You can write us at Post Office Box 205, Cambridge, New York, 12816
“Your real duty is to go away from the community to find your bliss.” – Joseph Campbell
24 July 2016

Goats In Our Lives? Is Treasure A Messenger?

By: Jon Katz
Goats In Our Lives?

Goats In Our Lives?. Maria And baby goat.

I know it sounds strange, especially to me, but I have this feeling that Treasure came into our lives for a reason, she is a messenger of love, an angel come for a reason. Why would I think that?

Curiously, Maria and I, in our ever-evolving relationship, have switched roles a bit. I think one of the reasons Treasure came to us was to bring us a baby goat, she has several for sale, and they seem like loving and beautiful creatures.

I am drawn to having one, and that is odd because I had three at the first Bedlam Farm and couldn't wait to give them away. They drove me crazy. I had a helper on the farm who fed them day and night and turned them into pests, and every time they saw a human being they rushed over for food.

They were loud and troublesome. They were smarter than me, never a good thing when getting a farm animal. But I am different and things are different. If you don't make animals like dogs and donkeys and goats pests, they won't be pests. They don't need round-the-clock cuddling or treats, we have plenty of good stuff for them to eat around the farm.

Normally, I would pair animals up, but the goats would attack to the flock of sheep and also the donkeys and pony. She would not be lonely. Our back dog area would be a perfect goat hang-out and Maria would love a goat. And we have plenty of shrub and junk growth to keep one goat happy. And busy. It would be nice to have that back pasture cleared of some of the brush and growth.

We talked about it this morning, and she was sensible and persuasive. She wrote about it on her blog today.

And very clear. She said we don't need another animal, we have a good bunch. Neither one of us is an animal hoarder, we don't get animals just to have them, or only because there are so many in need. We get animals we can manage and control.

I also have to be mindful of my age, I'll be 69 in a few weeks and when I go – I don't plan for that to be soon – I don't want to leave a legacy behind that will burden Maria.  But the burden of this animal care will fall to her in the coming years, that is what is most likely to happen.

We both have to want any animals we get, we both have to feel good about it or there is no issue. And as of now, it just isn't going to happen, that is the reality of life. For that reason, this needs to be her decision much more than mine. And she has developed very strong instincts for survival.

I don't believe in arguing anyone into getting an animal, that is a formula for disaster, I understand and respect her feelings and I know she is right. Normally, I would be horrified at the idea of getting a baby goat. For some reason, I am not. We have the facilities right here, animals are our life and a great part of our work. We take photos, videos of them and write stories about them.

They enlighten us and fascinate us and lift us up. I have learned to respect Maria's instincts and I trust them. They are very good.

But there is a voice in my head. Would a small goat make such a big difference in the scheme of things? Isn't this what we do? Animals are our heart, and in many ways, our work. They inspire us, heal us and shape our creativity. And from my messages, they lift up a lot of other people as well.

In many ways, I am fascinated by our evolution. I think I am opening up to such things, and she has learned much about the realities of a farm and the need for balance and thought. I think we both are growing in our own ways.

We have three new animals on the farm: Fate, Izzy, Rosemary. We are not overwhelmed, but it is enough to keep us busy, and  it is sometimes hard to pay attention to all of them as often as we'd like. And every animal costs money one way or another. We don't have a lot of extra money.

I look at Treasure and wonder about the things and the people who came into our lives. We both thought the bear appeared on the farm for a reason. Beyond friendship, is Treasure a messenger of a different kind?

Posted in General

Treasure And Megan

By: Jon Katz
Treasure And Megan

Treasure And Megan

Treasure brought her granddaughter Megan with her to visit this morning, they both are much in love with their new baby goat. Aside from stepping in considerable poop in the pasture, Megan loved meeting donkeys and the pony and the dogs.

Posted in General

Treasure Comes To See Us With Her New Baby Goat

By: Jon Katz
Treasure With Her Goat

Treasure With Her Goat

Treasure Wilkinson called us this morning to ask if she could come over to visit the farm with her daughter and grand-daughter Megan. We are always happy to see Treasure, we said sure. We did not expect her to show up with her week-old baby goat, who now sleeps next to her in bed at night.

Treasure is new to our lives, she is a radiant source of love and connection, she has had a brutal life in many ways, growing up on the hard side of Providence, R.I., (where I grew up). She came up to the country a year ago to help her new online friend Donna build a garden and raise some goats.

She has not left, and is not going back. She and Donna are working to raise and sell goats as a business, she has five or six new ones now. I was first drawn to Donna by her face, a photographer's expressive dream, and then to the images of love she projected.

She and Maria and I became immediate friends, she is part of the orbit here now, and is very welcome. She emotionalizes animals much more than I do, and anthropomorphisizes them with abandon. But she also loves them dearly and cares for them with all of her heart, I think they are healing for her. Me, too. She seems to be all about love.

She loves to talk and tell stories, and she has some amazing stories to tell. Maria fell in love with the baby goat, we have flirted with the idea of getting goats, and Treasure has some babies – is this one of the reasons she came into our lives? But she feels we have enough animals, she doesn't want to have more than she can truly care for.

I think that is sensible.

Posted in General

Grazing In Mist. Sustainability.

By: Jon Katz
Grazing In Mist

Grazing In Mist

This morning, I got up at 5 a.m. with the dogs and we went out to get the sheep and donkeys and horse out to graze the North pasture, In the heat of the summer, we like to let the animals out to graze while it is still cool and before the flies and mosquitoes come swarming out.

It is quiet then, and peaceful, and the hills were shrouded in mist. The animals spread out, Red kept watch, Fate raced around the sheep in dizzying circles. I felt a wave of love for our farm, and the way it sustains so much life and meaning, and inspires to much in us.

Look at all these different creatures and personalities I thought – Chloe, Lulu and Fanny, Fate, Zelda, Izzy, Deb, the farm sustains all of us in so many different ways – grass and shelter for the animals, work for the dogs, mice for the barn cats, bugs for the chickens, stories and photographs for me, the studio for Maria.

What does it mean to be sustainable? For me, it means the farm must provide for us, take care of us. Sustainability is very difficult, it raises questions about responsibility, perspective, need and sustenance. My farms have sustained me, they support me every day. Sustainability to me is not about sustaining a life I cannot handle or afford, it means just the opposite. Not a straight path, but an important one.

I have learned to ask for help when I need it. But I do not need help with my life, if I cannot live my life, then it is not sustainable. The farm is my mother, it sustains me.

I gave thanks for this sustainability this morning in the mist.

Posted in General

Fate At Rest

By: Jon Katz
Fate At Rest

Fate At Rest

I've shown a lot of images of Fate running around, but not so many of the other side of the Fate, so often a sweet and even quiet dog. At night, she sleeps in her crate, otherwise she would never sleep, in the morning, we let her out, she often jumps up on the bed and rests quietly. This morning, I got a rare glimpse of this wonderful creature at rest.

Posted in General