Whatever happened to ol’ Bernie?

November 29, 2006 at 5:28 pm | Posted in country living, dating, faith, family, free knitting patterns, humor, Knit Alongs, knit-a-long, knitting, love, Thanksgiving, yarn | 19 Comments

Barn of the HorsearseBack in the summer, on our way back from church one Sunday morning, we stopped up the road a bit so I could shoot a photograph of a nice old barn I admired. I got the shot I wanted, but as we pulled away I caught sight of a second, smaller barn that was back a bit behind the first one. The second barn had boards falling out of it, and light spilled in from the back side wall, lighting the little barn up from within.

Standing near the door, and with only his rump and hind legs showing, was an old sway-backed white and grey horse. The lighting was perfect for lighting up his rump … and I thought to myself, “That’s the shot!”

But alas, I did not say anything to my husband who would have gladly stopped and gone back for me to capture the moment. The next week I made sure to take the camera with me, hoping to see the shot again. It didn’t happen. For weeks afterwards, anytime we went that way I took the camera along and looked for the shot, but the horse was never standing right there at a time when the barn was lit just that way again.

Fireflys Post Thanksgiving Photo OpsMy husband and I have shared a number of jokes about what to call the shot if I ever get it. I would actually like to make a watercolor painting of it. My final conclusion is that the horse wants my attention and he gets it as long as he fails to provide me with the shot I am looking for. He is guaranteed, as long as he doesn’t stand just that way in just that light, that I will look for him and look at him whenever we drive by as long as we both shall live.

I’m cool with that. I have come to feel very fond of the sweet old sway backed horse. He has a cow for a friend and a good sized flock of geese. Those geese will often stand milling about in the road early in the morning. As we approach in our truck they just stand there gabbing and looking us up and down. They are quite reluctant to budge although they usually do waddle away complaining loudly as they turn their backs and step aside after bringing us pretty much to a complete halt.

Perhaps they just want some attention as well.

There was a turkey walking amongst them for a while, but I believe he is elsewhere now. Oh well, such is the life of a turkey I suppose.

Fireflys Post Thanksgiving Photo Ops 2My grandmother on my father’s side (we called her “Granny”) had a goose named Bernie on her farm when I was a little girl. He was a big, white goose with a strange sense of humor and a bit too much mischief for my taste at the time. For some reason he liked chasing me through the rows in her garden, nibbling at the buttons of my coat and pecking peevishly at my legs. I have a vivid recollection on one sunny autumn day of me running back and forth amidst the rows with the goose chasing after me while Granny chatted amiably with someone in the garden, seemingly completely undisturbed by my anguished flight back and forth through the rows.

Bernie was also mischievious with my grandmother’s pigs. He would get in the pig pen with them and chase them around, annoying them no end I am certain. His favorite antic was to grab a hold of a pig by its squiggly tail and then run along behind the pig flapping his wings and lifting off a bit as the pig ran squealing all around the pig pen.


One Thanksgiving Granny went out to feed the pigs and found clumps of feathers and Bernie’s beak in the pig pen. Horrible though it is to think of, the pigs evidently had a Thanksgiving day feast that morning at Bernie’s expense and the feathers and beak were all that remained of our mutual tormenter.

Oh Bernie. You were a pretty goose, despite being an annoying tease. You frightened me, but I have never forgotten you, you old goose.

The moral of this little story: Don’t go messing with a gang of pigs on major holidays. Evidently they have their own way of dealing with lawlessness and it ain’t pretty.

I mentioned in Monday’s post my husband took me out on a drive late in the afternoon this past Saturday to see if we could find some photo ops. Our first stop was the Barn of Horsearse (as we sometimes refer to the barn I described above). We also shot a couple of red barns glowing in the golden hour light. I have such a thing for barns.

I love going out shooting photos with my husband. He lets me use his wonderful Nikon digital camera: even though he is as much of a photographer as I am, he is happy to be the driver when we go on a shoot. I can ask him to stop anywhere, go back to any point, turn this way and that with the vechicle, wait for me while I take twenty shots of the same thing … and never a complaint. He seems quite happy to offer that kind of support to my artistic habit.

Did I mention I love him?

I think back to when he and I first met … he sent that email to me on January 29th of this year. By the weekend after Valentine’s day we were talking on the phone for the first time, and by the first week of March we were already making plans for our wedding to be the last weekend or so of April. At that time, we still had not met face to face.

Fireflys Hand Knit Blue Boa for a Little GirlI was speaking with him about it again a few days ago and told him that though it seems like such a “leap” of faith we made back then, the truth is it wasn’t a leap at all. It was definitely faith. But, a faith so strong and secure there was no “leap” involved. It was sound judgement on my part and on his to act on faith of that character.

