Life on the farm with the Man…and our critters…

Uncategorized

My Gracie Girl…

Over the years, I’ve shared many stories about the various animals that we’ve been blessed to share our life with here on the Farm.  Most of you are familiar with old man Kody, and how he was our first, and the impact that he made upon our lives and continues to even though he has been gone for nearly 4 years now.  I’ve shared the stories telling about the bond that I have with my very handsome, and equally spoiled horse, Alex.  Other horses, as well as donkeys, both of various size and shapes, have been mentioned.  An equal share of indoor and outdoor cats have come and gone, and I’ve shared both the joy and the sadness of their lives in my written word.  Dewey and Sebastian, our boy pups, have made many appearances.  I’ve happily and willingly shared them all with you.  All except one.  I’m not sure why I haven’t focused a blog about her before.  There is no doubt that she has deserved one.  Certainly, I’ve given it some thought a time or two, but my muse would fail me, and I could never put words to screen that seemed to do her justice.  Perhaps this time, the words will flow easily, and you will finally know her story.  This may be the toughest post I’ve ever tried to write, but hopefully you will know the special place she holds in my heart.

The Man and I had been together for 5 years, and old man Kody was still a young pup at three years old.  We were both away during the day a lot, and although the Man was perfectly (and adamantly) happy being a one dog household, the idea of adding a second dog started percolating in my head.  I convinced myself that if adding a puppy to our happy little family was meant to be, then who was I to argue with the Universe?  Before long, we found ourselves knocking on the door of a small house that had a litter of half Lab, half Golden puppies that were looking for homes.  Although he still wasn’t convinced that we needed another puppy, the Man did begrudgingly agree that IF we were to choose a puppy that day, it should be another male to be good company for Kody.  He grumbled under his breath as we made our way to the living room where the pups awaited, and since we had already decided that it should be me that made the choice, he took a chair near the door in silent protest.  The mother of the pups was a stunning Yellow Lab who seemed very proud of her energetic and beautiful puppies, and she quickly took up station near me as I surveyed the nine bouncing balls of yellow at our feet.  I ignored the barely audible harumph behind me as I picked up the pups, one at a time, to quickly determine which ones were male and which were female.  The first three were female, and although they were adorable, they lacked the hardware I was looking for.  The fourth puppy had the required bits, and when I brought him closer, he wagged his little tail and smothered me with puppy breath kisses.  “I found him!” I exclaimed, and turned to the Man to present him.  He still sat in that same chair near the door, but this time his folded arms were wrapped around the fattest, and clearly female, pup laying on her back with one paw on his chin while he tickled her belly and made little cooing sounds.  He lifted his head, and with the high pitched glee of a nine year old, he squealed “She picked me!!!”.  I gently set the pup I was holding back into the puppy area, knowing that the choice had been made.  Not by me, not by the Man, but by a charming, rotund, butterball female that we would come to know as Gracie.

When we brought her home a few weeks later, Kody was, as expected, quite happy with the addition to the Farm.  He always had a knack for knowing when new things were meant for him, whether it was a new toy, bone, or bed, and he knew without a doubt that this fat little puppy with the sharp teeth pulling on his tail was our gift to him.  Overnight, he changed from a young dog without a care in the world to an Alpha with a purpose.  We quickly discovered that while a single puppy can be a challenge to train in all things domesticated, a new puppy with a brother 3 years older can be a wonder to behold.  With the addition of Gracie to the Farm, we were no longer two guys and a dog, but rather we had become a pack, at least in Kody’s eyes.  Kody knew the rules, and although he was fond of ignoring them, it became his mission to teach those rules to the newer, lower ranking member of the pack.  He became the teacher, and she became his willing student.  It only took us a day or two to finally relinquish the control of her training to Kody, realizing that dogs learn best when lessons are served with a low growl or a controlled nip of teeth.  Kody did his job well, and she learned fast, but it wasn’t all because of Kody’s efforts.  As we watched them interact, it became clear to us that while this fat little ball of yellow with the bad puppy breath was younger than Kody, she clearly was the smarter of the two.  She did all of the usual puppy antics, right down to pulling all of the long flowing hair out of Kody’s tail, which never grew back properly and looked more like a rat tail than a Golden’s tail.  The difference was that she was doing it all with an intent and intelligence far beyond her weeks.  Instead of waiting to learn a lesson when the time was right, she was testing him and taking notes.  Over the next few months, we watched with wonder the interaction between the two, and it was a blessing to experience.  By the time she was a year old, and Kody was four, she was clearly the one in charge, but she was smart enough to let him think he was.  The four of us flourished throughout that first year, and grew closer as a true pack.  The two dogs saw the Man and I as equal Alphas, although we each had our specific roles to them.  The Man became the fun one, who provided hugs, cuddles and treats when he came home from work.  I became the one with the rules, and the provider of all things essential for a dog’s happy life.  Since Kody had long since bonded with the Man and his happy go lucky rules of life, it was no surprise that Gracie would bond with me and my need for structure and routine.

