As recent transplants from a burgeoning small suburb of the greater Houston area, my family still revels in some of the simplest pleasures to be had out here in the quieter Piney Woods of East Texas. It has been a year of growth and transformation, but mostly an opportunity to take note of the small joys that arise from pure country living.
Watching my three girls gather and admire all of the mesmerizing flowers that dot the fields around us has been such a pleasure; they have all developed quite the eye for pairing wild grasses and unique foliage with stunning flower combinations to brighten my kitchen sink. Noticing all of the unusual and striking butterflies that they draw are an added bonus. Plus, the boys even remember to bring the occasional handpicked bouquet home to plunk into a glass in exchange for some of my homemade cookies!
Watching the Stars at Night
Just escaping some of the noise and congestion that surround the big city has been pleasant, but watching the vivid sunsets and seeing the moon peek through our windows at night has truly been magical!
I have quickly acquired a loyal following among our flying friends surrounding the house, by making sure my feeders and bird baths always have fresh water and food. We have been tickled to see a large variety of blue birds, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, robins, and my new favorite: the indigo bunting! It is a treat at night, to watch the birds come and go as we eat dinner or admire the flocks of sparrows that look like leaves tumbling across the yard as they pass through in the winter.
Kayaking in the Backyard
My kids are becoming well versed in the woods, but this was a true novelty this year. The creek rose to make a lake of the back yard, which was the perfect place to hone our kayaking skills in shallow water. How interesting to skim across our normal trails in a boat instead of hiking or riding!
Target Practice off the Back Porch
Watching my boys and girls practice their marksmanship has truly been fascinating! They impress me with the skill and knowledge they already possess as responsible outdoorsmen (and women), and it was such a treat to see that work pay off when my oldest boy shot his first spike this year.
Playing in the Water Sprinkler
We were worried we would miss the public swimming pool when we left the suburbs, but some ingenuity and a long water hose has produced our first slip-n-side just in time for the hottest stretch of summer. Takes me back to my childhood!
Mud puddles, sandy creeks, mountains of dirt…these are the things little boys (and girls) are made of in our family! Luckily, Daddy upgraded my washer when we moved to keep up with the piles of dirty clothes.
All of my kids have loved and learned from the babies we have raised this year. It is amazing to watch how fast young animals grow, and it is a terrific opportunity to learn some responsibility and work ethic.
Growing Our Own Veggies
There is nothing like enjoying the fruits of your own labor, and my youngest two tackled the job of gardening with gusto! Keeping tallies on production, alerting us to new pests, and picking the harvest each day, they have amazed me with their enthusiasm and knowledge. Nothing like the hope of a little zucchini bread to make farmers out of all of us!
Closer to the Fishing Hole
By far one of the sweetest rewards of moving further out of town has been being closer to our favorite fishing holes and state parks! With the woods right in your own backyard, it is so much easier to enjoy all of the beauty that the outdoors has to offer.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,
to front only the essential facts of life,
and see if I could not learn what it had to teach,
and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
~ Henry David Thoreau ~