A beekeeping neighbor dropped off this gorgeous honey today. It looks like a jar full of sunlight, doesn’t it?

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I have no idea what the new normal is, but I’m trying to find out! For now, it consists of sunny fall days, DH set up in his “office” on the front porch, so many friendly, kind, loving, concerned, and helpful friends, food—lots and lots of wonderful food, trips over the mountain to doctor’s offices, and long de-stressing walks along the river with Split, my faithful, neurotic Border Collie.

Mostly, these days, I’m full of gratitude for all we have. Thanks for everything, I have no complaints.

DH had a backache all summer. Not real bad, just enough to bug him, like a catch up between his shoulder blades. At some point his fingers and feet started tingling, and then his legs started getting weak. Then one day while working down in Atlanta, his legs couldn’t support him, and he fell, after which he had very little use of his legs. He drove himself home (!), and we took him for x rays, which didn’t give us any answers—the doctors were looking for a pinched nerve or a slipped disk. We ended up in the emergency room at 4 am, and long story short, turns out he has stage 4 prostate cancer which has metastasized to his bone, and the problem with his back and legs was a tumor on his spine that was compressing his spinal cord.

We ended up in Johnson City, TN for (I think) 11 nights in the hospital, and after surgery, he’s slowly recovering the use of his legs, and his prognosis is good with radiation, chemotherapy, and hormone treatment.

The girls held down the fort while we were gone, and did an amazing job of it. They cooked and cleaned and butchered chickens and milked the cows, and fielded phone calls and emails and visitors. I have such a wonderful sense of confidence in their abilities and adulthood. I want to make sure they get lots of downtime and rest now!

Our family and friends rallied around us, making us both feel loved and supported every minute of this little ordeal. DH had texts and phone calls every waking minute of his day, and we had lots of visitors, and gifts and food and flowers…

The hospital staff was wonderful, too. I can tell you right now, nurses don’t come close to making as much money as they’re worth!

So we just got home yesterday, and I find myself beginning to speculate on what this means for our family and farm. This has been a big change for us, and I suspect the changes have only just begun.

Please check out my friend Dave’s blog: Bear Pen Farm. He lives in Arkansas and, I suspect, has a LOT of interesting stories to tell!

It’s yet another dark and rainy day—which, along with uncommonly mild temperatures, has been the default for this winter. No, that’s not fair—there’ve been quite a few beautiful sunny days, too, but it really has felt like a dark, damp winter.

So today, stuck inside with the rain driving down outside, I have spent the day in the kitchen. We started with hashbrowns made from our russet potatoes that DH dug this morning, fried in lard from our neighbor’s pig. Those were pretty dang good. Then for a late lunch we had twice-baked potatoes with smoked sausage, also from our friends, and cheddar cheese. Wow, were those good! But now, being a little burned out on the (admittedly delicious) combination of potatoes and pork, I’m making homemade pop tarts, some chocolate, some blueberry.

Here’s hoping the sun comes out tomorrow.

Our neighbor brings us a generous bag of paw paws every year. I love them—it’s a magical thing, these tropical fruits that grow here in the mountains. These are the few that are left—we’ve been eating them alone, and putting them in smoothies. I hate to see the last of them—I’ll miss the way they perfume the entire house!

The girls and I stayed out quite late at a party last night—1:30 for me, 2:30 for them! Fortunately it was close enough to walk home from, though I must say that was a long dark walk at 1:30 in the morning, through the woods with no moon. The stars (once I got out into the open) were stunning, though—the sky was so clear it looked like winter!