While it hadn’t taken long to realize how smart young Gracie was, we also quickly learned that she possessed an amazingly high pain tolerance, one that I had never seen in a dog.  One morning, a few weeks after her arrival at the Farm, I noticed a small white dot on her upper lip after she had pulled away from me and didn’t want her face touched.  Within hours, she was in a fight for her life from a condition called Puppy Strangles.  Her lips, her gums, and around her eyes were covered in swollen pustules that were weeping pus, and causing her intense pain.  It’s a rarely seen condition, but thanks to the Man’s own medical knowledge and some frantic web searching, we finally were able to convince the vet what we thought was happening to her, and treatment was started just as her throat was starting to close shut from the swelling.  Through it all, one would never have known the intense pain she was enduring other than she didn’t want to be touched on her face, something that she has refused until just recently.  She returned to her quest for world domination in short order, and she developed into an athletic muscular dog who lived for chasing down tennis balls and flying through the air to catch a long thrown frisbee.  Kody was content to lay in the shade, for the most part, except for the one time he decided to he had the energy to try to catch the frisbee before she did.  The slow motion midair collision ended with Gracie proudly bringing the frisbee back to me to be thrown again, and Kody with missing front teeth that greatly added to his goofy grin.  He never challenged her again, knowing from that day on that it wouldn’t end well for him if he tried.  Her strong muscled legs vaulted her 10 feet in the air to snatch that frisbee with strong jaws time and time again, and it was a sight to behold, but what gave her the most joy would also become her downfall.  A few years ago, when she was still considered a young dog, those strong legs sent her high into the air, but when she came down with the frisbee in her mouth, she landed wrong and one of her hind knees blew out.  True to form, it didn’t slow her down, and as I ran to her in a panic, she was running to me, a wild grin on her face and one hind leg flopping about like it had always been that way.  Needless to say, that ended her dreams of becoming one of The Flying Wallendas.  Soon after surgery to repair the one knee, the other gave out, and although surgery was successful for both knees, they never were quite the same.  She eventually learned to run with both hind legs acting as one, and would look like a giant yellow rabbit running through the fields chasing squirrels, or hopping through the deep snow during the winter months.  When she wasn’t off hopping around the property, she was by my side.  She was my faithful sidekick, both night and day, and it was clear to all that in her eyes, I was the true alpha of her pack.  When Dewey joined us a few years later, it was her turn to take on the role of teacher, and she took on the role with the same conviction that she had shown in her earlier years while chasing anything thrown for her.  She was on point and efficient, and Dewey learned his lessons well.  Each time there was a point to be made, she made it and then quickly returned to my side where she knew she belonged.

