Everyday Blessings and The Beauty of The Season

Did you ever enjoy a day so much, that you wish you could live it over & over again?

Well, for me, today is one of those days!

From the moment I got up, I feel like I have been enjoying a blessing “overload”.

I woke up with a thankful heart for my family, our home, and our life together. So after I took my daughter to work, I decided to go for a drive around our little village and take in the quiet beauty, and spend some time praying as we often do early in the morning. And today, like most days, I couldn’t help but be filled with gratitude for the many blessings in my life…especially the little things.

So many times people wait until they get some big answer to prayer to be thankful, but I have learned to be thankful & enjoy the smallest of blessings that I receive from the Lord. I often tell people that sometimes we just need to slow down a bit, so we can become aware of the beauty of the blessings all around us.

We have so many beautiful places around The Queen Village, and because I am particularly fond of the countryside, I decided that this morning, my drive of choice would take me around the rolling hills & country farms. And as I was coming around one particularly sharp curve, I noticed a larger black object up ahead, and knew I needed to slow down. As I got closer, I realized that the black object was a curious little calf that had somehow worked her way outside of the safety of the fence (just look at those lashes!).

Baby Calf

Thankfully, her momma was walking right beside her showing her the way back into the fold. I just couldn’t help but sit there and watch this little family working together to find a solution to their situation. It was truly beautiful to watch.

Momma Cow Helping Her Baby

With a heart now warmed from the love of mother & child, I was free to continue on my little journey. And as I came upon the next field, I spied a farmer who was already well underway with his harvest of field hay. And you know… there’s probably nothing quite as beautiful to a farmer than seeing his field dotted with bales of hay, and knowing that because of his hard work, all will be well throughout the winter months.

Farm Living - Hay Bales

The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and I was taking my time enjoying it all, as well as feeling a bit like Miss Daisy, except I was driving myself…which is why I was sure to pull over & let the 2 or 3 cars pass that were in a bigger hurry than I was 🙂

After I was finished with the morning drive, I was finally nearing the hill that would reveal the beginning of our country lane, which winds 750ft deep in the forest. And as much as I love to take in the beauty of the surrounding countryside, there’s nothing that warms the heart more than coming home.

As I started down the lane, through the almost blinding rays of sunlight that were now beaming through the forest, I saw a familiar little flicker of white.

Rays of morning sun

Sure enough, our little family of deer where already up and about, and the triplets where frolicking around in the tall grasses near the forest edge. We have a few different families of deer that share the forest with us year round, as well as several small herds that stop to nibble & drink as they are passing through. Almost every year we have a birth of twins in the spring, however, this year we also had a set of triplets…something we’ve never had the pleasure of seeing! I don’t think they even noticed me as I sat quietly watching. I watched until they were so tuckered out from playing, that they found a cozy spot under the trees to take an early morning nap.

Baby Deer

After catching up on some work in the office, I heard what sounded like someone walking down our front path, so I went to the window to see who it might be. There to my surprise, was a cast of characters like I haven’t seen yet this year! For no apparent reason other than for my enjoyment, the front forest was now the backdrop, and the front yard now the stage, for the theatrical production of “Nature Ah La Woodpecker”!

There were so many woodpeckers of all different varieties including 3 of the ever so majestic Pileated woodpeckers now performing on the large maple tree, and the 5 beautiful red belly woodpeckers doing their little song & dance right on the front walk! They were singing back and forth to each other, as they danced between the stones, stirring up the ants. Then, they would quickly eat to their little heart’s content. And the show wouldn’t be complete without the ever so tiny hummingbird Mr. Ruby Throat, who was flitting back & forth, showing his acrobatics on the phlox. The lyrical dance of the butterflies & dragonflies, the chipmunks in the center ring, and the accompanying chorus of other birds and insects made the show complete.

I just couldn’t stand it any longer, I had to go out & give my applause in person… but before I walked out the door, I grabbed my basket so I could gather a few tomatoes as I passed the kitchen garden.

Once the show was over, I took a walk through the back forest to see what might be happening there. The sunlight dancing on fern hill is always quite a sight to behold!

Fern Hill

No matter how many times I see them, I’m always amazed at the shear size & beauty of the forest trees. And this morning they looked particularly dashing standing there in the spotlight.

Forest Light

Others enjoy the trees with us…but for obviously different reasons 🙂

Woodpecker Hole

Now… just a few steps more and we’ll be at River’s Edge.

Rivers Edge

The water is low this time of year, which means I get to enjoy more of the river rocks, that usually lay quietly beneath the surface.

The River

After taking time to reflect at River’s Edge, I came up around the cottage garden. Over the years I’ve come to learn that every time of day highlights something different to enjoy, and in this early morning light, the roses & ivy certainly steal the show!

