am not going to fall for that trick Mother Nature! So I will just preview my catalogs, get my tools ready for digging, and do some baking!

    I spent my day yesterday with my brother at the VA and helped him clean his apartment so today is Me day. I already had my bold coffee w/ oatmeal and my brown sugar syrup so it is a good start of the day. Until later City Farm Girl!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Sylvia, It’s so nice to hear from you. Great way to start your day!
      I didn’t know about that website. Thank you for sharing it. Sounds awesome and I’m going to check it out today.
      Lol, fake spring.
      I always wanted to go to Seattle, I know you must love it there!

  24. Rita Barcus says:

    I loved and so enjoyed your blog!! Thanks for sharing all your stories of “who are these peoples” and why am I so lucky in life. Look forward to pictures of your raised beds. Have a good day…

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Thank you for visiting, Rita! I sure am lucky. I bet you are too. I’m excited about the raised beds. I’ve missed being able to grow my own veggies on this weed-infested farm. Take care!

  25. Mary Frances Rauch says:

    Right away all I can think of to say to you is,”I just LOVE, love, love you and have missed your input on this site!”
    If I knew how to send a pic I would, but …. ???

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      You know I LOVE LOVE LOVE you, Mary! I hope life is treating you well! You and your honey doing okay? I appreciate your cards. OXO 🙂

  26. Sandy says:

    Enjoy your posts! You have warm days and we are freezing in Minnesota. Expecting 40-50mph winds today and 12 inches of snow on Tuesday. I have been sewing and quilting and reading. Cleaning too, not sure if it is spring cleaning or last fall cleaning!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Oh Sandy, I’m so envious of your winter weather! Sounds like you are enjoying your winter. Mine is “last fall” cleaning. I’ll get to that one day. ha

  27. Lynn S says:

    Absolutely love this post!!! I am so envious! The farm sounds like the perfect place to live!!!!

  28. Nancy Hilder says:

    My farm in Canada is under about three feet of snow with lots of ice under the drive and pathways.. pleh… the temperature right now is about 19-20f.
    I couldn’t paste in my selfie.. but it’s cute for an older girl than you. Xox

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Okay, so I probably couldn’t handle your winter. That’s intense!
      I wish I could see your cute face. But, apparently you can’t attach a photo in the comments. 🙁

  29. Cindy Foote says:

    Good Afternoon ,
    Thanks for the post. I understand your journey in trying to learn to grow your own vegetables.
    Good luck. We are having winter here in Indiana. We had ice, snow and then lots of rain yesterday. I think my growing land is more like a rice paddy.

    I definitely love raised beds, I think it’s the only way to do it where I live.

    I really want to try chickens but I don’t know if I can raised an area large enough to keep their feet dry.

    I look forward to hearing more from you.
    Have a wonderful remaining “Fake Winter” waiting for Spring!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Hi Cindy!
      Until I arrived at this farm, I’ve always just used the earth’s dirt to garden. There’s no way to do it here. The weeds are unbelievable; it’s an old goat farm.
      I’m looking forward to a successful run at gardening this year. fingers and toes crossed.
      Think about those chickens. I enjoy mine. They’ll be 9 years old in a month. They’re great to have. But, yeah, they’ll need a dry piece of land.
      Is it wet all year long where you live in Indiana?
      Thanks for coming by and leaving a note!

  30. Regina says:

    Oh YES!! I know all about chicken manure.. I grew up on a chicken farm; gathered eggs every at peak it was 10,000 eggs. I helped “muck out” the manure pits-perhaps 10 inches deep…scraped the concrete aisles when we couldn’t get in the fields and the pits got too full. Dad had a manure pusher that was attached to the small tractor to push the manure to the auger pit at the top end of each row, which moved the manure outside and up to dump into the manure spreaders which were then taken to the fields to spread…ahhhhh memories!!!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Oh. My. Lands.
      Bless you, Child.
      You’re an expert, so why does chicken litter smell so bad?? It’s awful.
      10,000 eggs?
      Are you a city girl now?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *