I pass them often, these crosses and others, markers of lives lost, lives I didn’t know, can’t remember. There is something very poignant about these crosses, they seem both brave and lonely, they are maintained by someone, there are flowers, even words added. I think of the people who loved these people who knew them, imagine what these crosses might mean to them, wonder how long they can be maintained.
Death happens everywhere, to everyone, someone wants these deaths to be remembered. When I got out of the car, I meant to take a photo of the barn in the back, I didn’t see the crosses from the road, the grass was too high. Then I saw what the photo really was, a chance for me to pay some attention, for me to see these crosses, for me to say a few words of private prayer for them. There is something cold about driving past these echoes of grief, cars and trucks whizzing past day and night, I never see anyone stop, and I can’t blame them for that, these seem markers from some other life, some other time. I suppose it is easy to feel that way until someone you love is represented in a cross.
Time moves on, the property is for sale, the beautiful old barn is doomed also, a marker in itself, somebody selling raw milk right next to the crosses and the for sale sign. A very American photo, all about the passage of time and life.
This morning we woke up to the first cool morning in memory, it felt like Fall, there was crisp October Light coming over the barn, we all felt it, the people the animals. Animals have moods, they are very distinct. They behave one way when they are hungry, another when they are fed, they are different in the heat than they are in the cold, edgy during fly season, calmer afterwards. This morning, all of the people and animals on Bedlam Farm seemed excited, alert, revived, energetic. And affectionate. The farm was in a good mood. I love Fall, my favorite season, I can taste it coming.
My writing life is changing, but the publication of a book is always a miraculous thing for me. Fall is always publication time for me, and Nov. 5 is the publication date for “Second Change Dog: A Love Story,” the story of me, Maria and Frieda.
I’ll kick off the book at the Battenkill Bookstore in Cambridge, N.Y., on November 5, and then Northshire Books in Saratoga on November 8. Galleys came today. If anyone wishes to have the book signed by me and Maria, please order it through a special page at the Battenkill Books website. They ship anywhere in the world and take Paypal as well as major credit cards.
Late this afternoon, Bedlam Farm released an official (and exclusive) schedule for The Royal Baby Lenore as interest grew in this very happy event. There were celebrations up and down the road. The Royal Baby Lenore kept her heritage a secret for years, but today, in honor of the birth of George Alexander Louis, Lenore took her rightful place as the Royal Baby Of Bedlam Farm.
3 a.m. Lenore, sleeping in bed, threw up some day old green apples she had been rooting out and eating for most of Wednesday. Lenore waited until it was quite quiet and dark, and the linens had been freshly laundered. The humans jumped shouting out of bed encouraging the Royal Baby Lenore to get off the bed and finishing vomiting outside, which she happily did, tail wagging all the way down.
4 a.m. The Royal Baby Lenore returned to bed and went to sleep, snoring loudly, rolling over onto her back, making strange noises as she dreamed perhaps of her next meal. She was kicked in her posterior, woke briefly, wagged her tail and returned to sleep.
6 a.m. The Bedlam Farm family arose, and Lenore ate her first meal of the day, one cup of Fromm Family food.
6:30 a.m. The Royal Baby Lenore went for a walk, eating grass and various sticks and berries on the way.
6:15. Lenore was released to accompany the family on their farm chores, but not permitted in the gate, where large amounts of sheep and donkey manure abound. Previous excursions to the pasture have resulted in unpleasantness it would be undignified to describe. Instead, she was observed scouring the ground for more apples, stuffing several into her mouth, and offering them to the humans, tail wagging, walking in circles. She was observing crunching some and eating them.
She ate much of the chicken’s daily feed, found a few remnants of cat food near their bowls, gnawed on a flower in the family garden (ssssssh!). Looked like a Petunia, trampled some sunflower stalks, dug a hold near the back door so she might be cool.
9 a.m. Lenore retired to the writing study, jumped up on her couch, rested from the rigors of the morning.
10 a.m. – noon. The Royal Baby Lenore greeted the mail carrier, who she rushed to welcome and lick her leg. The Baby Lenore, well bred, does not ever bark at intruders, she welcomes them, she wags her tail furiously and licks their hands or feet. She took biscuits from the UPS and Fedex Drivers, greeted a jogger and bicyclist, an editor visiting the farm, a friend dropping off some tools.
Noon to 3 p.m. Spent, she retired to the sofa and rested until the mid-afternoon. She sunned herself in the dog park behind the house.
4 p.m. Lenore ate her second meal of the day, another cup of Fromm Family Food, then retired to her couch.
5 p.m. Lenore and her family went for a walk in the woods. She rolled in various deer, beer and coyote scat, dug various holes, ate various indeterminable things, waded into three separate mud holes, rolled over into them, covered herself in mud, sniffed the rear of Alex, a neighborhood Lab.
5:30 p.m. The Royal Baby was bathed, the mud and debris rinsed off of her, she is now rested on the living room floor with an antler bone, chewing it from time to time, resting in between, wagging her tail sporadically when there is any movement. Further updates in coming days.
Plan B was successful, at least for today. We dropped some corn on the ground in front of the barn, went inside the barn with two cans of cat food. The cats instantly wised up to this plan and went skittering into the barn where we placed the two containers of food on top of the hay bales.
I positioned Red between the chickens and the barn door and I told him to “stay put, hold the chickens,” and he looked dubious. The contrast between Red with the sheep and Red with the chickens is fascinating to me, in the pasture he puffs up like a wolf, is confident and focused, practically daring the sheep to mess with him. With the chickens, he holds his ground, but they do not accept herding and are not the least bit afraid of him. Our chickens are afraid of Frieda, they avoid her, but they seem to make individual judgements about the dogs. They are not afraid of Lenore either.
Red did hold the chickens off until the cats ate, and then I released him, the only mistake I made was not watching Lenore who rushed over to the area (as soon as Red and I moved away) and ate the meal for the chickens. Well, I said to the chickens, serves you right.