Inside: Early winter snow, our top ten posts of 2017, and one resilient chicken.
Early Winter Snow
Missouri winters are hard to predict. I’ve seen enough of them to know. Snow seemed deeper and more fun through my child eyes. Irritating and more work when we milked cows in my young to middle life years. Beautiful now, provided my loved ones don’t have to drive in it.
Life was busy when the first snow arrived–writing a 12-post series will do that to a person. And that first snow melted right away. Thus the second snow of the season, which came down in large clumpy flakes at times, was the perfect candidate. It clung to trees, underlining limbs in white–stuck around awhile, through Christmas, and it’s still around in shadowy places that don’t get much sun this time of year.
Snow is like that, can be uncomfortably cold and unwelcome. Unappreciated. But it’s part of what makes winter winter.
If anything, it’s perfect preparation for spring.
Our Top Ten Posts for 2017
A Rural Girl Writes has been around for nine months now, and with 2017 coming to a close, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the most popular posts. It might surprise you that a guest post took not only the top spot but also the fourth and sixth. Also, both interviews faired well, placing among the ten most viewed posts. I plan to do more of these in 2018.
What I didn’t include in the list were individual static pages. For example, what got the most page views was the “Home” page by far, and many readers read posts just published (or recently published) there rather than being referred by social media or an internet search. The “About Me” page did well, as it does on most websites, because visitors want to see the voice behind the posts. So, basically, this list reflects shared posts on social media, promoted pins on Pinterest, and search engine referrals. Without further fanfare, here is the top ten list in descending order.
10) Gardening Advice from a Thirty-year Greenhouse Veteran. Mom’s interview with some great gardening advice!
9) Bucking Bales: A Family Tradition. A favorite post of mine. The picture my sister-in-law Lisa took got pinned on Pinterest, so this post with creative picture is getting the attention it deserves.
8) Finding my Pace: Slowing Down to Enjoy Life. Another favorite post of mine. This one seemed to resonate with people.
7) A Rural Girl’s Favorite Things Christmas Gift Guide. A promoted pin on Pinterest–which means paid advertising.
6) How to Dry Herbs. Mom’s how-to on herbs. Good information.
5) Remembering Dad. A tribute to my dad. Many people who care about my family read the tribute. Thank you for honoring him by visiting the post.
4) Backyard Bird Feeding 101. A post by my writer friend Patsy Reiter. Good how-to advice for newbie bird enthusiasts.
3) The Story of the Hillbilly Christmas Wreath. My favorite seasonal post. Thank you for spreading the joy with us!
2) Get Started with Essential Oils: Advice from an EO Teacher. My interview with Cindy Cappel with solid advice for those learning the basics about essential oils.
1) Best Time of the Day. An essay by Patsy Reiter talking about her morning routine. And a great way to start the day!
If you didn’t see your favorite on the list, may I ask a little favor? Going forward, if you read something here that particularly resonates with you, will you share it with other like-minded friends or on social media?
Now is a good time to say a huge thank-you to those of you who have done just that or left comments here. I appreciate your support very much! I look forward to writing more helpful, fun, encouraging posts next year as well as finding some wonderful guest posters you’ll enjoy. And if I can serve you better in some way, please let me know either in the comments or privately: email@example.com.
One Resilient Chicken
Walking between my home and Mom’s after a fun but energy-challenging nephew babysitting day, I headed up to the farm to feed the chickens. When it’s in the single digits and you live on a farm, you worry a little about temperatures plummeting and animals being safely tucked in for the night. I said a quick prayer, asking God to take care of all the people and animals that live on the farm, despite the cold weather.
In the waning light of late afternoon, I got out the day’s portion of pellets and cracked corn and headed inside the pen. I did a head count–ten hens and one rooster. Uh oh! I counted again. And again. Five times before coming to terms with the fact that we were missing one of the chickens. I searched the feeding area, behind a shovel in the corner, around the nesting boxes and the perimeter of the pen. Nothing. I looked behind the wooden planks that stood out from the wall about eight inches, but it was difficult to see. Still, I didn’t see or hear anything. My heart sank a little. You never make your peace with death on a farm. The chickens started heading for their area to roost, so I figured I’d be able to search in the light of day for the poor little hen since I no longer had any light.
The next day it was my turn to feed the chickens, so I headed there earlier, dreading the dead chicken search. I scattered their corn and birdseed and, lo and behold, I heard a soft clucking from behind the nesting boxes. One of the black chickens was between the wall and the wooden planks lining it. I had to find a bucket to stand on to be able to reach her, and she fought my attempt to grab her, but once out, she hurried off to the feed and seemed no worse for the experience!
Totally made my day! Thank God for His faithfulness in great things and small–like a little black chicken caught between a plank and a wall. And His ear bent down to hear a quick prayer from a woman on a farm somewhere in the Midwest–His child and a place He holds in the palm of His hand.
Did you have a great Christmas? Tell us about it in the comments.
Tomorrow: Taking Inventory of 2017