Friday March 24, 2023
I whispered to the goat Molly and got her attention. I silently asked her to follow me by waving my hand. She followed me into the shelter. I pointed to the hay in the corner, inside the triangular pen and without hesitation she walked over to it. We are quiet, speaking in whispers and sign language because we don’t want the other two goats to know what were up to. Molly doesn’t like sharing a hay bag, she likes to eat alone. Those shorter monsters are pushy, even forceful when it comes to food. Molly doesn’t feel like competing. Molly’s not fat, like the Kinder goats and I’m concerned she’s not getting enough food. Whether it’s true or imagined on my part, I cannot get over how Molly and I communicate. A whisper, a motion of the hand and a trusting disposition.
It doesn’t take long for Mae Mae to stop eating and look around for the matron goat. She calls out for her, but Molly doesn’t respond. I believe Molly got a 30-minutes of eating alone before the curious little goat discovered her hiding spot. By that time Molly was ready to go elsewhere.
This isn’t the first time I’ve done this. I whisper to William, the blind potbelly pig. His hearing is excellent and when I whisper his name, he knows that Karen has something special, just for him and that we need to make the exchange quietly and quickly before Millie, the big pig, discovers what were up to. It’s like sharing a secret with a best friend, slipping them a note in front of the teacher.
Molly and William were my first farm friends and I spent a lot of time with them before we expanded to other friends. And although our world has changed, we still know each other and communicate, like best friends in a classroom, with a whisper, a gesture and love messages.
At Crow Moon Healing Bed and Breakfast we communicate we care in all kinds of ways, in a gesture, a whisper, a laugh and of course, through food.
Monday March 6, 2023
“Sometimes I get so wrapped up on the logistics and labor of having animals, I forget the reason why I brought them in my life. This moment, sitting next to Millie, with a cat on my shoulder and a chicken on my lap, I’m reminded that to be present with another being is why I surround myself with animals, as they are easy to be with.”
My goal for the day was to take the last bale of cornstalks to bed the dry-lot shelter so Alfred would have a comfy bed when we transitioned the herd over from the barn. It would be the first time they would be back in this space since Bella, the horse, passed. I wasn’t looking forward to the move as even looking towards the dry-lot brought sadness. I wanted to move past the pain so I rolled the wheel barrel with the pitchfork down the driveway to the three-sided, cement block holding space under the apple tree that housed the last bale of cornstalks. As I unclipped the carabiners from the tarp and folded back the heavily beaten plastic with holes and tears, I saw I was right to argue to Fred last fall. The huge bale was wet and looking unusable. I was deflated.
The Cats, Greg, Finn and Leon had followed me and were investigating the exposed bedding. Millie, the pig and Tic, the chicken were close by, in the yard rutting and scratching the soft grass.
“Well, this is a bust,” I announced to the gang.
Millie stopped her grass flipping and gently, carefully, with intention, walked to a softest sloped section that transitioned from yard to gravel, where I was. She quietly oinked as she maneuvered her large body to the cornstalks. This was new to her! Her nose was fully engaged with investigating being both shovel and sniffer. I just watched the girl smiling. Perhaps she could loosen up some of the tight, expanded, damp, cornstalks so we could discover some dry stuff. She wasn’t that helpful. She rutted enough to make a bed, made herself comfortable and laid down on the damp stalks. She had a good point. I found a less damp spot by the hog’s butt and took a seat. I was tucked in between the cement block on my left side and Millie’s body on the right. Finn, the friendliest kitty, walked along the top of the blocks and posed on my shoulder, rubbing his chin on my ear.
After taking some selfies with the cat, I took a moment to just be. I’m almost 60 years old, sitting on a pile of wet cornstalks, with a behemoth of a pig resting like a dog by my side and tiger striped cat loving the shit out of the side of my head. The little girl in me was thrilled!
Chicken caught sight of us and came over to get a closer look. Arching her head.
“Hey Chicken,” I called, “Want to come sit with us?”
On cue, just like she knew exactly what I had offered, the chicken, Tic, strutted down the slope of the yard, chattering away in conversation. She hopped on my lower legs that was stretch out and crossed and carefully balanced her walk like a gymnast, climbing to my lap. She tapped on my pants a bit with her beak before settling herself in the crotch of my overalls. I sighed and then breathed deeper, resting my body more fully on the cornstalks, not minding the damp.
We were four animals “Being” together, enjoying the mild weather. We were all content and satisfied with this moment. It didn’t matter that we were all different species, we recognized ourselves as family.
To hell with the cornstalks, to hell with my agenda. I Quit!
Karen Mcintosh - Crow Moon Healing Owner & Operator