Wintertime is here. So far, it has been a mild one. Any snow that accumulates seems to melt in a hurry. The other day we had record high temperatures: 61 degrees in January. As Farmer Tom remarked, “it’s almost enough to give a guy spring fever!” Maybe February will come through and deliver a big storm that will snow us in like the good old days. Then we could really settle down and look at all these seed and garden catalogs that show up this time of year (we still have a bunch from last year.) Some of the flowers I grow are sentimental selections in that they remind me of my favorite people: irises and roses for my mother, four o’ clocks for my husband, lilacs for our son in Maine, and impatiens for our daughter Vicki. This year I am looking to add more roses to the flower garden for I have concluded our granddaughter Desireé is a rose.
Our little rosebud is beginning to bloom. It was this summer, when we first heard our “Lizzi” begin telling the guests, “my name is Desireé.” Initially, the meaning of this didn’t sink in, but nevertheless it was timely. After all, before the snow would fall, she would be 12. On the November day when Desireé’s height was measured onto her growth tape, it was discovered that she had grown 4 whole inches! And there are other changes: she wants to wear her hair long and prefers stylish clothes and shoes. There is no denying it, Desireé is about to turn the corner into her teenage years.
As grandparents, we tend to keep looking back on the little girl we knew as “Lizzi.” We remember her learning to walk at only 9 months old. Soon she was gleefully chasing startled chickens and fearlessly running after leggy calves. With tiny boots, dusty sneakers and pink tootsies she has stepped in her fair share of barnyard “pies.” She became the barnyard animal expert.
Desireé could be depended upon to know the exact count of newborn lambs, kid goats, and mother hens with chicks. She knew who was born to whom and how old they were at the moment. She instinctively knew the names of the calves and other barnyard citizens. An expert corn sheller and egg gatherer she soon began to lead the farm chores. In a display of her mastery of goat milking, she could deftly squirt a stream of milk into the happy mouths of gathered farm cats. (She does such a great job at milking a goat, that we are seriously considering having a milking goat again included in the chores.)
Of all the animals she loves, she is most definitely a horse girl (just like her momma.) At an alarmingly early age, she was comfortable in the saddle and was often riding without her mom at the reins. We’re talking so young that her legs had a long way to go to reach the stirrups! However when they did, she had long since graduated to riding bareback with the wind in her wavy red hair. She and Shadow the horse… well, it was difficult to say who was whose shadow.
Desireé has made lots of friends with the visiting children. When guests arrived this little ambassador to the farm and Eli [the Dalmatian] would hurry to see if there were any kids who would like to see what the farm was all about. Who knew there was so much fun to be had and games to play, along with a bit of trouble to dip into?
In summertime Desireé grew flippers on her feet. She was like a little mermaid as she swam laps with the fish and organized water games. If children didn’t know how to swim, it wasn’t an issue; she would show them how to swim. She truly loved to share the fun. An easy-going manner and a sweet disposition won over many a guest. If there was a camera, she was most certainly in front of it. If there were a barnyard critter nearby, she would drag it into the picture too! We don’t know how many pictures taken on the farm don’t feature Desireé, but that number is surely low.
Desireé is now on the farm payroll earning her keep doing meaningful work. She often leads the chores and sometimes takes her turn as receptionist carefully writing out messages when people call the bed and breakfast. She is still a bit of a tomboy although she can be caught peeling her several layers of nail polish while musing over the name of a new animal.
Farmer Tom is sad to have his granddaughter outgrow her nickname “Lizzi.” It was he who slipped in the name like it had always been there. He had a beloved granny named Lizzy. I admit that I liked the name an awful lot and conspired to make it stick to baby Desireé. Together, she and I were a “Bizzi-Lizzi.” We’ve all had a lot of fun with the nickname and have become so used to calling her by it that Lizzi occasionally slips when we mean to say Desireé. We can only apologize; we love her so much. We all wish she could forever be our little farm girl, but also know that children cannot stay bottled up. It is time for the rosebud to do her thing.
Well, it seems we’ve done it again… created yet another nickname by referring to her as “the rosebud.” However, her middle name is Rosalyn, thus it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch (right Desireé?)
Till next time, yours naturally,
Farmist Biz Fogie