When Kody passed away nearly 4 years ago, Gracie naturally took her place as the clear leader of the pack within a pack, especially when Sebastian joined our family a couple months later.  She wasn’t impressed with the addition of another puppy at first, and she ignored both me and Sebastian for three weeks.  Finally, she decided that if this unruly ball of white was going to learn to behave according to her standards, then it was going to be up to her to make it happen.  One quick “Come to Jesus” moment left Sebastian with a slightly bleeding ear tip and a new outlook on life.  While the Man ran after the young Sebastian to dole out bandaids and reassurance, Gracie slowly approached me with her head down, eyes buttoned up and a slight grin on her face.  This form of submission from her wasn’t new, but the circumstance was.  I knelt down and cradled her already graying face, my gentle touch telling her instantly that she needn’t worry, and that I approved of her teaching style.  One quick bunny hop later, she was by my side, and together we laughed at the Man zigzagging through the yard, Benny Hill style, trying to catch a screaming white puppy who was clearly not having a good day.  To Gracie’s complete satisfaction, each member of her pack now knew their place in the hierarchy, and life was good again.

Over the years, Gracie would accompany me when I made the rounds to check on various critters or projects around the Farm.  She was a regular in the horse fields with me until the day that Alex delivered a glancing blow to the side of her head with one of his massive front feet.  As she always did with any sort of trauma, she brushed it off and returned to my side, waiting to head off to our next adventure with squinted eyes and a grin on her face.  She never did go inside the horse field again after that, by her own choice, but would instead sit and wait for me at the gate, keeping a watchful eye on what I was doing.  Most days, at least in the summer, if I wasn’t with the horses, I was in the garden.  Garden time has always been Gracie’s favorite time of the day, mostly because Dewey and Sebastian were never allowed inside the garden gate.  It was our time together, and she had me all to herself.  After she made the rounds to each corner of the garden, being careful not to tread on any plants or flowers, she would usually settle down in the carrot patch, happily pulling up carrots and eating her fill.  As the years have passed, she has remained a constant presence in my life.  Where I go, she goes, and at the end of the day when the Farm finally sleeps, she is beside me on the couch.  She stays especially close when I’ve made no bake cookies, and she knows that she will get a few tiny bites when the boys aren’t looking.

Mentally, she is as sharp as she was when as a pup she figured out she was smarter than Kody.  Her body, however, is betraying her more every day.  Her surgically repaired knees have fused together and no longer support her like they used to, and the crippling arthritis they developed has spread like wildfire to all of her other weight bearing joints.  Her front feet are gnarled and twisted, and together with her aching shoulders, failing hips and unbendable knees, she is no longer able to run and play with the boys.  Our walks in the yard are slow and methodical, and because of the added strain it puts on her hindquarters, she has difficulty holding her head up when she walks.  In her younger days, our time in the yard would include stopping by her favorite apple tree, where she would leap into the air to grab an apple from the branches high above her.  Now, she is content to search along the ground for ones that have dropped.  She has been on various medications over the past couple of years to help with the gradual but constant onslaught of arthritis, and though the edge was taken off, the pain never left her.  Through it all, she has remained as faithful to me as she ever was, and the love in her eyes has never been dimmed by the pain.

Winter on the Farm has always been a challenge to both humans and critters, but for Gracie, the one that is ending has been her hardest yet.  The signs are clear that her time with me is limited.  When I first noticed the shift in her demeanor and her body, I didn’t want to think about it.  I couldn’t then, and I struggle with it now.  The pain of losing Kody is still just as fresh as though it happened yesterday.  When I see her try to walk, or yelp in pain when she tries to stand up, I feel the tears well up.  When her tired body needs help to jump up on the couch at night to lay beside me as she has for nearly 13 years, I grieve, both for her and for me.  I know what is coming, but I’m not ready.  She is currently on a new round of anti-inflammatory meds, as well as some pain medications that do help her forget her pain for a few short hours.  When the pain is lessened, she is by my side, limping along to help in whatever I am doing, but when it returns, it hits her hard, and she will collapse in her spot in front of the fire place.  At this point, our only option is to keep her medicated as much as she can handle, and hope that with warmer weather around the corner, she will be able to enjoy one more summer here on the Farm.  When she is at her lowest, I look in her eyes and I can see how tired she is, and the pain she carries.  But even when she is hurting, she still looks at me with the same love and devotion that she always has, and the desire to still be beside me is there.  I’m not ready to say goodbye, and she is telling me that neither is she.  She will let me know when she is, I have no doubt.  She is still fighting, and her eyes still light up when I speak her name.  The coming weeks, hopefully months, will be full of short, slow walks in the yard, couch snuggles and no bake cookies.  I will do my best to prepare for what’s to come, but I know that I will fail.  She has been my best friend and constant companion, and I know I will never experience a love like hers again.  She is, and always will be, my sweet irreplaceable Gracie girl…

