2004 letters

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 Christmas 2004

Well the holiday season is almost upon us, and as we put up the decorations and think of roast turkey with all the trimmings, we reflect also on the gift that we were given so long ago. It is sometimes easy amidst the festivities, to forget that Jesus is the "reason for the season". He came into this world to die on the cross and give all who seek Him, the gift of forgiveness and eternal life. It truly was, the greatest gift of all.

We as a family, are thankful for many things, we have been blessed in so many ways. It is a time also to think of family and friends, and ours are scattered far and wide. My family in England and Toronto, Randy's out in British Columbia, and our dear friends in many different places, are in our thoughts and prayers, if not actually here with us. We miss you all...

With 2004 coming to a close, it is hard to believe that another year has come and gone already. It has been such a busy one as well, especially with the building of our new 36' X 72' hay barn this summer, by a group of Amish builders. Watching the barn take shape was a truly amazing thing. 

Each year seems to fly by now, and as we play the Christmas carols, unwrapping and hanging the ornaments on our trees, we think back through the years of memories that are attached to them. Christmas ornaments have long been a passion of mine, partly because we love this time of year, and partly perhaps, because wherever we have lived through the years, through Randy's postings with the military, they have represented the continuity of our home together, regardless of where that home has been each year. Familiar things, some going back to the family tree when I was a child, some purchased in the different places we have lived, some hand made, by the children, by us, by friends...each and every one a treasured memory.  It is always with sadness that I pack them away each New Year, but then the joy and excitement are fresh as ever once again each December. (well actually November - I can never wait that long!)  Traditions for us at this time of year are many, from always for some reason asking poor Randy to hang the outdoor Christmas lights on the coldest, snowiest day, (he is an extremely patient man) to fresh Croissants, turnovers and orange juice for Christmas morning breakfast. (after the kids have devoured a ton of chocolate!) The animals enjoy treats at this time of year also, and even they sometimes bring traditions with them! We can thank Taz, my old riding horse who has now passed on, for bringing with him the tradition of Christmas morning candy canes for all the horses! The barns on Christmas morning are a wonderful place to be as we do the chores and pass out the treats, remembering that "a stable is not just a stable, it is also the birthplace of our Lord Jesus Christ!"

 We are about to celebrate our tenth Christmas here at Treherne Farm. The children are not so small anymore, the number of animals has grown too, and the big tree sags a bit more each year with the weight of all our "memories". We wish you and your family much happiness, and many blessings this Christmas season, and always!

  Merry Christmas! 

 Rebecca, Randy, Erinn, Jordan, Jessica, Morgan, and Mike Ashworth

 Autumn 2004.

The days are growing shorter, and there is a definite chill in the air. The beautiful fall colours have faded, and as the trees shed their leaves, we too are preparing for the long cold  months ahead. Katie the cow has come home from summer pasture, the horses and other animals have grown thick warm coats, the peafowl and Truffles the potbellied pig have moved inside to their winter quarters, and the dogs are more and more reluctant to linger in the cold when let outside. Even the goats appear grateful when we close the doors against the chilly outdoors, preferring now to snuggle down inside the barn rather than play outside. We still see the goldfish and koi sunning themselves at the surface of the pond on occasion, but the water is too cold to be feeding them now, and before long we will cover the pond, with a pump keeping part of the surface bubbling and free of ice. We have already had the first wet snow, and will soon be putting heaters in the water troughs, and brushing off snowy horses when they come in at night. I often wonder what new horses think when they come here, if they have come from a milder climate. After many delays, including a transport cancellation due to the terrible hurricanes down south, our Dell Teras mare and her colt will finally be here in November (Thanks for your endless patience Karen and Audie, it's only been months and months, LOL) and though the North Carolina winters can be cool, they could not compare with the cold and snow that they will experience here. The horses seem to adjust quickly however, and enjoy racing and kicking up their heels in the white stuff. 

The last of the foals are being weaned now, with Dolly Llama keeping a watchful eye on the weanlings and yearlings, and though we are not yet certain how many of the mares are in foal, we anticipate some beautiful babies next spring. It will be an even longer winter waiting to see them. The stallions will be put into one field together at the end of October, to enjoy each others companionship until spring, which also makes chores easier for awhile. One water trough for all the boys, and one huge pile of hay at feeding time.

While we are sorry to see the last of the warm days for awhile, we are as always, amazed at the beauty of the changing seasons. I can't say we enjoy the shoveling, but there is something so very beautiful about the sparkling of fresh snow in sunlight, and a silent and spotless white blanket over everything. With the earth sleeping snugly beneath it, we here at Treherne farm will settle in and wait for spring to come around again. Blessings to you.