It has been almost two years since Animal Control Officer Jessica Barrett and the New York State Police took Simon off the farm where he lay in freezing mud and ice starving to death. He is happy, loving and healthy creature. He is completely healed accept for his legs, which remain a bit twist and painful. Simon loves to eat – he will eat almost anything, although he is partial to corn chips and apples and rigatoni. Lulu and Fanny both kick him in the head regularly, just a donkey’s way of chatting. I still read donkey stories to him in the barn and he love stop press his head into my chest while I rub his nose.
He brays every time he sees me, and I still call this the call to life. He always wanted to live.
I will never forget those first weeks when Simon lay so close to death. Simon struggled to live. I hand-fed him vitamins, hay, carrots and held his thin head up so he could drink water from the buckets we put next to him. His hooves had grown out nearly a foot on either side and he walking on his ankles and his teeth had grown into his jaw, he was lying on his side for so long. His stick was black with rain rot and he was covered in sores and lice. I don’t think he remembers that, and I don’t remember it often either. We are so grateful to have him in our lives, he opened me up in a way that changed me for good. Love you, Simon, thanks for caring so much about living.
Our new home keeps revealing itself to us in unexpected ways, the way old farmhouses tend to do. Bedlam Farm is also like that, old things oozing up out of the barns, treasures and mysteries in barns and empty rooms and gardens. We are uncovering several beautiful old slate walkways – one in front of the house, this new one – dug out by Ajay – behind the house, and leading curiously straight to the birdbath we just brought over from Bedlam Farm.
Paths are important to me, I am always on one, the hero journey is riddled with them, some going nowhere, some leading to chaos others to bliss, some to magic, some to mystery. This new path leads to an old bird bath, a sitting area in the shade overlooking the pasture where Rocky and the donkeys will come and graze and visit us, looking for apples and treats which, with Maria around, they will get. Old farms often had these paths – slate was plentiful and better than mud – and like ours, many have been covered by grass, leaves and time. They are beautiful stones, and they are important to us, and I am grateful to Ajay for digging them out. Another of the many things revealing itself to us as we get to know our new home.
I see the new home as a path all of itself, and I am very driven to be there.
Today, a different kind of treasure – Internet cable. More blogs, videos, photos. Yes.
This is the living room today, after Maria and I painted it. It’s quite a change. It’s a wonderful room. Tomorrow, more painting – it might need a second coat – and I tackle a really tough job – the beautiful old wood stove in the dining room. Grimy and gritty, Polish, polish, polish. This will be a true test of my patience.
I I took the photo of Florence Walrath’s living room a few months ago, just before we decided to strip the wallpaper and paint the room. We had already taken down her curtains. It is interesting because when we bought the house, I told Florence’s granddaughter Lori that we wanted to keep the room as it was and she was amazed we were keeping the rug and the wallpaper. Well, as we visited the house our perspective changed. First the rug went, then the curtains. And last week, the wallpaper. We loved the room when we first saw it and we still love it, but it needed to be opened up and brightened up, as many of you pointed out.
I think we admire Florence’s spirit so much we didn’t want to change her house, but then, she would have been the first person to make it her own. So here is before, and above, after.