Dear Neighbor,

They say there are four seasons but there is one more: the season of change.

Change is something most of us don’t like, yet it is essential to growth and thus, life. When you quit growing, you die. My life has been nothing but change in the past two years. No, it started long before that….

I am not so much afraid of change but grieve the loss of what was…which is completely normal. What makes the grief worth feeling is the faith that what is to come will be good, even better and help us be a better version of who we are.

Tomorrow marks the one week mark of another loss on the homestead. My true and faithful dog, Ginger, has passed.  She was our first farm dog and I know you will think I am biased, but she was the perfect dog.

A perfect dog doesn’t: bark too much, hassle the other animals, jump on people,  lick faces or hands, is eager to please, kind with people, specifically children and stays in the yard. She was all this. I really can’t remember a time I was frustrated by her.

She was an amazingly smart mix of Australian Shepherd and I believe, Golden Retriever. I say that because she often pointed when she would find a creature. She had a quirky habit of chasing bees and other buzzing creatures, often being bit on the tongue and then rolling in the grass to relieve herself of the sting.

In her younger years she hung out with the livestock and generally kept busy: whatever that means to a dog. In her later years, her hips made it hard to get up and she would sleep a lot and eat laying down.

When someone pulled into the drive she would push herself up with the agony of a yoga “down dog” and run about the yard doing a little check up on the remaining critters, looking as she was busy all along. Then would greet us with a satisfied smile (yes she smiled) and wag of the tail.

Eight or so years ago, she gave us quite a scare: she disappeared. We looked for her for hours, calling the name of a dog who didn’t leave the property. I couldn’t even bear being in my barnyard, refusing to even milk my cow. I would break down and go into the ugly cry.

Then one day, I thought to myself, time to get a grip, and I opened my door to go milk and there my precious dog was, with an obvious red eye and in pain. The vet concluded that she was hit or likely kicked, in the eye by the cow, and her lense was now laying down, making her blind. We figure she disappeared to lie in pain, and came around when she felt up to it.

As the years went by she did fine with one eye, as any creature can…until glaucoma started eating away at the other eye. It is a horrible thing to watch any animal or person age like that. She still led a normal life, which consisted of sleeping and the daily gallop around when we were out in the yard, or to do her personal business. Did I mention we never saw this dog use the bathroom? The perfect, gentle lady she was, discreetly used the woods, making stool samples impossible and clean up something we never ever had to do. Nature was our poop scoop.

As time went on, I noticed a tad of senility in her. She started walking down the middle of the road and wouldn’t look when I scolded her to come back. This worried me and I feared she would be hit.

A truly good and well behaved dog cannot be bred; they are freaks of nature. We were blessed to have her. Though I hate the timing, for there is never a good time to lose a pet, I am so grateful she died peacefully in her sleep. A perfect ending for a perfect dog. A five dollar dog may I add. Priceless.

All our livestock but the chickens is gone and now all the pets. The homestead is so quiet. I am not sure I will do a thing about it. Perhaps just end that chapter…

My personal life has been a season of change as well and as odd as it all seems, it will be ok..in fact good…better than before. I don’t know why things work out the way they do, but I believe, He will make all things work for the good.

As Gnomeo so eloquently said, “It’s ok! I’m ok!”… for I am Miss Scarlett, after all…..

Happy Homesteading, S