A Girl and her Horse

High school and college football near completion, and the last of the garden harvest at Cairn Hill Farms continues (We ended up with more butternut squash than expected. Despite giving away much of it, we still have enough to dominate dinners for the next six months!!).

In addition, harvesting brussel sprouts over the past few days reminds me of my experience making pies from scratch, not worth the time! Since the garden is Chad’s “baby,” I hope he rethinks next year’s planting line-up.

MK also continues work with her Haflinger, Larken. This stout and sassy 13 year old mare was not ridden for the previous 18 months before joining our farm, so MK and her trainer, Jenn, developed a training regimen.


While horses were an important part of my life, watching MKs journey into training, observing, and interacting with equine behavior has been a learning experience. The past year provided many positive adventures. Witnessing her passionate pursuit even inspired a bit of micro poetry:

Four legs,
Long face,
Beginning smile,
Saving grace.

As fall enters its final act, take the time to enjoy the vibrant colors, crisp days, and tastes of the harvest. Thanks for reading!


(My elderly pony, Goldy)


The First Leaves the Nest

Last month, Chad and I delivered our first born to college. What a memorable day! The night before, many aunts and uncles provided an official Irish clan send off. Several aunts even threatened to attend Siblings’ Weekend. The few hours spent at the college streamed by in a blur, visiting with students and staff, the memorable mob of students who helped unload, Opening Convocation, the tears and hugs between students and parents, giving a blessing to our child, the quiet drive home…

Patricks send off

Despite attempts at mental preparedness, the first leaving home proved a bittersweet transition. While Patrick will be home for vacations and summer, he truly no longer lives with us. What an odd adjustment. As parents, we spend so much time teaching life skills: Independence, a strong work ethic, the value of education, etc. When our young men and women take those first steps towards independence, a part of every parent holds on and hesitates before finally letting them go.

Fortunately, a busy routine greatly aided this transition. Between high school football, an increased teaching load, the fall harvest, and other responsibilities, my mind focused on other things. The many activities also limited communication with Patrick, so he could begin his new journey without a nagging parent.

I composed a short poem about this experience, remembering high school English class when Mrs. Bell taught iambic rhythms:

The First Leaves the Nest

Our summer path was filled with joy,
Yet time draws near for our dear boy.
Goodbye full house, he’s out the door,
And now our numbers slip to four.

Thanks for reading! Happy Fall from Cairn Hill Farms!

Fall at Cairn Hill Farms

Far from Lothlorien: Surviving Suicide

I have never posted twice in one night, but if I don’t do this now, while I have the courage, this poem might remain in my desk drawer. Lissa (my brother’s first wife) became a part of my life when I was six months old. She was like a second mother to me. She was there for me through the troubling middle school and high school years as a big sister. She took her own life in 1999. I have mixed feelings about her passing, and in my despair, I wrote my only other poem. It’s deep and filled with many of the raw emotions that surface after a tragedy. This poem chastises members of the national media (as the events led to a national scandal) but also deals with the despair of loss. Despite how mad I am at her, I love and miss her!

(NOTE:  I wrote this poem over ten years ago and am in a much better place now.  I chose to share this because there are many people out there who are hurting from a family member or friend’s suicide.  It is my hope that readers will recognize the many emotions surfacing in this poem and know that life for those left behind improves with the passage of time.)

Far from Lothlorien
By Maggie Murphy

How do I sort through a lifetime of lies?
Everything told to me must be questioned.
Every memory must be reviewed.

My whole childhood is at stake here!

Why did you have to manipulate me?
I was the one on the right track.
I was the one that the community looked to for truth and respect.
Was that your motivation for this treason?

I hold all those things, and you can’t steal them away from me-even from the grave!

I have always shunned those who pass on information second hand. Now they are my only source. How dare you leave us and put this information in the twisted and mangled kaleidoscopes of Tom, Peter, and Dan to display to the world!

If the truth shall set you free, how can I find it? You left me with no guidance to find my way through this maze. All that remains are rumors, opinions, and the empty feeling that comes with suicide.

I love you-why did you leave?

She’s a poet and didn’t know it…

I see many bloggers share their poems. While I don’t consider myself a poet, I am proud of my acrostic poem, “SURVIVAL.” This highlights the challenges of keeping up with young children and the importance of quiet time in the morning…and for those who will chastise me about my choice of morning beverage, I can proudly say in the last few weeks, I have finally kicked the Diet Coke habit!


Setting the alarm for an hour before the kids wake up,
Understanding that the dog will start barking if I don’t let her out,
Ready myself,
View slumbering babes in peaceful dreams,
Inspire myself to make smiley faces on kid’s toast,
Value my last five minutes alone with my Diet Coke,
Awakened children are making noises,
Livelihood is the bliss of motherhood!