Much to our delight, Don’s sister Debbie visited us over the weekend. Not surprisingly, things got rather gooberific here when the herd discovered Deb had brought freshly baked Paco treats with her.

They certainly have mastered their goober faces now, haven’t they?

From left to right: Ellsworth, Bernard, Nigel, Grace, Buck, Patrick.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Don’s sister Debbie came to visit us over the weekend. I haven’t blogged for a while, and she graciously agreed to be our very first guest blogger. Thanks Deb!

At the beginning of my visit with Don and Justina, I was bribed early on to pick up the blog and give my perspective on the weekend. My mind experienced a “twist” over that request because generally speaking, my visits with them have always been pure magic, in a personal way. This is my family. They love me without question, and that is a cherished feeling. I’ll do pretty much anything they ask, so here we go…

We started the weekend with immediate cheers to being together again, and headed down to the barn to say hello to my larger nieces and nephews. Donkey greetings are always a highlight because whenever Don or Justina get within range of sight, the boyz and girlz are nearly bursting with joy. There was so much excitement that we took Bernard and Ellsworth for a walk down a lovely quiet trail. I took some of the first pictures on this walk, that opened up to a large field with breathtaking views as the backdrop.

Bernard and Ellsworth

It was a quick walk because we were on a deadline to see the Virginia Military Institute dress parade happening that afternoon. Bernard and Ellsworth were safely tucked away, the Moo was secured, and we took off for downtown Lexington.

Meggie Moo

If you’ve never witnessed a dress parade, understand that the process is amazing to both see and feel. The uniforms are sharp. Actions are precise and with purpose.

Virginia Military Institute

Feeling pride in your country is hard to avoid as you pay respect to our great flag and nation. There is no better country than the United States of America.

Dress parade

Upon returning home, Don decided it would be awesome to have me touch the electric fence. Generally speaking, I’d like to think I am smarter than this. Unfortunately, my love for family and trust for my brother brings out the stupid in me. He knows this and continues to trick his little sister without mercy. Note in the photo that Don is touching the fence. I inspected him carefully. He wasn’t sweating. He wasn’t twitching. He was very matter of fact that it was no big deal.  So, okay, I’ll touch the fence.  Had Justina said ANYTHING at this point it would have been helpful. She opted to stay in the barn and snicker quietly. If any of you visit, don’t fall for this. My howling in pain sent the donkeys racing halfway up the hill. Don giggled like a school girl.


Harriet was not pleased.


My favorite spot on the farm is the gazebo.


We spent most of the weekend here, blazing a trail to the fridge and back. The dogs visit at will, donkeys are visible, and we can watch moo wander around.


There is something about sitting there, hearing the breeze flow over the hill, birds chirping along with the wind chimes, and listening to music about popping tops and fried chicken that let you know you’re doing life right.

Another fine weekend at Morning Bray Farm. I’m feeling blessed.

Don and Deb

Deb and Justina


While Don’s sister Debbie was here for a visit last weekend, we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood. We saw llamas:

And sheep:

And cows:

And horses, and goats, and chickens…

We were footloose and fancy-free until we showed up at our second herd of llamas. This llama was very unhappy with our arrival and made sure to tell us by growling and showing us his teeth. I had never seen this behavior before:

I’m sure it had everything to do with this:

We got really worried when we saw this though:

Our friend Danni at Critter Farm once warned us what happens when a llama pins its ears back. It’s not meant to be pretty.

Since we weren’t sure after the fact that we interpreted the llama drama correctly, I consulted with Danni. Here’s what she wrote back:

Ok, here’s what I can tell you about this photo.  One llama has ears upright and forward facing…a sign of being interested, curious, and not at all on the defensive.  The second llama with the ears flat is concerned about something, but isn’t yet ready to spit.  Generally, there are two phases to spitting and there are definite warning signs:  1) the ears go back and 2) the head goes up.  Most llamas really do try to threaten or warn their adversaries that they are about to make a serious move prior to spitting.  I don’t think this guy was quite yet ready to spew.  For one thing, it’s quite a commitment. It is smelly, nasty stuff that comes out of their mouths.  Once they spit, they generally have to stand around for a while, jaws hanging open, trying to air their mouths out.  🙂

Daddy llama was simply doing a very good job of protecting his baby:

While at the same time being very courteous by withholding his spit:

Thanks for keeping your head down, Baby Daddy. 

And thanks for educating us, Danni. ♥

We wrapped up a wonderful visit yesterday with Don’s sister, Debbie.

From the moment she arrived, she dug in to help with chores around Morning Bray Farm.

The first morning she was here, Debbie and I hung out in the corral waiting for presents from all the boys.

For the record, two hours is a long time to wait for a donkey to poo.

You know you have an awesome sister-in-law when she’s willing to ride in the car on the way to the vet with five bags of donkey poo in the back seat.

On Sunday afternoon, Debbie taught us how to make margaritas from scratch.

That was serious fun.

She spent a lot of time talking with the boys.

And loving on Nigel.

We even did some sightseeing.

Debbie is one of the loveliest people I know and having her here was a gift. So much so, it felt like Christmas in July here.

Speaking of Christmas, Debbie discovered a new meaning for it during her visit. Christmas in New Mexico also means both red and green chile on your breakfast burrito.



We just wrapped up a wonderful visit with Don’s sister, Debbie, and her boyfriend, Derek. Great family, great food and great fun made for a fantastic couple of days.

Debbie was smitten with Nigel, and Nigel with Debbie.

They spent a lot of time together, which was wonderful for Nigel.

Not to worry, though. There was plenty of love, attention and affection for everyone.

Ellsworth and his Aunt Debbie shared some laughs.

Debbie was so at ease with the boys. They knew they had it good with her here visiting. She’s a beautiful person, inside and out.

Just look at the smile on Ellsworth’s face.

His ears are another pretty good indicator of his happiness.

There aren’t too many things better in Ellsworth’s book than a good ear scratch.

Thank you, Aunt Debbie.

Bernard gave out lots of hugs…

… and had fun playing his donkey games with Derek.

It warmed my heart to see Fergus showing affection to both Debbie…

… and Derek. Fergus has come such a long way in such a short amount of time.

By the way, Derek is a phenomenal chef, a masterful bartender and an incredibly fun person to be with.

Before they left for the airport, Derek and Debbie presented us with this process flow map for dog barking at Morning Bray Farm. It’s spot on. ♥