 

 

 

 

 

 


Image

Splash of Purple…


Time Off…

Tomorrow, I will be having surgery to repair multiple torn and weak abdominal muscles.  Again.  The first time was probably 8 or 9 years ago, and I’ve honestly lost track of the number of times I’ve had to revisit the operating room to repair the repairs.  Time and again, the various techniques and meshes used have not held, resulting in the injuries being worse than they were before.  This particular operation, however, will be done by a specialist whose only focus is repairing and reinforcing the various layers of the abdomen, one at a time.  It’s been months in the planning, and the closer it has gotten, the more anxious I am about it.  I am not worried about the operation itself, rather it’s the lengthy recuperation that follows that has weighed me down.  A strict three months of sitting on the couch watching court shows and bad zombie movies might sound attractive to some, but in case you’ve forgotten, I live on a Farm.  Taking three months off at this time of year isn’t easy when you are responsible for a growing Farm with large gardens and enough animals to stock up a modern day ark.  Preparing and planting the gardens alone is a full time job, and the daily care of the growing number of horses and donkeys can easily fill every other hour within the day.  Of course, there is also a never ending list of other Spring chores like fence repairs, winter clean up of the horse fields, mowing and restocking of the depleted hay supply.  How can I sit for three months knowing there is so much to do?  It became clear months ago that we would need some help, and although at the time I had no idea what form that help would come in, I had faith that the Universe would provide.  And provide It has.

Hannah entered our lives a couple years ago, when it had become increasingly clear that I had enough time in the day to be a good husband, farmer and builder of things, but not a housekeeper.  What started as an occasional visit to help straighten up after two messy members of the male species turned into a more regular appearance, and she soon became a part of the Farm family.  The dogs took a liking to her straight away, and it wasn’t long before they became more excited to see her than they were me or the Man.  Young pup Sebastian quickly developed a bond with her, both for her gentle ways and the extra treats she would sneak him when they both thought no one was watching.  On occasion, she would find her to way to the barn to visit the horses and donkeys, and little by little I noticed that they too were warming up to her presence.  While some might say that the one true test of a person’s character is how a dog responds to them has clearly never owned a donkey.  It is impossible to hide anything from a donkey, and if you have any character flaws at all, you will not pass go and collect $200 dollars in the game called “Donkey Land”.  Hannah was fitting in well, and it was clear to anyone watching that she had a knack for the farm life.  I remember the day it dawned on me that perhaps she might be the solution that I had been waiting for.  “Hannah!” I hollered from the porch into the house.  When she finished sneaking a treat to the dogs, she appeared in the doorway, and we began a conversation that eventually led to her moving into the tiny guesthouse next to the barn a few months later.  Little by little, she has taken on many responsibilities here at the Farm, including a lot of the daily routine of caring for the horses and the donkeys.  I’ve enjoyed the role of teacher, and she has taken on the job of farm apprentice with a work ethic rarely seen in others her age.  In a few short months, she has become my right hand man, and will be the one that takes care of the physical aspects of the Farm while I patiently heal and recuperate like I should.

