3 July

Zinnia, The Hound Of Hope. Refugee, Mansion Support

by Jon Katz

I am in awe of the way Zinnia has befriended every dog, donkey, sheep, and barn cat at Bedlam Farm. She still likes to chase the chickens but has no interest in harming or eating them.

She has been butted, snorted at, and ignored, and she accepts none of these rejections. She just keeps coming back until she is accepted, and offered a peace kiss.

I call her the “hope” dog because he good humor and gentleness and patience neve leads her, not for a second.

Speaking of hope, I’d like to keep the Mansion/Refugee Fund ready.

In the Fall, I expect we will have some Amazon Wish Lists to support for Bishop Maginn High School, as they re-open.

I am also trying to continue our gift card program, food insecurity has, alas, not disappeared as the world begins to re-open. We’re not out of the woods.

If you would like to support our Price Chopper Gift Card Program, you can do so by purchasing gift cards here in any amount and sending them to me at the farm: Jon Katz, 2502 State Route 22, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816 or to my post office box, Jon Katz, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

If you prefer, you can send a donation to me directly via Paypal, jon@bedlamfarm.com, or by check, Jon Katz, Gift Cards, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816. I’ll be happy to purchase the cards on your behalf.

This program is one of the best things we’ve ever done.

You can see the gift cards and buy some here.

We also have meaningful work to do at the Mansion. Several new residents need clothes, several Mansion aides need food support for themselves and their families. Several of the Mansion aides also need some food support.

And I’m still arranging healthy lunches and dinners for the exhausted Mansion staff, who can proudly say they have no lost a single resident to the virus.

But they are paying in exhaustion and anxiety.

I’d also like to help some of Bishop Maginn teaches buy supplies and books for their classes in September. Some kids need clothes and shoes.

The Mansion/Refugee Fund is getting low, I could use some help. Everyone who contributes gets a Zinnia postcard.

Small donations are as welcome as big ones. If you can and wish to contribute, you can do so via Paypal, jon@bedlamfarm.com, or by check, Jon Katz, Mansion/Refugee Fund, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816.

Thanks so much.


27 June

Helping A Pal: Zinnia And Bud

by Jon Katz

Zinnia could care less about rats or chipmunks, she is a lover, a Hope Dog, not a hunter. She sometimes runs after a chicken, but then sniffs and licks them if she gets close enough.

Bud is a ferocious and determined hunter, especially of chipmunks, he’s never caught a mouse.

But the two are great friends and when Bud is sitting for hours at his maple tree, waiting for the chipmunk to appear, Zinnia often comes over to sit alongside and keep him company.

She is a sweet creature.

The two make a great pair. Fate has no time to waste on chipmunks, she stays near the pasture gate, just in case.

23 May

Where Is Zinnia?

by Jon Katz

Zinnia is very much like the fictional Waldo, she pops up everywhere, and she is sometimes hard to stop. If you look carefully at the photo, you will almost certainly find her.

I was sitting on the bench with Maria, our friendĀ  Jackie Thorne had come down to see us. It was very good to here, she’s a nurse who worked through the Pandemic, a good friend, and someone it is easy and fun to talk to.

We kept our social distance and Zinna crawled under the bench to stay in the shade, it was a warm afternoon here. All that Benadryl made me drowsy and I went inside to rest for a few minutes and get another ice pack.

As I turned to say goodbye to Jackie, I noticed Zinnia’s head popping out under the chair. I whipped out my iPhone faster than Gary Cooper pulled out his six-gun in High Noon. Zinnia is a smile dog, she makes me smile all day.

22 May

Smile Stations. Zinnia And Socks

by Jon Katz

I wish the Public Health people would move beyond masks and think more about the mental health of people whose lives have been upended by the shutting down of normal life.

I am surprised – honestly – to learn that I possess two things that make lots of people smile. One is Zinnia, who has this special gift. People smile when they see her.

The other is my socks, which make people smile, especially my “smile” sock. It is revealing in this surreal time that I get as much or more mail about my socks than I do about almost anything else.

It’s not really my socks, of course, it’s about color and light. People need color and light in their lives. And they need to smile, every day and more than once.

I’m thinking we should have “smile stations” set up in towns and cities, where people can go to look at things that make them smile. It does help a lot to start the day that way.

Zinnia and my socks are proud to contribute to this effort in our very small way.

13 May

Zinnia And Fate Running: A Meditation

by Jon Katz


Zinnia has found a way to play with Fate that Fate seems to enjoy. Fate is more tolerant of Zinnia these days, and Zinnia never stops trying to win her over. Once or twice a day Maria or I go out into the side pasture and fling the slingshot ball we got for our border collies.

Fate runs like a cheetah and is almost impossible to wear out. Zinnia gamely chases after her and doesn’t seem to mind that Fate can outrun her easily.

Border collies like Fate – she is from Wales – are astonishing athletes, they are built to run, low and thin with long legs like rabbits. Fate has been clocked at 50 miles an hour.

Working dogs need activity, stimulation, and exercise. I hate seeing enormous Labs, grown soft and lazy from having nothing to do but sit in backyards and basements. They are genial creatures, but they also need to work.

We are lucky to live in the country, where dogs can run in fields and woods. For me, watching dogs run is like a meditation, it is both grounding and calming.

Come and see.

Bedlam Farm