Cottage Garden in Morning Light

I can’t believe how they continue to display such beauty, even this late in the season.

Roses and Ivy

Now, with basket in hand, it’s off to the kitchen garden. We really enjoyed crafting the garden fence this spring, and it’s such a nice addition to our little place in the forest.

Garden Tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes have got to be my all time garden favorite! I love the way they look, the way the plants smell in the garden, and I especially love how delicious a fresh garden tomato tastes!

Ripe Tomatoes

With my basket now full, I didn’t have to think very long about what to make for brunch. With tomatoes like that, it has to be our family recipe of “Italian Toast” for me!

Italian Toast

Italian Toast

– Toast 2 slices of whole grain bread (your favorite bread will do)
– Slice 1-2 hearty tomatoes & lay on top of toast
– Sprinkle with shredded cheese – today I used aged provolone (our personal favorite)
– Give a dash of freshly cracked pepper, sea salt, and garlic powder
– Top it all off with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
– Put toast in the oven on a baking stone & broil until bubbly

All that’s left now is to enjoy your delicious masterpiece!

And those were just some of my little blessings before brunch! Who knows what wonders the rest of the days holds…perhaps one of these little sweeties sitting on the counter just waiting to be enjoyed 🙂

Pretty Cupcakes

Isn’t God a wonder! He just seems to go overboard with blessings for His children. So no matter how big or small, be sure to take some time to enjoy the ones He brings your way today!

Enjoy Millions of Butterflies in the Foothills of TN

Butterfly Hollow Farm

Can you imagine what it would be like to have millions of beautiful butterflies flying around you as you walk through the woods? David & Sharon Rasmussen can! They are the owners of Butterfly Hollow Farm, which is found in the foothills of Tennessee. I thought you’d like to peek into their wonderful little piece of heaven, and perhaps plan a visit to their B&B sometime soon!


Butterfly Hollow Farm – The Beginnings of a young couple who slowed down, changed lifestyles, bought an old abandoned farm and have found peace, love, happiness and good health in living a simpler life.

One spring day several years ago, the path Sharon and I were traveling led us to this country road and way of life. We followed it back into the end of a hollow and found an old abandoned farm and frame house, a couple leaning barns, and 85 acres of wild and overgrown forest, hills and pastures and somehow fell in love. We took a deep breath and a giant leap and have been blowing life back into Butterfly Hollow ever since!

Nestled in the foothills of Tennessee’s Cumberland Mountains lies a secluded and peaceful valley. Wind your way along the country road and meander beside the peaceful creeks and branches. You’ll find yourself drifting back in time to a state of mind that can only be found by being in places like these. As you travel down the one lane road that leads through this farming community you’ll see hillsides scattered with horses, cattle, goats, deer, and wild turkey. And if you look close enough you can also see the remnants of several old homesteads and fallen barns. It’s these bits of history that offer a window to the past, a place in time when life moved slower, family stayed closer, and land provided everything you needed to live a simple healthy life.

Read about our beginnings and the road signs that came up along our journey that turned us off the beaten path and onto the little gravel road that lead us up into Butterfly Hollow and a new way of living life.

See how the farm got it’s name and you won’t believe the pictures. Words and a snap shot just can’t come close to the feeling of standing among a million butterflies with at least 50 sitting on your head.

Butterfly found on Butterfly Hollow Farm

Our first major project on the farm was to restore the 1899 farmhouse into something livable again. Because of our changed lifestyle and small monthly budget, we knew we had to do most of the work ourselves and use recycled materials as much as possible. We took pictures along the way and have compiled our 4 year project into short stories about each segment of this major undertaking.

We keep journals and have included many stories about our daily adventures, from personal thoughts, the cattle roundups, and horse rides, to some poems, reflections, and a couple bad days.

Since our farm lies in the middle of a farming community, we naturally became part of a cooperative system and are getting more involved in the 300 head Beefalo operation and raising and training Paint Horses. There are sections for both of our furry hillside residents.

There is also a section for information on Preserving Farmland. This topic has become very important to us and we have created this section to help stimulate thought and concern about this important issue.

If after reading about the Butterfly Hollow beginnings, you feel a kindred spirit, realize you are on a similar path, or begin having visions of taking a similar adventure….. we would like to invite you to continue the journey further with us. The section on Sharing the Farm talks about our weekends from spring until autumn that we share the farmhouse and experience with friends.

These pages are windows into our continuing journeys here. They’re our simple attempt to share with other like minds the things we might have to offer, as well as connect us with those that can teach us and lead us further down the path. “Go with us” as we say here in the South.

– David & Sharon Rasmussen
Visit them at: http://butterflyhollowfarm.com