I’m so glad we did.

What does faith mean to you? I mean faith itself, faith in yourself and in what you know and see whether it relates specifically to your relationship with God or not. I am interested in knowing more about you.

See that bright blue bit of fluff in the photo with the teddy bear? I am knitting a “boa” for my husband’s nephew’s little three year old girl. She loves to play dress up. My husband wanted us to give her a little something extra along with the bigger toy we ordered for her, so I offered to knit up a boa. It is a cute little pattern I devised using this incredibly soft polymide fiber. I’ll post yarn info and directions on Friday. It’s a quick one-evening knit, so there is still time to make one for a special little girl you know.

Have a beautiful day.



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  1. When my dad was a child in Sweden, living in a rural area, there was a flock of geese he had to pass by to go to school. Said geese would invariably chase him.

    To this day his favorite holiday dinner is roast goose. He’s spent close to 70 years getting back at that flock. πŸ˜‰

  2. Thanks for the fun story about the barn, the horse, and Bernie.
    May your day be filled with sweet memories and thoughts of a wonderful future!
    Love, Mom

  3. I love it when my Mama comments on my blog. Thanks Mom!


  4. Love your barn photos. Bernie was quite the goose. As you probably know, they make very good ‘guards’ for a farm.
    Faith – I think it is closely aligned with hope! Finally after 66 years of living, I have a lot of faith in the person I have become and I know I can rely on ME!! I always can find the silver lining in the dark clouds. Maybe that is why I have survived breast cancer for 10 years!
    Enjoy your stories from the farm and your happy new life!

  5. Awww Poor Bernie! What a great idea for furry yarn! I have a young niece….time though? Maybe…An interesting question about faith. For me, faith is wholeheartedly believing in something even when there is no proof whatsoever that it exists. Faith in a person is unconditional trust.

  6. Loved the story of Bernie the Goose. I still feel sorry for him even if he did taunt the pigs…and you!

    Loved the barn photos; love the light in each one of them.

  7. Not sure what you consider upstate, but I am from Wilmington, near Lake Placid, and there is the most awesome barn ever on a little back road I can direct you toward if you are ever out that way for a drive.

  8. We had geese and ducks when we were kids. They were mean. One day it started to hail really hard and the things all ran for one corner of the coop and piled on top of each other. Needless to say, only one of them survived the hailstorm. The one in the middle of the pile.

    Faith is knowing that you will manage no matter what God sends your way because you have survived quite a bit of what you managed to bring your way in the past.

  9. Geese are such persnickety things. I had to chuckle when reading about Bernie’s demise.

    Okay, is it my gutter brain or did anyone else have “fuzzy handcuffs?” pop into their head when first glancing at the boa pic? Must be me.

    I am sure your niece will love the boa. I have an almost 4yo niece and she is quite girlie and would just be in awe of a boa, let alone one that her auntie knitted for her.

    Love the barn pics! It has been a dream of mine to transform a barn into a house someday.

  10. Faith, hmmmm there are no words than can define the expereinces involving faith. I think you had that day at the sink what for me was the moment I walked in to my closet 23 years ago. An acknowlegement is what I called it. It could be called a knowing I suppose. You just simply know and you know it has been verified by (well I believe God). And the sad thing is you cannot make it happen. It just does and usually through great desire or struggle comes well my word an acknowlegement of what will be. You never doubt it because you know. I wish you would not publish this for those who have not known this wonder will never understand. I will not read this or fix it up for I have learned that I would feel to foolish and not submit.

  11. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I’ve enjoyed returning a visit and really like your blog. Your story of Bernie reminds me of the goose who used to chase my mother when she was a little girl. Bernie sounds as though he had lots of personality!

    Faith to me is Trust. Not trust in myself, my strengths, or my abilities, nor in the others. It is trust in my Creator and that He is who and what He says He is. And that He cares about us and for us. In fact, He cares so deeply that He would rather die than live without us.

    There is a lot of rest in Faith. It means that I don’t have to figure everything out from myself, I just have to trust that all things are working together for good, no matter what my feelings and circumstances say.

    Faith is one thing I can’t live without.

  12. Hey there blog of the day!!! Congratulations.

  13. Blog of the day – how fun is that?!?

    Faith to me is knowing that there is going to be dinner on the table tonight, heat from the furnace when it’s cold, light at the end of the tunnel – all things I didn’t have at one point in my life. It goes so much deeper than that, but it’s something that needs more time to think about (and which I will do – thanks for the poke).

  14. I read your entry yesterday and decided instead of writing a quick response I’d think on it. I think Faith is trusting & believing in what we can’t see and what we can’t touch, for me it is knowing that I have a Savior, in Jesus Christ. I can’t see Him or touch Him but He is always there for me when I’m happy, sad, confused, worried whatever it might be.