On one hand, it is a relief to know that the Farm, and it’s myriad of critters, will be well taken care of over the next few months.  I trust Hannah to care and watch out for my animals as I would, and as most know by now, my trust does not come easily these days.  My only concern at this point is how I am going to occupy my time over the coming weeks and months.  More than likely, I will make a lot of baskets, and have already ordered new supplies to prepare for that.  I plan on finally spending time honing my sad ukulele playing skills, and I am looking forward to sitting on a stool in the back barn yard playing and singing for the donkeys.  I never did get to any of my winter reading, and I have a stack of untouched books waiting for me to disappear into.  My foremost wish, though, is to spend more time with my camera, refocusing my mind’s eye through the lens.  And, I want to write.  I miss writing, but I am often too tired at the end of the day to share my life in a way that might be entertaining to those that might read my blogs.  Slowly, my life has evolved to the point of being so busy that I do not have the time or energy to be creative, and I really miss it.  Perhaps this mandatory time off is the Universe’s way of allowing me to not only heal physically, but mentally and creatively as well.  Time will tell, I suppose.  By the middle of Summer, I will either be an enlightened ukulele playing basket maker with a good eye and a tale to tell, or I will have gone stark raving mad from watching Judge Judy repeats all day on Court TV.

 


Image

Gerdy…

dsc_2169


Betrayal…

It’s been a rough week here on the Farm.  A dark cloud hangs above our home, and the Man and I have slogged through the past dscn2366few days on autopilot with shock, disappointment, sadness and a great deal of anger in our hearts.  While my intent for this blog has always been to write and share our lives in order to uplift and entertain the masses, this particular tale will fall far short of that goal.  It is deeply personal and not easily shared, and describes one of the darkest periods of my life to date.  I apologize in advance for not offering up my usual, but I feel the need to put down on paper my thoughts and feelings.  Simply put, I need to vent.  Perhaps it will help me process what has happened, and maybe my words will reach those that need to hear it.  Maybe they can understand what they have done, and how it has effected the Man and myself, as well as those within the small circle of friends we have given our trust to. The tale actually begins not last week, but nine years ago.

During the winter of 2008, the Farm was broken into one Saturday morning while we were away for the day.  The thieves used a sledgehammer to batter down a door that leads from the small barn into the house, and proceeded to ransack the Farm of anything valuable that they could load into their van in a short amount of time.  When I returned home a few hours later, I didn’t notice that the door to the barn was hanging oddly, as I don’t normally look in that direction when I walk into the house.  What I did notice first was that the television that we had hanging on the wall was no longer there, leaving only a trail of wires hanging down towards the floor.  The electronics that those wires usually plug into were also missing, leaving the shelves eerily empty.  As the shock of what had happened settled in, I remember being frozen where I stood, and time truly stood still.  While staring in disbelief at the dark spots on the shelves where the various electronic boxes once sat, my first irrational thought was that we really needed to dust more often.  When I fully understood what had happened, I quickly ran from room to room, taking initial stock in what was missing.  The list of what was taken was a long one, but the most heartbreaking loss was my laptop, which contained 7 years worth of pictures that were irreplaceable.  Pictures of vacations that the Man and I had taken together, our lives at the Farm in the early years, all puppy and kitten pictures.  All just gone, never to be seen again.  The police were called, and reports were filed.  Weeks later, our hopes were lifted when we were told a confession had been given, only to be dashed when we learn that the charges had been dropped in order for our thief to cooperate in catching a bigger thief.  None of our belongings were ever found and the case was closed.  When the dust finally settled, we had been victimized twice. Once by the spineless coward who bashed in our door with my own sledgehammer, and the second time by the system that was supposed to protect us.  There was nothing left to be done, except mourn our losses, put it all behind us, and move on with life.  That certainly was our intention, and although the Man seemed to be having better luck at putting it all behind him, I found myself struggling a great deal to “let it go”.  I couldn’t, and the following months, and years, proved to be the hardest ones of my life.

