Living on a hobby farm with a crew of kids provides a wealth of material for a story teller. Our farm animals were so full of character, their antics alone will be the subject of many upcoming stories. Of course, the kids were always entertained by the farm animals but my husband and I were as well. Michael especially enjoyed his intelligent pigs, believing that when animals felt loved, they related to people in extraordinary ways. It is true that when my husband scratched, behind his beloved pig’s ears, they actually fell asleep.
There was Daisy, our goat, and our pony Starlight who both tried to get into the house because they considered themselves part of the family. Actually, one, huge, ancient horse named Moonlight did manage to get into the kitchen to visit for a while. I must admit that our farm animals repeatedly proved Michael’s theory about the power of love.
Consider Daisy first. This goat did not like living in the barn. Although she produced milk like any normal goat, she also wanted to relate to people because she was a socialized goat who had a charming personality. If she hadn’t seen anyone in a long time, she’d bleat until someone at least poked their head out of the door and talked to her. She would have made more friends if she had quit eating my flowers or stealing little people’s’ hats and pulling on their scarves. Consequently, most of the time we tied Daisy to a post so she could see family life but not cause too many problems. However, a couple of times a week we let Daisy follow us around in the garden. As long as she mainly ate weeds, we let her hang out with us.
Starlight, a bratty pony, was usually fenced in the pasture or in the barn and couldn’t get into as much trouble as Daisy. As soon as he was in the yard, though, he always tried to open the door to the house by biting the door knob either before or after the kids had ridden him. Once he actually managed to turn the handle and open the door, much to everyone’s’ delight. However we made sure he didn’t pull that stunt again because it was not easy dragging him out. That pony had a mind of his own.
Now as mischievous as the pony and goat were, old Moonlight, the magnificent Arabian stallion, was a patient push over. This gentle giant let toddlers run under him, a three-year old child feed him carrots, two or three little people sit on him and little girls braid his mane and tail, all at the same time. Through the entire ordeal, Moonlight barely flinched. If he balked at all, I would look him in the eye, pray that peace and love soothe him and he immediately calmed down. One afternoon, Moonlight was plaintively looking through the window. He looked so forlorn that all the kids begged to let him step in for a cuddle. I finally relented, inviting the huge animal to step into the kitchen to eat a carrot and soak in a bit of love for a while. Moonlight then passively followed us out afterwards.
Strangers did not think that our cat was not normal either. She always curled up beside our hunting dog because he was soft and warm. We thought nothing of this behaviour but it was a conundrum to local farmers. Several commented that they had never seen anything like it. Perhaps there was a bit of heaven on earth on our hobby farm and natural enemies became friends. I like to think that the Holy Spirit flowed from our hearts into the land and swirled around, soaking into and transforming our animals’ personalities.
The cat shall lie down with the dog.
The goat shall weed the garden.
The horse shall dine in the kitchen.
The Joy of Mothering
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