I just got back from vacation. I went to Disney with my daughter and her family. I was able to see my 4 year old grandson experience “the happiest place on earth” for the first time. It is a memory I will hold forever in my heart. From there we traveled to our home in Naples, Florida where we were able to finally get some much needed rest and relaxation! I was gone for 8 days. The weather was perfect. I had an amazing time. But….. I missed The Hippie Chicks, Dutch and my gardens. I thought about them every day and longed to be home. I missed my early morning garden inspection with my first cup of coffee, the way the girls would run and greet me to see if I had a treat for them or hopeful they would be allowed to free range. I missed the way Dutch was always willing to take a trip to the garden with me, to help me “prune” the vegetables and to run haphazardly through the tomato plants or chase the girls. And yes, I even missed all the hard work that comes with a garden, chickens and a high spirited puppy! All I could think about was what I would be planting in my fall garden as soon as I got home or if my girls had started to lay eggs yet and if so were they ok? I wondered if they missed me like I was missing them. As soon as I arrived home, before I even got my bags out of the car I was run down by one very happy Dutch. I swear he grew a foot if not more while I was gone. There is nothing like a puppy to make you feel like you were missed except maybe 9 chickens that also came running when I called to them and greeted me with loud clucks and cackles (I’m pretty sure it was the treats that they missed but hey it’s ok!). Of course the first thing I did was check out the nesting boxes to see if maybe, just maybe they had a surprise for me. Of course they did!! They are so thoughtful like that! There it was in all its glory, tucked safely inside, on a bed of shredded paper. The first egg. A beautiful, perfectly shaped brown egg! I was so excited and I have to admit a little afraid. I was afraid to touch it, afraid I may crush it. I just wanted to look at it for awhile, savor the moment. I’m even thinking I may not ever cook this egg, like, I want to frame it. You know just like you frame the first dollar bill you ever made. That’s what I’m thinking anyway. I want to save it forever. I can’t wait until tomorrow. I plan on getting up extra early to see if I can catch this little momma in the act. I want to thank her. I picked my first tomato tonight. It is a “big boy” variety and they aren’t kidding. This sucker is huge! I’d been watching this tomato, waiting for the day it would be ripe enough to pick, dreaming about that yummy tomato sandwich I was going to make with it. Well instead I am going to give it to my new little momma. It will make the perfect thank you gift. She deserves it. One good turn deserves another. I’m so happy to be home.