After the sheep were settled in, Maria and I decided to take a walk in the woods behind the farmhouse, and we were surprised when Rocky decided to come along. He followed right behind us, pausing to stop and sniff Red and listen for our voices. We went a quarter of mile behind the house and he stayed with us, using Red as a guidepost as he often does. It was the first time he did anything like that, and we both had the sense he was showing us his private place off of the main pasture. It was beautiful and quiet back there, and we felt a closeness with him we had not felt before. A beautiful and touching thing.
Our sheep came home today to the New Bedlam Farm, and they were a major step in bringing the farm to life for us. They took the new pasture – plenty of grass – right away and sniffed around their new home, the skidbarn. Red got to work herding them through the pasture and Rocky came near the fence to listen. We took a walk with Rocky in the woods, and I shot a video of the move which I will put up tomorrow morning. It's a great place for sheep and a big move towards us feeling it is our home. I am always honing my animal management skills, but this is a great place for sheep and they can be separated from the other animals, or the whole pasture can be opened up for grazing. The new farm is taking shape.
I looked over at the birdbath this morning, and I saw that it was a magic birdbath, that it showed images of my life, my journey, my search. It showed me peace and comfort, love and acceptance, creativity and challenge. It did not show me a perfect life, it showed me a meaningful life and that is so much more important to me. I saw the future, and I felt the wind sweeping the ground, rustling the trees, pushing the clouds. I saw the hard work for me, my long march to shedding fear and helplessness, my happy and successful search for love. If I could find that, I can find anything, and it is the most important thing.
Our new skidbarn is getting lots of attention and we'll see how it works over the next few days. We put in some bedding. It faces South and in the winter will get some direct sun, in the summer lots of shade. But it is also quite moveable. A neat idea for people who do rotational grazing – we will – or who need to adjust livestock. It's ready to go.
Zelda is moving with the other sheep to the new farm this afternoon. Ken Norman is coming to pick her and the other sheep up (we might be buying one more). It has been more than two years since I first saw Rocky out in the field in front of his fallen barn, and it seems a lifetime since we decided to buy the farm, put this one up for sale, and began the process of moving, painting, wallpapering, repairs and fencing. It feels like a long time, and today feels like a big day.
We are not moving in yet – Ajay is living in the house and keeping an eye on things – but when you bring animals to a farm, that is a landmark. We have a very small number of animals in comparison to my first move. I had 35 sheep, four donkeys, four dogs, chickens, goats and a few cows. Now we are going to the new farm with three dogs, three donkeys, three chickens, and two barn cars. Seems highly manageable to us. Living with these animals not only shapes my work and my photography, but shapes my life, mine and Maria's. We love tending to the animals together, learning from them, writing about them, listening to them. One of the great gifts in my life (Maria being the greatest.)
Zelda is an unusually intelligent and alert sheep. She is the sentry sheep, watching out for the others, and she never takes her eyes off of me and Red, when we are around.