    Thank you for writing to us, I was able to use your toilet story yesterday. The toilet at work overflowed, not fun, but I was able to share with a friend as we cleaned up the mess that we can at least be thankful we have a job!

    Have a great day! It is rainy here in Indy today and the temperature will be dropping. I wish I could just sit and knit today!


  15. I had such a fear of geese and swans when I was a little girl living in rural England. It stemmed from an incident on the banks of the river Ray when a swan protecting it’s brood came flapping up and my dad and I. Swans have a pretty big wing span and can cause a person quite a bit of damage if they choose to do so, and this big white flapping honking monstrosity really frightened me. Dad picked me up and ran with me and evidently the swan was satisfied with that because it went about it’s business on the river.
    Dad died this past July, and I miss him.

    Faith to me is a feeling I get when I’m doing something that destiny is intending me to do. Like marrying my husband after 4 months of dating, for instance. We have had some awfully rough times in our marriage (he’s in the military and deploys a LOT), but even at our lowest, worst point I had faith that I was supposed to be married to him. It’s the feeling I got when I decided to work for a local hospice, and it’s the feeling I get every single time I got and sit with someone who is dying. I KNOW that hospice is where I’m supposed to be, I KNOW that helping people die is what I’m supposed to be doing….I KNOW that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Sometimes my faith leads me to be in some very odd places doing some peculiar things, but eventually the universe reveals to me the reasons for my being in those places and doing those things. Nothing happens by chance, Firefly….but I think that you already know that. πŸ™‚

    I wish that I could begin to tell you just how much I enjoy your blog, but alas, I am far too clumsy with words to do my feelings any justice at all. So, I’ll just say that I anticipate each new entry and am joyful when I find that you’ve written something new. You are a beautiful person and you absolutely deserve the happiness you’re experiencing now. Namaste….

  16. I’ve been thinking about your latest question for two days. What does faith mean to me? I thought I knew. I thought it meant a total reliance on God, my daily prayer to give my life , my thoughts and my will over to him. There is a releif in that.

    But I’m looking further at your question. Faith in myself? that denotes a decision of sorts. Maybe to be completely open to every moment, experience, person. I don’t have that kind of faith. I have met those who have it. Have you seen Defending your Life?

  17. I’m still scared of chickens because I was attacked by a rooster as a child. As for your question about Faith, you’ve given me something to think about today.

  18. faith. like some of the people who have delved into that portion of your blog, I too, think that it’s a belief, it’s a feeling, it’s a knowing, and it’s trust. Do I think it has to do with a higher power (because there are some of us who don’t believe in one-though I am not that person!)? I do. It’s hard to put it into words and I think for everyone it means or signifies something different.
    You know what-my fiance is the same way-when we had time to just drive all around Los Angeles, I’d often comment on how I wish I had brought my camera and the times that I did, he would gladly stop and let me shoot photos. It’s the little things, isn’t it. πŸ™‚

  19. Awwww, poor Bernie. 😦

    One aspect of faith for me (and there are many) that stands out is trusting myself. This is not the same as just acting on what I want; in fact, sometimes it is the opposite. There was a distinct incident in which I learned this.

    A number of years ago (pre-kids) my husband and I drove from AZ to southwestern CO for a ski trip. We were short on funds, so we did things as cheaply as possible…ate cheap, stayed in a cheap inn 30 miles from the ski resort, etc. Something told me not to go, but I ignored that feeling, even though it surfaced several times as I prepared to go. I didn’t want to disappoint my husband, and hey, I wanted to go, too!

    The first couple of days of the trip were lovely. However, on the 3rd day, the clutch in our car started to go. My dad had once told me how to drive a manual car without a clutch, although I had never personally tried it. What I didn’t know is this is nearly impossible with most modern passenger cars (he was speaking of the 60s-era muscle cars that he used to drag race before I was born πŸ™‚ ). We tried it anyway, and ended up losing a gear in our transmission (this on a dangerous icy pass on the way to the ski resort). We decided to cut our trip short and go home. We didn’t make it…the transmission completely quit on us. There are more details to the story, but the end result is we spent enough money to go on a ski trip to Switzerland just to get home and get our car repaired. Luckily we were ok, had credit, and had the means to pay off the debt we incurred. As we reflected on the trip, I learned that my husband had the same feelings that I did before the trip that we shouldn’t go, but like me, he didn’t want to disappoint me and kept quiet. We both agreed right then and there, that if either of us ever had a feeling like that again, that we would say so and act on it, with no questions asked by the other person. We have done that a couple of times…I believe those times God is speaking to us; we just had to learn to listen.

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