It was difficult at the time to describe what was happening to me, and still now, after all these years, I find myself struggling to find the words.  As I sit here trying to tell the story, I feel the anxiety and shortness of breath creeping in.  I can feel the familiar fingers of panic reaching for me as it did back then.  I remember not being able to leave the house, even for short trips into town to do errands.  The sheer panic and fear that someone was again entering my home while I was gone was crippling, and more than once I would abandon a shopping cart to race home convinced that I would find that the door was once again hanging by one hinge, and my belongings missing.  I became a complete shut in, afraid to leave and trusting no one.  Friendships deteriorated and disappeared.  Every day began and ended with immobilizing fear and tears.  As I slipped deeper into a dark depression, thoughts of despair and self harm were my constant companion, and often times suicide was the most welcome solution to making the anguish and pain go away.  The Man stood by me, and there were a handful of times that it was only His never wavering love, support and quiet presence that kept me from listening to the ever present thoughts of ending the pain once and for all.  The dark depression and anxiety lasted for years, but with the help of antidepressants, I eventually started having more good days than bad.  I was able to travel north to visit my parents, or enjoy time away with the Man without the constant fear that the Farm, and the things that I held dear, might be in danger again.  As the the anxiety continued to subside, I was able to interact with others again, and our circle of friends began to grow once more.  Where I once had anger and distrust towards everyone, I started to see the glimmer of good in others once again.  Although still very protective of the Farm, as well as the life that the Man and I have built here, a small circle of people that we dared to trust as friends once again became part of the daily life and routine.  I soon reached a point that I no longer felt as though I needed the antidepressants to get through the day, and after weening myself off them, I felt better than I had in years.  They had served their purpose for a time when I needed them, but the clouds had mostly lifted, and life was moving on.  I was “letting it go”, but it was not gone, and certainly not forgotten.

Life on the Farm had returned to normal, and then some, and my days were full from sun up till sun down.  As each year passed, the holidays became a source of excitement and joy again, and this year was no exception.  We have continued to welcome others into our home as members of our extended family, with a level of trust given that I never thought would be possible again.  On occasion, I will have a flashback of nine years ago with a mild dose of anxiety over the safety of the Farm from the outside world, but never have I worried about an attack from within.  That all ended just over a week ago, when we realized that a few items of great sentimental value was missing.  They had been stored in a secure place that only a handful of people were aware of, and were the only things missing.  Like madmen, the Man and I scoured the Farm, hoping against all odds that maybe, just maybe, we had misplaced them ourselves.  When we finally had to admit that they were indeed missing, we then tried to figure out the “how”, and most importantly the “why”, behind it all.  After a few days of head scratching, theories, investigating, and more searches just in case we had missed some nook or cranny, we came to the one remaining conclusion that shook us to the core.  Not only was something of great value and importance taken from us again, it had been done by someone we trusted, and who knew full well the attachment of the items they had taken.  To say that the emotions that we’ve dealt with this time around are similar to those we faced nine years ago could not be farther from the truth.  Sure, the basics are the same.  Shock, immense anger, the intense feelings of violation, being reminded that there truly is evil in this world.  The one ingredient that is new this time around is the profound feelings of betrayal that we feel.  I’ve sat here at the screen for twenty minutes trying to find the words to describe what I feel in my soul, but they do not come.  Nothing can describe the gut wrenching feeling that comes from the blind sided betrayal of someone whom you have given all of your trust and love, that you have supported in any way possible in all times of need.  Have no doubt, we deeply mourn the loss of what was stolen from us, as they are truly irreplaceable, but the betrayal of someone you once counted as a trusted friend is a loss like no other.

I am not sure how long the dark cloud will linger.  I feel those cold fingers of depression reaching for me again, and the anxiety about the safety of my own home is slowly rising within me.  I would like to think that having gone through this before, I should be better equipped to handle it this time around.  Someone once said something about we are “the sum of our experiences”, and this particular experience has left a mark on my soul that will certainly shape and influence who I will be in the future.  For the most part, I did eventually “let go” of what happened nine years ago, but I fear that this time I won’t be quite as lucky, and neither will the Man.  Oh, I know that most things will eventually return to normal, or as close to it as possible.  The Farm doesn’t run itself, and it’s allowance for personal time lasts about as long as the hay bins stay full.  If there was to be any good come from this, it would be a reminder to the Man and myself that no matter what gets thrown at us, we have each other to lean on, to support each other when one is down, and that in the end, the trust that we share is the only trust that truly matters.  Ours is a trust that cannot be betrayed or taken away by a thief wielding a sledgehammer, or by a coward with sticky fingers and the inability to feel remorse.  We may someday open our doors again to others, but if you happen to be one of them, don’t expect to be getting a house key any time soon.


