I found the Old Sheep in the garden at our first Bedlam Farm. it was buried in the farm’s original garden, one of the oldest things I found there. We brushed it off, planted it in the garden and brought it to our new farm, where it occupies a corner of a garden and peers out from behind a rock. I don’t really know how old he or she is, but I am struck by this old and entrenched creature.
A farmer told me once that these old garden ornaments were powerful medicine, it was said that they healed, kept evil spirits away, and blessed the productivity of the farm. She was buried under a ton of snow all winter, she finally peered out last week.
I had the sense that Red needed some healing today, he looked uncomfortable, I think he was in some pain. He spent much of the day with his head on my knee, he loves Scott and, I think they have a strong spiritual connection, I felt it this afternoon.
My friend Scott is very close to Red, and Scott is a Tai Chi Master and a healer. I took Red over to his sugar house so that Scott could see he was all right and Scott took Red in his hands and held him for the longest time, I think Red needed it. He is doing well, but obviously in some pain discomfort.
I took him to our vet Suzanne Fariello and she gave him an anti-inflammatory to reduce the swelling of his idea, and she cleaned off some of the blood that was still caked around the eye. Some of his stitches broke, but she said it doesn’t matter. I’m glad I let Red do some work together, but I think I’ll make him rest tomorrow, give the wounds a chance to heal. The photograph touched me.
I wanted to bring every one up to date on the animal news here on the farm, and also to check in on my own personal “Ban Jon Katz” page on Facebook. I tried to join but was rejected, another club I can’t get into, and I think I would have made a worthwhile member of that club. I know lots of good reasons to ban me and I would happily share my many bad qualities there, as I do here.
I think things are going fairly well for the page, they are up to 16 people from four in just a few weeks, and picking up steam, says the founder. I believe I even saw the page promoted somewhere. It will do well, there are whole websites devoted to banning me from the world.
Frann Levy, the creator, says she is happy with the page, she says she is getting some attention. Her likes on Facebook are way up – 40 new ones – and people are flocking to inquire about the prospects for making me go away. She is a faithful reader of my blog it seems, perhaps a tenuous position for someone wanting to ban me from writing about animals. The page launched just after I started defending Joshua Rockwood, the Glenville, N.Y. farmer accused of animal cruelty. The accusation that I murder my farm animals for no reason and use them for target practice was also cited as a major reason. (I feel a bit like Kevin Stacy in House of Cards. I wonder if his hair is real?)
Levy says she started the page for her own amusement – everyone’s sense of humor is different, I like Jimmy Fallon’s lip synching videos myself. I would love to have a “Ban Jon Katz” baseball cap or bumper sticker, people in my town would love it. I have no argument against banning me, I might get my next book finished on time. I would suggest more photos of my torturing puppies, killing innocent lambs and punching donkeys on the nose, those are always a big draw online, and would be a sensation on Twitter.
Other news: We are a few weeks away from getting a horse, at least Maria is. Chloe, the Haflinger-Welsh pony is coming sometime in May after Maria finishes a few more riding and grooming and care lessons. We are all set up here on the farm, the big issue will be acclimating Chloe to the donkeys, Lulu and Fanny. They are sweet souls, I can see them grazing together out back. A nice image.
Maria loves Chloe and we are both very excited about her coming here. Eli Anita-Norman has done a wonderful job teaching Maria and we have 17 acres in the woods behind the farm. Maria has worked hard, and for months learning about horses, grooming and riding. Chloe is 20 years old, steady and calm and quite independent. An exciting way to start the Spring. The horses have entered our lives gradually ever since I started writing about the New York Carriage Horses.
We have become quite attached to Blue Star Equiculture, the draft horse sanctuary and organic farming center, the horses have opened up our lives in ways that are exciting for both of us.
Dog news. We are waiting on our breeder, Linda Reece, whose bitch is not yet in heat. We’ve talked to some rescue groups, but are inclined to wait a bit for Linda, she has wonderful dogs and she is quite wonderful herself. She breeds English Golden Retrievers, and her dogs are soulful, gentle and love to work with people. We think she is worth waiting for.
This weekend, my daughter is getting married in Brooklyn, we’ll be going down there Friday and returning Sunday. I haven’t quite got my head around this one.
We have thought about goats, but are leaning away from it. They are too loud and too smart.
Grooming is one of the ways to talk to domesticated animals, Maria and I started doing it with the donkeys. Equines (dogs too) loved to be groomed, they love the attention the feel of it, the feeling that passes between people and animals. Merlin loves to stand in the sun and be groomed, something I look in wonder at. He is a huge and beautiful horse, no one could groom him if he did not love it, and I see the feeling that passes between him and the people caring for him at Blue Star Equiculture. These horses, some of them retired carriage horses, love attention and they love people.
The more you learn about horses, the more you learn that they love and need attention, it would be cruel to place them in an environment – like many rescue farms – where there is little or none. I love what Maria is writing about her own journey with the horses, it is beautiful and inspiring to me. I told her she was a true writer, and she yelled at me that she was an artist, not a writer. I reminded her that she is always telling me that I am an artist, while I insist I am not. So there.