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We had to hobble our goats. They’d figured out how to climb over the snow banks and jump the fence, and once they’d tasted freedom, they were sold on it.

We’d see them in the yard and the boys would go out and chase them back across the snow banks. But once they started getting on the highway, we had to do something more drastic.

Let’s just say duct tape was involved.

It was hard for me to watch the hobble-y ones at first. They stumbled and hopped awkwardly and they bellowed that weird, otherworldly goat bellow.

But you know, it didn’t take long before they were able to get around quite well. Not like goats are supposed to be, but they adapted, and they were safe.

There’s a pile of sermon-y life lessons in there. I’ll let you find your own.

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It’s all the Fall adjectives this morning: crisp, fresh, cool. I take James Taylor with me to the barn and he sings about walking on country roads and friends and sweet babies while the goats and I milk and visit. My husband reaches down to fill a watering pail from the trough, and Matilda leaps gracefully from the fence to his back. Feline ballet. He scolds her but lets her ride. We walk back to the house together, man and me, trailing goats and chickens behind us.

It’s a good beginning.

May you have good beginnings, middles, and ends this weekend, Friends. May your days be warmed by surprise visits. May your families be fed and cared for, and may your weekend walks be accompanied by love and good music.

May you be blessed.

This is Snowflake. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve had to help her get her head unstuck from the fence. Lately, it’s been every single morning. From the same spot in the fence. And, the grass isn’t even any greener on the other side!

What’s up, Snowflake?

I wonder if God laughs at me the way I laugh at Snowflake? I wonder if he thinks, look at her, why won’t she learn? Why does she keep making the same mistakes, over and over? Why does she push and push until she’s so tangled she can’t move and has no choice but to wait for me to help her?

Maybe it’s a Garden of Eden thing. A leftover yearning for the thing that seems better. Even if what I have is already pretty great.

I do know that after twisting and turning and pushing and grunting, after Snowflake is freed, she stands and pees for, like, ten minutes.

What relief freedom brings!