For those of you who worried that the sheep would not have enough wool for winter after shearing, you can relax. It takes about a month for sheep to grow the necessary wool for winter, and our sheep are bulking up. The wool looks clean and beautiful, the animals are strong and healthy on the hay we are giving them. Unless it is raining ice, the sheep don't care to be in the pole barn, they are more comfortable outdoors, even on the coldest nights, protected by their thick coats of lanolin suffused wool.
There were three soft noses sticking out of the pasture gate when we came to do the afternoon feeding, Maria has trained all three equines to offer kisses on the nose in exchange for a treat or a pat on the head. Chloe and Lulu were the most shameless, Fanny tries to keep some dignity. With donkeys, everything has to be their idea.
Chloe, the pony, is simply demanding. She wants what she wants when she wants it. All three are sweeties though, they have the softest noses.
The sun cuts through the windows, but it is cold and blue light. I wanted to capture the feeling of the arctic light.
We don't move the sheep too much in this kind of cold, so I make sure to let Fate run off some steam, otherwise, she looks as if she might explode. She doesn't notice the cold and loves to run in. I am always amazed by her speed and her ability to leave the ground. After five or ten minutes, she is breathing a bit, then two minutes later, she's ready to run again. I've never seen her be what I might actually call tired. It is very cold this weekend, a cold spell through next Wednesday.
I always had trouble with schools, but animals have always taught me some of the most important lessons in life.
Simon the donkey taught me to open up to life and love and trust.
Orson taught me to to follow my dreams, and take the risks necessary for a meaningful life.
Lenore kept love alive for me, when I thought I had lost it forever.
The New York Carriage Horses taught me that we need to work hard to keep animals in our world, and to reject those who would drive them away from us without understanding them.
Red has brought me to the world of the heart, his generous spirit is infectious, he brought the Christmas spirit to the people at the Mansion.
Frieda taught me about loyalty and faith, and she taught me about patience as well.
Rose taught me about loyalty and the power of dogs to shape and support our lives. I trusted her enough to risk those hard winters at my farm, where I was frightened and alone.
Fate taught me to the meaning of acceptance, animals do not have to fit into our conceptions of them, we can accept them as the powerful spirits that they are.
Izzy brought me to hospice work and helped me understand my own mortality and to to see and comfort people at the edge of life, a mission I still pursue and hope to always pursue.
Lulu and Fanny are sweet and intuitive creatures who have taught me how to listen to animals, and not just talk about them.
Zelda taught me to respect the independence and loyalty of sheep, and Ma showed me what wonderful mothers animals can be. She fought for her twins.
I am learning from these animals every day, they belong with us, we need them and they need us. Here on the farm, Maria and I learn from the animals every day of our lives, we share our lives with them. It is a beautiful thing.