Image

DSC_1746.jpg


Change…

dscn2117Sometimes, life doesn’t play out the way you think, or hope, that it should.  Sometimes, it does.  Am I disappointed in the results of last night’s election?  Of course.  Half of our great country is.  The other half is having a good day.  Good on ’em. They got the results that they wanted, at least for the short term.  How those results will parlay into the change that they seek remains to be seen.  What’s done is done, for sure, and it’s time to move on and hope for the best.  Sure, I am in shock, as many are, and I worry for the millions of people who placed their vote hoping for a change for the better; it’s a change that may not come.  I am worried for those people that live with inequality, because this election has given rise and permission to those who would further that inequality, with an option for violence front and center.  Change on many fronts is coming, as demanded and received by a vast number of voices yesterday, but it’s a change that holds a great deal of uncertainty for countless others, for a myriad of reasons.

Although the start to my day was not what I had thought it would be when I dscn1987went to bed last night, I soon remembered that my routine here on the Farm did not change overnight.  I still had three sets of dog eyes reminding me that they were waiting for their breakfast, followed by a romp in the yard.  I heard the wails of the wee donkeys echoing out of the barn, wanting attention and freedom from their stalls.  I knew that Alex, Diva and Sassy would be waiting by the gate to the field for their morning hay and ear scratches.  Planting the last of the garlic and clearing the garden for Spring was also on the agenda for my day, as was the usual daily cleaning of stalls and paddocks.  Somewhere in all of that, I would take a trip into town for chicken grain and shavings to mulch the garlic bed when I finished planting.  Any gaps would be filled in by numerous other chores that needed to be done.  And at the end of the day, when the Man comes home from work, we will wonder what to have for supper, and after tucking all of the critters into various stalls, rooms, and cages, we will settle in to watch a movie.  The dogs will gather around us on the couches, and maybe I will build a fire in the stove to take the chill out of the Fall air.  It’s a routine that doesn’t change much from day to day, even if it happens to be the day after a doozy of an election.

I fully realize that the decisions that other people make are based on their life experiences, current situations and/or the hope for a better future.  I am no different, so I do not hold that against them.  The life that the Man and I have built together here on the Farm is based on all of those factors, so why it should it be different for anyone else?  It isn’t.  What is different is that while one candidate promised that the life we have built would remain with no threat from the government or religious fanatics, the other promised to dismantle our marriage, take away our rights, and return us to the days of having to worry about our personal safety.  But I get it, I really do.  It’s self preservation at it’s finest, and no amount of reasoning works once someone has their knickers in a twist, no matter if it’s an educated, well informed twist or one based on fear and lack of understanding.  It’s all about perspective, and what is important to me may not be important to others, including family.  It just so happens that what is a big deal to me is being able to walk down the sidewalk without fear of harassment or physical harm.

dscn1727Change has come, for sure, and time will tell how it effects the Man and me in the future, if at all.  What hasn’t changed, though, is the love that we share, and the unwavering commitment to each other.  Come what may, at the end of the day, that is all that matters.  This bond we share is built upon the same principles of many of the votes cast yesterday.  Past experiences and hope for the future.  While we wait for that future, however challenging it may or may not be, we will still be building this world we call “The Farm”.  We will continue to foster all who enter this world of ours, both human and animal, because that is what we do, and it’s who we are.  It is our chosen path.

Yesterday, millions of people took a stand in an effort to have more control over or change their own path.  That is their right, and I support their right to vote for the person that can help them to a better place in life.  My place in life is right here, at the Farm, with the man that I love, and there is nothing about it that I would change if I could.  I am happy with the choices that I have made in life that have led me to both where and who I am.  For the multitudes of people who voted for their own path yesterday, I truly hope that the choice that they have made is the right one.  For them, and for us…